Muchos Gracias

October 30, 2007

Bon Apremidi! What ever happened to Bon Apremidi? I usually hear Bonjour and Bonsoir but no Bon Apremidi. First and foremost, a big GRACIAS to those who comment on my entries and those who send me articles. I appreciate the time you take to read my ramblings. Do feel free to spread the word if you like the blog. The idea is to get people informed and to spark conversation relating to whatever. I would love to read more of your comments and I’ll do my part to keep this engaging.

I have some really fantastic articles today o. As much as I’d like to go into detail on each, I think its best you read it yourself to get a better feel. Your comments are welcome! Enjoy.  

Haitian brought AIDS to US: study. Edede says – Bravo Genius. Go’ head, keep on blaming others. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071029/hl_afp/ussciencehealthaids 

Counterfeiting: Akunyili indicts powerful Nigerians, multinationals. Edede says – This here is a must read. You would be surprised to find big name companies involved in NAFDAC violations. http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art20071030112520 

Amaechi probes looters of Rivers treasury, properties. Edede says-  It is funny how funds and property manage to mysteriously disappear. http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art200710301392948  


Brrrrrrr

October 29, 2007

I looked out the window of my boss’ office and I could have sworn that I was staring into Moscow. Winter is come! I can see it through the clear glass from the warmth of my cubicle. I broke out the winter jacket this weekend rendering them free of dust and cobwebs (I kid). Summer was good to New York; it took its sweet time and now leaves us unprepared for winter’s wrath. I have been dreading this for about 10 months now. Last winter was a joke but at the same time probably one of my best winters ever. It hardly snowed, which is not typical of the season in the east coast. Those were the days when Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth conveniently slipped in causing a scare. “The world is coming to an end!” some lamented, this comment usually preceded my sarcastic dry responses – “How nice”, “I am happy for you and the world that is coming to an end” or “Congrats”. I was constantly reminded of the power of the media each time I caught a glimpse of my father paying close attention to the global warming updates. I have to give it to Gore though; his convenient interference in the state of planet earth (and my life) conveniently won him a Nobel Prize – Brilliant. Regardless the impression you get from this, please be aware that I am all for conserving energy and improving our environment.  

My cousin, Pringles came to town and talked about going to Cyprus sometime next year. I am psyched. It would be great to leave the States soon to go somewhere – anywhere not cold, Cyprus or no Cyprus. At this rate I’d take anything that doesn’t require a Visa; I’d still pick Nigeria with the same damn reluctance– it never gets old or played out. I am not quite sure if I am ready to trade the cold brisk air for a slap of humidity though, maybe I’ll keep it tropical, maybe I’ll save money and stay put in NY (Que Sera Sera).   

Anyhow, it is cold and I have a cold. I sneezed up to nine times back to back last night. I also sucked the juice from 4 oranges in record time. My excuse was that I needed the vitamin c, but to be honest, long-throat got the best of me.  Okay y’all, I’m out. If you like be good, it is really not my problem (I kid). For those in gidi, keep cool, for those in yankee, stay warm.  Peace.  

PS: Happy Birthday to Chief-of-Staff!


It’s Friday Snitches!!!

October 26, 2007

It’s Friday
and I’m ready to sing pick up my girls
and hit the party scene
tonight oh oh it’s alright umm
so get up and let this funky mellow groove get
you in the mood cause you
know it’s alright………………
 

That’s a lil som’som for y’all. Welcome to the weekend. Hope you have fun stuff planned – ‘cause I sure don’t. Hopefully the tempo would pick up as the weekend progresses. We’ll see. Ehen, I’m tired of all the serious talk jare (economy this economy that), so today, I am going to talk about myself – or stuff relating to me. Yesterday was cool. Was supposed to be at the library but I caved and participated in happy hour Thursday – cheap food, cheap drinks. Thanks to the *Wise* one who bestowed some drinking knowledge on me, I was careful not to mix my beer and spirits. Yesterday was strictly spirits, Jack*s* and Coke*s* straight up (yea baby!). Anyhow, it all started at Ulyssess, Berry and I decided to start the night early, he was going to go see the rangers after work and since drinks at the games are usually expensive dude wanted to be at least close to dazed before he gets there….  

Jack and coke for me and a blue moon for Berry….we were probably the youngest people there (no, let me restate, I was the youngest person in there). Some dude was making strange noises behind us. I think he was excited about something; then again, maybe it was just the liquor taking effect. We stood by the bar chatting randomness and work and more randomness. Second round! I’d have the same, he had a shot of something…can’t remember what it was (too complicated for my simple mind).Its 6:30, I’m supposed to meet the-Chhoyster and Sir-real @ Union and Berry’s game starts at 7. We walk to the N,R,W – run run! Hold the train! YES! We made it. I tell Berry he is definitely going to make his game. I’m smiling for no good reason, I’m probly buzzed…”Are we in Brooklyn?, O crap!”. We took the wrong train…I’m laughing at this point. I feel bad for Berry ‘cause its sorta kindda my fault (fine, it is my fault, I was leading the poor child). He is supposed to meet his friend, his friend’s dad and his friend’s dad’s friend at Madison Square Garden. The stupid downtrain N,R,W takes forever to come…we walk to the 2 (which is better for him anyways). He is so going to look like a late moron who smells like beer by the time he gets there…I give him gum for fresh breath. Meanwhile…. Sir-real had called and I was to meet them up at Union Square. 

I was so late, but whatever (I figured they’d start bar hopping without me). “Dude, where are you?”, I was told to meet them @ 12th and 3rd. It is definitely an East Village night….the east village probly has a thousand bars to choose from. We started off going t’wds Astor then we walk down St. Mark’s, scoping the area. Anyhow, we go to the first bar, it’s a really cool spot. Jack and Coke please! I’m cautious though…tomorrow is Friday and I still have to go the work. They had two rounds of beer….we leave and walk east or west or south (heck, I don’t know) to Sin-sin. “Es you get the drinks and I’d get the Hookah”, sounds good…I take it easy now, Amaretto Sour! The hookah comes through, its smaller than the last one we had. Double apple, but where is the apple flavor (I am not impressed – but we do the do anyhow). Second rounds, I’d have the same…I’m getting hungry…we round up. “Ready?”, “Yep”. We leave. 

Next stop Paul’s Burger. Chhoyster claims its best burger in town.  Okay, this is no fancy burger joint. This is truly some village style I’m-hungry-dammit typa place. I like the aesthetics though. I’d have a cheese burger, “Cajun and regular fries for the table please, thank you”. The Cajun fries are great. Where is the beef? Right here on the bun – it is huge….this is fantastic. Flavor is ridiculous. I’m so hungry at this point. No drinks..just water. The world series is on and Red Sox is playing (I really don’t care). 

Its time to go…all I want to do now is crash. Hop in a cab, out, home, bed, yes, goodnight.  


Redenomination of the Naira

October 25, 2007

I didn’t quite get (more like cared-to-get) the concept until today. Redenomination is when a country reduces the zeros in its currency. For example, if you remove two zeros from 100 naira it becomes 1naira. Hence, anything that cost 100 naira will become 1 naira. This does not mean that the value of the naira has changed. It is merely a change in the “presentation” of the currency. In August of 2007, Prof Charles Soludo (CBN governor) made a public proposal to drop two zeros from the Nigerian currency, making a few denominations and mints available in circulation.  He stated that the ETA for this reform will be August 2008.

Why 

The major reason why countries adopt redenomination is to restore confidence in its currency. Redenomination works well with human psychology – because one appears to be paying less for a product or service, they begin to believe that they are actually paying less and relate this feeling to the wellbeing of the economy.  Redenomination also reduces the inconvenience of carrying bulky cash. People generally feel safer when they don’t have to carry large sums of money for business transactions. (This might spoil business for “ghana-must-go” sellers though). For example a 1,000,000 naira transaction would become a 10,000 transaction – which in turn means less money to carry. Finally, people will begin to transact less in dollars and more in naira, thereby helping to induce the naira, which should help stabilize the naira in the long run.  

Concerns 

I am unsure of what questions to ask as redenomination doesn’t seem to pose any adverse risks. Critiques have raised concerns around the printing cost of the new notes and mints (20 naira and below). Some say that redenomination will affect the Nigerian Securities market as investors would be especially cautious when investing.  

Remarks

All reforms have their pros and cons and calculated steps need to be made to ensure that reforms produce a positive outcome. As long as the benefits significantly outweigh the cost, I really don’t see any issues with this. Consequently, it bores down to how well this currency reform is managed.  I am not an econ expert, but I want to be informed. Anyone who can better explain this is most welcome to.


Talented Folks

October 23, 2007

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Yesterday, my very good friend and colleague sent me the link to a post on Gizmodo (a gadget, techy blog like that). I was happy to read about a 24 yr old Nigerian who made a helicopter from scratch out of basic parts from cars, and cell phones. As I read the post I thought to myself how great it is to have someone channeling his gifts towards something positive but at the same time I was a little worried about the comments some people made – 

 “wow he is using his skills for good unlike all the scammers!”  

“Atleast one guy is working and not sending emails with a promise to share $30M” 

“Greetings, my name is Mrs. Mubarak Muhammed Abdullah. My husband recently perished in a home-made helicopter, it was in all of the news everywhere, you may have heard of it. Before the copter started to fell apart and he tipped out the side he established a trust with $50,000,000.Unfortunately to engage this trust a male relative must…”  

“I would bet that thing is made of construction paper and Elmer’s glue. He is going to be selling it on eBay soon or you will get an email requesting some gas money so he can fly to America and bring you gold bars…” 

It sucks to see the bad publicity we have created for ourselves. For once I’d love to have our work be embraced without being linked with yahoo-yahoo schemes and 419ers. On a good note, some people left some bad-ass-awesome comments that made me proud to be Nigerian. My friends at work were also impressed and I contemplated telling them that I was related to the dude (a comment like that would fly any-day – hehe).  

Spread the word of this achievement, people like Mubarak Muhammed Abdullahi need good publicity. 

See : http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/homemade-helicopter/nigerian-man-builds-working-helicopters-from-junk-313408.php#c2730543

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/nigeriahelicopteroffbeat;_ylt=AsIVmuqaLsBZ9aRS3syKSG0DW7oF


Remember Bellview???

October 22, 2007

airplane_l.gif

Today marks two years since the bellview crash which was shortly followed by Sosoliso. I remember this sent a shock wave throughout naija and even in the states. My brother’s friend lost his dad in the crash and I remember I vowed not to board a naija interstate flight……

Oh well, that vow didn’t do much as I boarded a flight from Benin to Lagos just about 2 months ago. When you have a choice of “horrendous”, and “not horrendous but slightly dangerous”, you are probably likely to go with “not horrendous but slightly dangerous”. If you have been on a ride from Benin to Lagos of late, you would know exactly what I am talking about. That journey would make you almost disown your country.

A little over 10 years ago it was lovely – I remember crashing in the back seat of the car while popsie drove straight to Benin…the roads were good, we had little or no check points and then we still had toll gates (yes toll gates!!! – whose idea was it to take them out???). Now, it is ridiculous, grid lock, traffic, heat, checkpoints, tankers laying across the roads, threats of fires and accidents and to make it worse what used to be a 3.5 hrs journey is now 7.5hrs (on a good day!). Tankers, trailers and more trailer-tankers everywhere (please explain the fuel scarcity then).

When road side conditions are this bad, one has to brave taking a flight even if naija’s aviation record isn’t fantastic. Needless to say that I was reciting my *hail mary* when I was on the Benin-Lagos flight. E go beta sha. I have faith in the current government and I hope that for once Nigerians begin to value their lives more and stop taking stupid risks.

Anywho, check out the article on Bellview and be informed. http://www.vanguardngr.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=721&Itemid=43 


E don happen

October 18, 2007

_44182584_rowdy203.jpgIt has happened! One of our parliament members died during a parliament meeting. Am I surprised? Not really. Being a parliament member in Nigeria requires stamina and it just so happens that heart attack is not an uncommon side effect. Are Nigerians barbaric? No, because the British parliament is just as chaotic (minus the throwing of punches).

Anyhow, read for yourselves and come to your own conclusions….

A Nigerian MP collapsed and then died during a rowdy confrontation in parliament over a high profile corruption scandal.

It is believed Aminu Safana suffered a heart attack as members shouted, scuffled and exchanged punches.

The House of Representatives had been due to consider the findings of an inquiry into the conduct of the speaker, Patricia Etteh.

She was found guilty of breaking house rules in the awarding of contracts.

Rowdy

The BBC’s Alex Last in Lagos says the case of Mrs Etteh of the governing party has gripped the nation at a time when the government has pledged zero tolerance for corruption.

He said chaos erupted in the House of Representatives over the conduct of the embattled speaker.

Hundreds of MPs for and against the speaker were out of their seats and shouting.

Some scuffled and swapped punches, while others waved white handkerchiefs or miniature Nigerian flags at each other.

It was during this confrontation that Mr Safana, after shouting in defence of Mrs Etteh, quietly sat down, collapsed.

The House of Representatives was meant to debate a report by an investigative panel into the conduct of Mrs Etteh.

The panel had found her guilty of breaking house rules when she awarded contracts worth $5m to refurbish her house, that of her deputy and to buy 10 new cars.

The opponents of Mrs Etteh say she must stand down.

Her supporters say she is the victim of a political vendetta and she should stay.