My Random Thoughts

Location: United Kingdom

A Naija Guy living (and loving) in the UK.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Merci Les Bleus

Just got back from a trip to Paris. I guess since I'd spent the last couple of weeks identifying with the French, the trip was an optimistic attempt to rejoice with them 'when' they'd won the World Cup. But alas, it wasn't to be. Zidane's moment of madness robbed the French of an almost guaranteed Penalty kicker and the rest like they say is history. Everyone I spoke to about the match was very philosophical, composed and gracious in defeat. The guys at the Concierge service of our Hotel advised that there would probably be trouble at the Champs Elysees so we choose not to go. Well at least we got a relaxing holiday.

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!! They made us all proud.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Nigeria leads the world!

On Religion
A survey of people's religious beliefs carried out suggests that Nigeria is the most religious nation in the world. Over 90% of Nigerians said they believed in God, prayed regularly and would die for their belief. All the survey respondents in Nigeria (100%) expressed a belief in God or a higher power. The figure was in 91% the US with the UK scoring lowest at 67%.
Over 91% of Nigerians said they regularly attended a religious service, contrasting with 21% in the UK and only 7% of Russians.

All these statistics lead me to wonder, what are the advantages of the religious fervour of Nigerians?

On Happiness
A study of more than 65 countries published in the UK's New Scientist magazine suggests that the happiest people in the world live in Nigeria - and the least happy, in Romania. So I guess that we are having some rewards for our supplication to God. One side of me however wonders whether the survey respondents are actually replying to the questions in faith (the bible states that whatsoever you profess you receive). My Grandmother (God bless her soul) would always reply to a question about money by saying "Owo po lowo mi" - there is loads of money with me - whether she was broke or not. Its just like Luther said money doesn't buy happiness as using GDP per capita Nigeria is the 19th Poorest Country in the World and 60% of the population are living below the poverty line.

On Corruption
A couple of years ago while still the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI) strongly criticised a survey by Transparency International which ranked Nigeria as the most corrupt country in Africa saying it was "fundamentally flawed". NOI said the survey failed to take into account government efforts to fight corruption. I guess this means we have a problem but are working on a cure?

So Nigerians are the worlds most religious but yet also among the most corrupt? Well at least we are the happiest! How else does Nigeria lead the world?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

CCTV in England, ID Cards and the Big Brother State

In 1949, George Orwell released his novel called "Nineteen Eighty-Four". The novel told the story of Winston Smith, a minor bureaucrat in the totalitarian state of Oceania where privacy has vanished and all Party members are observed by two-way telescreens and there are posters everywhere proclaiming; BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU (the book actually coined the phrase 'Big Brother'). Over 50 years after the publication of 1984, Britain has started to imitate the State of Oceania.

If you live and work in London chances are you are being caught over 300 times a day on Camera . Britain has the highest number - per person - of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras in the world including countries with a much higher crime rates such as the USA. There are CCTV cameras on the Underground, buses, shopping malls and our high streets. It is estimated that there are over four million CCTV cameras in the UK, one for every 14 residents. Since 1994, the Home Office has spent a staggering 78% of its crime prevention budget on CCTV cameras.

On Identity Cards
The Blair Government recently introduced the Identity Cards Act 2006. This means the government has the power to introduce identity cards in stages.The first phase will include biometrically updating passports and driving licences - including fingerprints, eye or facial scans. A voluntary ID card will then be introduced in 2008 and people applying for passports will have their details put on the national identity register. From 2010 people applying for passports will also be issued with an ID card. The Civil liberties group Liberty have argued that these measures will worsen harassment of ethnic minorities and provide another pretext for stop-and-search (reintroduction of the old 'suss' measures) often directed at black people in particular. The original pretext for introducing the ID cards was the war against Terror. The Home Secretary argued that Identity cards would make it harder for terrorists to enter the UK and adopt false and multiple identities. All the four suicide bombers killed on the Public Transport system last year on 7 July were British Citizens.

Are these measures actually going to make us safer or are we just giving up our civil liberties in an effort to 'feel' safer?