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This Week on West African blogs

Today is International Women's Day and it is only expedient that I started this week's round-up with a look at a couple of blogs who have blogged about this.

Jangbalajugbu-Homeland Stories chooses to celebrate Professor Dora Akunyili, boss of the National Agency for Food and Drug Andministration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria.

“Numerous letters have also been written to this woman, threatening her life and that of her family. Her job has been described as “the most dangerous job in Nigeria”. Many in her shoes would have given up for fear of their lifes and that of their loved ones. But definately not Professor Dora Akunyili.

For so long, major sectors in the Nigerian state, including health have experienced stunted growth as a result of prolonged military rule. Prior to 2001, fake and substandard drugs were paraded on the street of Lagos and in road side supermarkets. Hospitals were not spared and the unsuspecting masses have swallowed a lot of those chalks as paracetamols. The Drug Aministration and control Agency (NAFDAC) was not as popular as it is today, as the staff there were either brided to keep quiet or were just not doing their job.

However things started changing when Dora Akunyili took over at the National Agency for Food and Drug Andministration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria.”

Ore's Note chooses to title her blog entry about this issue: “Honouring African Women“. She starts by saying…

“This post is in honour of International Women's Day (March 8). Sokari and Mshairi had a great idea to have African women bloggers pay tribute to the African women who have been important to them. They will be doing a round-up of all the tributes on Global Voices Online sometime in the coming week.”

She continues in the third paragraph by celebrating her mother:

“My mother obviously has been a very important to me. She was my very first role model for what a woman (mother, wife, sister and friend) should be. Inspite of our differences of opinion on a variety of subjects, I have learnt so much from her and think that she will continue to be one of the most influential role models I have. She is an engineer (still a fairly rare job for a woman), a leader of (many) men, an enterpreneur, an amazing mother, who despite her frenetic schedule still manages to keep up with the minutae of her family's life. While I really do not want to work the ‘double shift’, like she has done, in my future family life, she gives me great hope that with good managerial skills and lots of faith, anything is possible.”

Big Brother Nigeria went on air this week in Nigeria. Nigerian bloggers who cannot be left out share their thoughts, through their blogs.

Ijebuman's Diary sets the ball rolling with this comment:

“The BB phenomenon hits naija, should be interesting, shame i won't have the opportunity to actually see it. Not that i'm a BB fan, although i did watch the first UK series when it first started just to see what all the fuss was about. My interest in the Nigerian version is purely for sociological reasons. ; – ) It'll be a great opportunity to see how Nigerians react in such an intense environment.”

Naijablog (exp) addeds his voice:

“Big Brother Nigeria launched on Sunday amidst fanfare and expectation (of what I don’t know). The US$100,000 prize money seems excessive. Things may likely turn ugly. Watching it (on DSTV channel 37) is both excessively boring and highly interesting. The conversation, when one can hear it, is tedious and banal, quite puerile/adolescent in many ways. Also, they seem to be having transmission problems – the screen had lines running down it by yesterday evening. However, what is interesting is to observe patterns of behaviour. Most of the time, everyone hangs out together in a large group. In the UK Big Brother’s (ordinary or celebrity), there tends to be more dispersed social clusterings – three or four people at most in conversation – unless ordered to be together by Big Brother. Also, there is a tactility amongst the Nigerians one would never see at this early stage amongst Northern Europeans – which is already reaping consequences as the men set their sights on specific girls. There is also a conservatism at work. For example, last night a Jacuzzi/hot tub scene was set up. Only two women dared put on their cozzies to join the men (there was about 5 or 6 men in the water). These things wouldn’t be an issue elsewhere. Earlier in the day, the group started to play music on the lawn. It was quite astonishing that a random group of people could make such interesting sounds, telling stories spontaneously through song and dance. Here we see the creativity hard-wired into Nigerian youth that goes largely untapped by the culture (or by the culture industry).”

Grandiose Parlor is throwing a spotlight on Nigeria's Niger Delta area, in reaction to a publication by a media house in the US. He titled his question: “Niger Delta: How do you tell a story under 5 minutes?

I have seen many headlines on Nigeria in the local newspapers here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota; I usually don't think much of them.

Today's piece for one reason or the other had a different reaction on me: “Oil rich and Dirt Poor” was the headline that screamed at me from the international section of the Star Tribune.

Despite the fact that I have blogged on this topic and have read a lot about it- seeing the headline and the now ubiquitous picture of some oil pipes in the middle of the Niger Delta jungle did a number on me. And it was one of anger and frustration. What is happening in that part of Nigeria is an abomination. It is also a lose-lose situation for all the parties concerned.

Now, we turn to Ghana. Ghana celebrated her 49th Independence Anniversary on Monday (March 6th).

Exploring the Globe had said: “HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, GHANA

Flag of Ghana“Ghana is celebrating its independence today. This West African country has a population of 21 million people. It is twice as rich as its poorer neighbours, but it is still struggling economically. Ghana is an important country for every chocoholic. Ghana is not only one of the leading cocoa growers, but it is also growing some of the best cocoa in the world.”

Emily, a tourist and author of The Ghana Journal said:

“Now that I know I'm leaving all too soon, I'm taking this tourist thing up a notch. Yesterday, the Indepedence Day holiday, I went to the Accra Zoo, not as sad as I thought it would be, the lions were beautiful. And on Saturday, I went to Boti Falls, outside Koforidua, the captial of Ghana's Eastern region.”

And continues by saying:

“We got to the nice, busy little city with elements of most African towns I’ve seen – wide-open stalls and storefronts selling clothes, fruit, pens, etc., with shoppers and pedestrians mingling with taxis, trotros and trucks. Richard asks me if I had seen towns like this in Kenya, I said yes, certainly, outside of Nairobi. But he says, I bet not as nice as this!

At Koforidua (which took me a few months to be able to pronounce) we hop in a shared taxi that will drop us at the gates of the Boti Waterfalls, Richard tells the taxi driver how improper and dangerous it is for him to try to load four passengers in the backseat. “Sometimes we are the causes of our own problems,” he said to the car, and the man next to him nodded in sage agreement. The two of us paid for three seats.”

The Trials & Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen chose to blog about “Ghana's Day of Shame

“On 24 Febraury, 1966, the first President of Ghana would be overthrown in a CIA-inspired coup whilst in Hanoi mediating peace. Today, 40 years later, Ghana remembers him.

Kwame NkrumahI sent this text message to Bernard Avle's CITI FM Breakfast Show on Ghana's 97.3FM band:

ROPAB , a law to compel external ghanaians 2 vote was passed on eve of 40th anniversary of a coup that involved external forces 2 remove Nkrumah. Is the irony lost over you?–emmanuel, spintex”

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