North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nigeria successfully jumps a hurdle

Nigeria this week held a presidential election. The incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, won an outright victory with enough votes to preclude having to take on a runoff election with the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes.

President Jonathan voting

In the midst of so much news and violence about succession and power transfer in Africa (Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Ivory Coast), there is much to be hopeful in regards to this event. Nigeria is the largest country, population wise, in Africa, about 154 million. It has long suffered a string of third world development issues - corruption, coups, ethnic and religious violence, and a vicious civil war (Biafra).

Nigeria set in West Africa

Yet many Africa observers are beginning to wonder whether Nigeria, with this election, might be turning the corner. The election process was nearly unanimously considered the cleanest and transparent in the recent years. While the outcome set off riots in the country's north, and Jonathan's opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, has said he will contest the results in court, the institutions and most importantly, President Jonathan have not fanned further passions, but have sought to cool the aftermath with a greater view of the nation in mind.

Attahiru Jega, Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, reads the results sheet before he declared Nigeria's incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of the presidential election, in Abuja, Nigeria, April 18, 2011

Click on map for full image
A broad divide between Muslim pastoral tribes to the North, and Bantu forest tribes to the south have long been the source of tensions in this country. Oil production in the South has concentrated wealth in certain groups with others missing out on any national wealth.

From a Voice of America article, "The country will vote again to elect state governors on April 26, and Jonathan has asked Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully throughout the poll, lest they mar the goodwill the country earned by holding a free and fair presidential election. In his victory speech, Jonathan said the internationally-acclaimed vote has allowed Nigeria to take its rightful place in the community of nations. "We have reiterated our faith in democracy which underscores our determination to join the free world where only the will of the people is the foundation of governance," said Jonathan. "We will not let you down."

Voting queue in Southern Nigeria, from where the President was born.

Northern tribal members in Parliament are likely to be Muslim and the long history of tensions between all ethnic groups have still to be overcome.

In many respects, according to one respected voice, Nigeria is already taking a more strident position in international affairs. President Jonathan has been unusually outspoken in favor of military reforms for the tiny, drug cartel-troubled state of Guinea-Bissau for example.

Nigeria's military serve under the UN peacekeeping missions in several African countries

The President also inserted himself into the center of last month's Ivory Coast conflict. Nigeria co-sponsored a United Nations resolution for a military intervention to remove the country's incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, when he refused to concede a November 28 election. In contrast, Africa's wealthiest and most influential nation, South Africa, offered Gbagbo a power-sharing agreement that Ivorian and Nigerian leaders harshly criticized.

Nigeria has oil resources that has familiarly been both a blessing and curse for the nation. If a sense of nationhood can be further defined in a positive way, the revenues could provide the country with a firm base. Nigeria could see further investment from abroad, which could mean promise for this nation, along with South Africa, being the two sub Saharan leaders of the continent.

So, let's take a quick look at one other positive aspect of Nigeria - one of the country's [many] national dishes is called Jollofnigeria - essentially a local rice plus chicken.

Jollof rice probably originated from rice dishes eaten by the Wolof people of Senegal and Gambia, but its popularity has spread to most of West Africa, especially Nigeria and Ghana. Based on rice, tomatoes and usually meat or fish, it is believed by some to be the origin of Cajun jambalaya.


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Anonymous said...

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