Sunday, November 20, 2005


Nigerian American Politics

I had quite an interesting weekend in Washington D.C, where I went to moderate a town hall meeting for the All Nigerian American Congress ( It is complicated explaining what the group is about and what they are trying to achieve. I know they aim to become if they haven't made steps in that direction to become a political action committee in both the Nigerian and the U.S. governments. To get a better picture of the groups please visit their website for that information. Ambassador Howard Jeter, Former secretary of State for Africa, Herman Cohen and Congressman Donald Payne and a few other delegates from the American side were present. But trust my dear Nigerian 'gofment' officials to sully all efforts by not showing up, even after confirming or indicating the will be present. I am not talking of Mr. President himself; even if his wife's death did not occur, I would not expect him to attend. However, he sent a letter indicating that the ambassador to the US would represent him. The ambassador I hear was suffering from jetlag and decided to send his aide. The other officials on the list did not send a representative or even acknowlegde the invitation in a letter, as the president had done. Imagine if the tables were turned and the Nigerian side sent high profile delegates and the American side did not reciprocate, do you think there would have been a panel discussion in the first olace. All we would hear is , "How can a whole me? A whole chief this, minister that, take my time to attend and all they sent is an aide?" Utter disrespect to the honorable delegates on the American side. Anyways, I am not into politics so I really don't know how to start recounting the stories, but it was an interesting experience, an introduction to pseudo-Nigerian politics, or should I call it Nigerian-American politics. One or two interesting things that I did pick on, I guess wearing my cynics hat was how rude and mannerless some nigerians can be; as in someone is talking in a meeting that's supposed to be important, and some people are laughing away heartily in the back or shouting out a conversation on the phone. It's little little things like this, including the culture of tardiness (which was not much of an issue, because 30 mins-1 hr behind schedule is actually being on time...Really). Then some people trivialize and make mockery of these genuine efforts with their pomposity or perhaps borderline lunacy thinking they can rule Nigeria from some gated development somewhere in America. If no one has asked, how does a presidential or gubernatorial candidate campaign for 2007 elections in a country they don't live in. I can understand running for council or local government chairmanship. In fact, if these TV people bullshit me too much, I myself will go and run for local government in my village, after all I think I have more potentials than any of them. Just because you know some one in power or happen to be related to the person, you automatically expect to win? Talk like that just makes me let out a hearty 'ha!!ha!!' What Jokers. And why and how does beer always make its way into the parlor of politics, can we upgrade to champagne or cognac instead.
Anyways politics can be interesting, especially now that women are getting involved. May be if more women and youth get involved in civil and meaningful political action free of tribalism, corruption and pontification, things will start changing in our country. May be the influx of young professionals from the diaspora, if they don't assimilate, will help with this democracy we al speak about.

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