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This Week's Synopsis of West African Weblogs

Nigeria
Political Impasse in NigeriaYebo Gogo
Fontaine at Yebo Gogo, continues the discussion on the political impasse in Nigeria as a result of an attempt to extend the tenure of the current president, Mr. Obasanjo, whose tenure expires in 2007.

“Rumors have been swirling the past few weeks that Nigerian MPs have been offered land, cars and cash to support President Olusegun Obasanjo's bid to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term. Quite a few Nigerian newspapers have been reporting this using anonymous or lower-level sources, but today the BBC carried an interview with MP Uche Onyeagucha, who said he was offered a plot of land in the capital, Abuja.”

Financing University EducationAfrican Unchained
Emeka Okafor, a Nigerian blogger at African Unchained, offers some recommendations to address the problem of financing higher education, a problem faced by several African nations:

“Universities must improve on internal efficiencies in the utilisation of financial, human and other resources. Diversification of the revenue base through consultancies and commissioned research. Cost sharing where the beneficiaries contribute towards tuition fees and their personal maintenance on campus. Sale of excess capacity that may be available (rental of lecture rooms, seminar rooms and halls etc.) Fund raising through endowments and alumni associations. Establishment of fee paying continuing education programmes run on a part time basis or during vacations. Establishing independently run and effectively managed joint commercial ventures…”

Beware! SIM card hackersIT Realms
Remmy at ITRealms muses about some recent trends in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Nigeria.

“Some hackers are on the “prowl probably to take their own pound of flesh in the nation’s burgeoning telecommunications sector. ..The avalanche of calls received by subscribers in the past weeks from some fraudsters claiming to be engineers from various telecommunication companies offering services with the intent that they are checking on subscriber lines. And in the process these engineers would request their victims to press ash-key 90 (#90) or (#09) or even any other number depending on the new codes they may wish to deploy for their tricks. Experts, however, warn that by pressing whatever number given to you by these so-called Telco engineers, would expose subscribers to fraud which includes unveiling the access code to the Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) popularly known as SIM card…”

Lights Out!Unilag Faces
Power failure is a perennial problem in Nigeria. A blogger at the university blog- Unilag Faces states:

“…Power failure is a major problem in our country, Nigeria. But do you think this should be a problem in the University? Last semester, my class was deprived of some lectures due to power outage. After all, we pay our school fees. I thought UNILAG [university of Lagos, Nigeria] has standby generators to supply the entire school with electricity when PHCN decide to ‘do their job’. A few of my exams in the past have been postponed because the exam hall had no electricity. Judging from the large number of students in my class, the Art Theatre is the only place that can contain us perfectly. Most of my lectures and exams are set in this theatre that cannot be used without electricity. Finding an ordinary class that needs no light will also be a bad idea because none of the ceiling fans are working. All I’m trying to say is that power failure should be the last thing to alter our school schedule.”

Lingua Franca On a Lighter Mode
Anthony blogging at On a Lighter Mode rants about the mastery of the English language by Nigerians.

“A 30-mins watch of the news will tell you how hard the people are trying to learn another man's language.…Funniest thing is if you make the mistake of making a grammatical blunder (not speak English correctly), you will be the object of scorn and ridicule for as long as the memory of people who heard your blunder lasts. Then go to other countries and see that what we [Nigerians] all carry in our heads to be the language of the intellectuals is not a criterion for achieving astounding feats in fields of endeavour. Or how do you explain the fact that a German Professor who has gotten to great heights in research cannot speak English? How does he teach & learn from science? It's definitely through his native tongue…That's why the Chinese President would not directly speak English even if he can. He would rather do it through an interpreter. Even if people like these force themselves to speak English, they do not bother if their English is of the most impeccable standard. No one boos them for not speaking it correctly. This can't be done over here oh! It's the dailies that will floor whoever the person is and tell him to go back to school to learn English.”

Cameroon
Cameroon 9 still in prison Black Looks
Sokari, a Nigerian resident in Spain discusses a report that states “that the government of Cameroon continues to refuse to release the 9 men acquitted of homosexuality charges on the 21st April 2006.

“In a further travesty of justice, the government is forcing the men to stand trial again. The men have been detained in Kondegui Prison in Yaoundé for nearly a year. At their initial trial, no witnesses were called and no proof offered by the prosecution, so Judge Tonye, the magistrate overseeing the case, declared the men innocent of all charges. The men expected to be released from prison quickly but the prosecutor’s office has refused to order their release and has said that the men will be retried…”

Senegal
Coming home Circling the Baobabs
Michelle, an American student studying language and culture in Senegal, shares some of her experience in Senegal via her blog “Circling the Baobabs”.

“I want to say this about our voyage: I've never decided to set out like that, to discover a country on my own, to go without a plan. All of my previous trips have been with a purpose, never to just go on a whim, with no itinerary in mind. We were equipped with a few changes of clothes and an outdated West Africa Lonely Planet. En plus, we were two girls from Senegal making the trek alone, making it after a sojourn of seven months in Senegal lending to our ability to dig deeper than just the topsoil of the place and really try to see it out — within the rights of our limitations in how far you can really know in 10 days. We could shed certain clichés like traveling in a taxi brousse or the feeling of “being in Africa” or of buying a cheesy African souvenirs to take home. Further, we found ourselves embraced constantly by a Senegalese world, one in which we never would have discovered had we set foot in Mauritania cold without a Senegal under our belt. We found Wolof and names we knew to pronounce and family friends who aided and directed and talked to us along the way — it was a home away from home transporting us from familiar to new and back again.”

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