Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nigerian NGO and five others to receive $3million Grant

15 Sep 2011 20:10 Africa/Lagos

The Co-Creation Hub of Nigeria, Association for Democratic Reforms (India), Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente (Chile), Mideast Youth (Bahrain), Centre UA (Ukraine), and Open Knowledge Foundation (UK) have been selected for the Omidyar Network’s $3million grant for advancing government transparency and accountability.

The following is the detailed news release.

Omidyar Network Supports Technology-Centered Organizations Seeking to Empower Citizens Across Six Countries
Announcement coincides with establishment of global hub for Government Transparency in London

PR Newswire

LONDON and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 15, 2011

LONDON and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Omidyar Network announced today its intent to grant up to $3M to six leading organizations focused on advancing government transparency and accountability. The organizations are: Association for Democratic Reforms (India), Co-Creation Hub (Nigeria), Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente (Chile), Mideast Youth (Bahrain), Centre UA (Ukraine), and Open Knowledge Foundation (UK).

Through its Government Transparency initiative, Omidyar Network invests in organizations that use technology and media platforms to provide access to information and tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process and hold governments to account. Over the last two years, the firm has invested over $40M in transparency efforts across the globe, including organizations such as mySociety in the United Kingdom, Ushahidi in Kenya, Janaagraha in India and the Sunlight Foundation in the United States.

Omidyar Network intends to provide an operating grant of up to $750k to Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an organization that seeks to improve governance and strengthen India's democracy through electoral and political reforms. ADR discloses the backgrounds of parliament and state assembly candidates so that voters have the knowledge to make informed decisions. The nonprofit also works for greater transparency and accountability in elections and in political parties, and on raising awareness on changes needed in the electoral and political system. For more information: www.adrindia.org.

The Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria will receive up to $200k in support of creating a shared work space where stakeholders from multiple walks of Nigerian life come together to collaboratively create tech-based solutions that address social challenges facing Nigerian society. It will be Nigeria's first multi-functional, multi-purpose space dedicated to the creation of social technology ventures. The Hub will accommodate 50-60 tech start-ups at one time and will provide pre-incubation services including: advice, training, mentorship and access to funding through a network of local and international partners. The Hub will also serve as a place for stakeholders to meet, brainstorm, share ideas and collaborate through partnership events, meet-ups, focus groups, hackathons, competitions and talks by guest speakers. For more information: http://www.cchubnigeria.com/

Omidyar Network intends to support Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente with a grant up to $500k over three years. The Chilean nonprofit creates technology platforms, including websites and mobile applications, to provide citizens access to easy-to-use, graphical information about their government. Citizens can learn about what issues will be debated in parliament, access the profiles and voting records of elected officials and learn about the demographic make up of the legislature. Future plans include creating online tools to learn about money's influence in politics and government, as well as expansion to other Latin America countries. For more information: http://www.votainteligente.cl/

Mideast Youth will receive a grant up to $600k to expand its multi-media content and further develop CrowdVoice, a white-label platform used to build communities around social topics, such as human rights, religious freedom, tolerance, and free speech. Mideast Youth provides a unique platform in the Middle East for the discussion of issues affecting young people, and in the past two years has developed a number of websites to bring attention to marginalized groups in the region. The core sites provide a forum for discussion around a range of cultural and rights issues and are updated daily by more than 300 regular citizen journalists who contribute to the sites. For more information: www.mideastyouth.com.

Omidyar Network will grant Centre UA $335k over two years in support of its initiative, New Citizen. New Citizen is a coalition of more than 50 Ukrainian civil society organizations seeking to secure a greater voice for citizen participation in the political process and holding government to account. Omidyar Network support will enable the coalition to build out its technology platforms, enable education and outreach and expand the program with the Ukraine. For more information: http://newcitizen.org.ua.

The Open Knowledge Foundation of the United Kingdom will receive a grant of up to $750k over three years. The U.K. nonprofit builds tools and communities to promote open access to information that can be used, reused and redistributed freely. The Open Knowledge Foundation works to increase knowledge about open data, designs innovative visualization tools that enable citizens to access and better interpret data, and builds dataset catalogues to demonstrate to both citizens and government alike the benefits of making data open, free and accessible. Grant proceeds will be used to: expand Open Knowledge Foundation's key financial transparency project, openspending.org; sustain and build working groups on open data; and establish chapters in additional countries. For more information: http://okfn.org.

In a separate announcement, Omidyar Network Investment Partner Steven King stated the philanthropic investment firm this week opened a global office in the Shoreditch area of London. The office will serve as the philanthropic investment firm's headquarters for its work in Europe as well as serve as the global hub for its Government Transparency initiative. He also announced Omidyar Network will begin to expand the geographic focus of its Government Transparency practice to include: Poland, Turkey and Ukraine in Europe; Brazil and Mexico in Latin America; Egypt in the Middle East; and Indonesia and the Philippines in Southeast Asia. The initiative will continue to focus efforts in the United States, India, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom. [See press release: Omidyar Network Expands European Presence with Opening of London Office].

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed nearly $450 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, entrepreneurship, property rights, transparency and accountability, consumer Internet and mobile. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.

SOURCE Omidyar Network

CONTACT: Greg Pershall of Omidyar Network, +1-360-607-8901, gpershall@omidyar.com

Web Site: http://www.omidyar.com




Thursday, August 18, 2011

70% of 12 million Nigerians Overseas Are Igbos


Majority of Nigerians overseas are in the US and UK.

Do you know that 70 percent of 12 million Nigerians overseas are Igbos? And 30 percent of them are from Abia State. Moreover, these Nigerians abroad remit over N23 billion every year according to Dr. kalu Kalu Diogu, leader of the Abia State Indigenes in Diaspora and a past Chairman of World Igbo Congress (WIC)

Last year 30 million Africans across the globe invested $40 billion into the continent's economy. And Nigerians accounted for about 55 percent of the money. Nigerians in in Diaspora remitted total of sum of $18 billion in 2009.






Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London is burning, but children are still dying in Somalia


London riots. Photo Credit: The Telegraph


Is the Arab Spring of Blood spreading to the UK as London is engulfed in the inferno of arsonists and looters on rampage? But as London is burning hundreds of children are still dying in the famine ravaging Somalia.

Who was the 29 years old bloke that was killed in exchange of gunfire with police in Tottenham in the twilight of last Saturday?

Would the death of that man be enough to enrage the hundreds of lunatics burning and looting in Birmingham, Canning Town, Manchester, Salford and still spreading?

Well, the pangs of dying children are echoing from Somalia.




Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
8 Aug 2011
14:58 Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in Kenya to Visit Dadaab Refugee Camps, Highlight the Need for Aid in the Horn of Africa
05:41 Somalia / Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) welcomes news of Al Shabaab vacating Mogadishu
5 Aug 2011
13:38 Somalia / Radio Simba presenter gunned down in Mogadishu
13:08 Helping Somalia recover and develop: European Commission to invest extra €175 million in governance, education and food security
13:21 IOM Appeals for US$ 26 Million to Assist Victims of Famine and Drought in the Horn of Africa
12:35 One African voice call on the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa
4 Aug 2011
15:15 Famine in Somalia Ignites Parliamentary Action
13:06 Sweden / An additional SEK 50 million in humanitarian aid to Somalia
11:48 Somalia: emergency relief for over a million people
08:41 Pledging conference for the Horn of Africa / African Union stands in support for the victims of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa
3 Aug 2011
06:14 Background Briefing on Somalia and Delivery of Humanitarian Assistance
11:00 Humanitarian Emergency, Horn of Africa - Italian Cooperation aid
2 Aug 2011
20:53 AmeriCares Emergency Aid Shipment Headed for Somalia
12:23 Horn of Africa - Italy to step up aid to Somali refugees
12:08 Drought in Horn of Africa / AUC Deputy Chairperson calls for coordinated efforts in Mogadishu and conveys AU's commitment to support afflicted populations and states
07:01 Somalia / Website reporter pardoned and freed in Puntland






Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nigerians in UK inspire British Author’s new book for Children

Nigerians in UK inspire British Author’s new book for Children

A new book Tópé Arrives is about a Nigerian orphan who was forced against his will to continue his life in England. It is a Nigerian story written by a new British author Wendy Hue who told me why she wrote this emotionally compelling children’s book that has been endorsed by Richard Damilola, the father of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old Nigerian child murdered on his way from Peckham Library on November 27, 2000, in south London in 2000. The book was on the long list of the The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.



Tópé is suddenly orphaned and against his will he has to leave Nigeria. Worried about starting a new life in England, he feels he is an outsider in his new school. It is a time of tears and tussles. Will his nimble football skills and precious wooden boat somehow help him to carve out a new beginning? Will he ever again be able to believe in himself and drum in with the dundun drums his renewed sense of fun and pride.

The book is specially for 7 - 9 year olds and already selected for Centre for Literacy and Primary Education book fair in London on the 24th June 2011.

Wendy Hue has a lot to say on her book, how Nigerians she has known for years in the UK inspired her literary genius in the writing and her unique multiethnic family among other important facts of her colourful life.




'Tópé Arrives' is just one of many, many stories that I have written.
The reason I decided to move with 'Tópé first was because he kept getting a lot of interest from mainstream publishers and also a literary agent I had about 5 years ago, however he never quite got published by them. Then the manuscript was long listed in The Times/Chicken House 2011 competition and I thought 'you know what - let me take this project in to my own hands' as from what I can see there is a real close net of who decides what books get published and end up on our shelves for all of our children. Children of different ethnicities are dispersed around the globe now and I believe we can no longer think insular, but must think wider because of this. We also have 4th, 5th etc generations of children now who are born and reared in different countries to that of their mother, father, grandparents, great grandparents and so on.

I also believe there is still a real under-representation of books for 'all of our children', where they can all be the main protagonist, the hero, or the fairy queen etc. I do not think we are quite there as yet in terms of having books that represent the complement of ethnicities in many countries, due party I suppose to the migration of peoples from one part of the earth to another today.

In terms of writing 'Tópé Arrives' about another culture, I felt confident enough because I have many, many amazing and wonderful Nigerian friends and worked in Peckham, South London for over 20 years (where there is an enormous and wonderful Nigerian community) so became very familiar with Nigerian culture. As the book, which was originally written, but not edited at that stage, is for young readers I did not want to force too much information about Nigeria in the book. I just wanted that information to trickle through with a light stroke of a paint brush. I hope I have done justice to this.

I can also let you know that I worked with two (not even one) excellent editors, one in particular who is an expert on diversity in children's publishing - Laura Atkins and she worked tirelessly with me to polish up the manuscript. I also commissioned a fabulous illustrator who has one some really wonderful line drawings inside and a beautiful front cover. Zara Slattery is the illustrator. All of this has and getting the book published has been at a total cost to me, but I am passionate about my writing and have persevered. I cannot wait for book number two to come out now, which is 'Ria - Sisterly Plaits' about a young black British Caribbean girl. I am of Caribbean ethnicity, but this story will not be autobiographical.

I have just left working in local government in London after almost 22 years and had been there for so long. I am a part-time university student in my final year, but finish next year as I have been also working fulltime. This year I have studied 'Global Politics and Postcolonial Worlds' and 'Cultures of Consumption'. As a family we also regularly have young children from all parts of the globe come and stay in our home on short stays when they are visiting England. I am a married mother of three children, my son Marlon is 23 and daughters, Hannah 19 and Emily 13. My father (who is part Chinese) came to this country (UK) when he was enlisted to fight in World War II for the British Royal Air Force when the Caribbean as were many other countries, part of the Commonwealth. He and my mother who came here in the 1950s remained thereafter. With my father's work we always moved around and lived for 3 years in Cyprus in the Mediterranean when I was growing up and also I was born in Germany because of this, amongst many, many places in the UK. As a family (I have 6 wonderful brothers and two lovely sisters) we have a multiplicity of ethnicities as we have African heritage in us as well as Scottish, Irish, Chinese and so on... - very global - one world!

On my literary ambitions, I have already paid with a publishing company for book number 2, but am now wondering if I should just try and set up my own publishing company to move with books thereafter. I am keen for far more representation and transparency in our world of children's books globally, and all of my books embrace inclusion and diversity...



~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Click here to order "Tópé Arrives" from Amazon.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

3rd African Gas Forum coming up in London

Must read Platts Survey: OPEC Pumps 29.57 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day in January..



10 Feb 2011 04:47 Africa/Lagos


Africangas forum

THE HAGUE, February 9, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Organised & Hosted By: Contact:babette@glopac.com or amanda@glopac.com

Date & Venue: 31st March-1 April 2011, Radisson Mayfair Hotel, London

Register now www.africangas-forum.com

Sponsor Contact: amanda@glopac.com



Separately Bookable Events: Fees Exclude 20% Vat as per UK Law

3rd African Gas: 1 April 2011: GBP 750 per person

3rd Africa Gas Business: Strategy Briefing: 31st March 2011, GBP 995 per person

Combined Fee: Briefing & Conference: GBP 1,450 per person

37th PetroAfricanus Dinner: Thursday 31st March 2011: GBP 250 per person (Members: GBP 150) - Guest Speaker: Dr Alan Stein, Managing Director, Ophir Energy: “Exploring Africa: Reflections From Downunder” – insights from a player with gas discoveries offshore in West and Eastern Africa.


Our 3rd African Gas 2011 builds on our unrivalled track record in and on Africa, deep industry knowledge-base, extensive executive networks across the African Continent and worldwide on Six Continents, direct business and advisory experience in over 45 countries north and south of the Sahara, and over three decades of Advisory Practice and research in the global oil and gas business.


Africa's gas-LNG game has come of age, with over 30 African countries holding gas resources, and 20 now with proven reserves, with more entering into production, and gas discoveries both proliferating and often large, some of world-class dimension. Companies have upgraded their gas portfolio, redesigned strategies and enhanced investments in domestic and pipeline export gas, targeting Atlantic LNG markets and Europe-destined gas consumers, as well as GTL in selected locales, in some instances synfuels for local offtake, and engaged in a widening list of gas-power projects with independent private power, across a range of related cross-border markets. Meanwhile, corporates, investors and financiers now target the gas-rich Maghreb and the Gulf of Guinea (with many gas monetisation projects in the pipeline, along with LNG ventures), Southern Africa's offshore and onshore in shale gas and CBM, as well as the highly-promising East African frontier margins offshore and for onshore gas-power, soon probably to be a focus for potential LNG ventures for Asian markets.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

Tim Okon, Group General Manager, Corporate Planning & Strategy & Chairman, Gas Master Plan, NNPC, Nigeria

Malcolm Brown, Senior Vice President, Exploration, BG plc

Carol Law, Exploration Manager, East Africa & Caribbean, Anadarko Petroleum Corp

Dr Duncan Clarke, Chairman & CEO, Global Pacific & Partners, South Africa

Bolaji Osunsanya, Chief Executive Officer, Oando Gas & Power, Nigeria

Peter Clutterbuck, Deputy Chairman, Orca Exploration, Tanzania

Yasser Tousson, General Manager Finance, Apache Corporation, Egypt

Dr Alan Stein, Managing Director, Ophir Energy, Perth

Steve Mills, Commercial Manager, Petroleum Agency SA, South Africa

Gabriel Bujulu, Petroleum Engineer, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation

Senior Executive, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation**

Kevin Hart, Chief Executive, Bowleven plc

Scott Aitken, Chief Executive, Seven Energy, Nigeria

Radwan Hadi, Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Oil & Gas

Jeff Greenblum, Chairman of The Board, EnerGulf

Rogers Beall, President, Fortesa International Senegal, Senegaz-Africa Fortesa Corp.

Edwin Bowles, President & CEO, RJ Energy

Semyon Astakhov, Head Africa, TMK Africa

Prior to the Forum is our 3rd Africa Gas Business: Strategy Briefing (Thursday 31st March), reviewing gas assets and portfolio potential in over 100 companies, from Africa and around the world, companies looking for farm-in/outs, new ventures, investors and wider deal-flow. With Presentations by Dr Duncan Clarke, Chairman & CEO, Global Pacific & Partners, Africa's leading strategist, and author on the Continent's oil and gas industry, providing an in-depth & unique set of insights on the gas industry and corporate business strategies, as well as Government gas policies and investment strategies of the National Oil Companies and Licensing Agencies - in the Maghreb, Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa. Delegates receive access online to Presentations, with 750 Images, that reveal the changing shape of Africa's gas game in dynamic evolution, the players involved & their portfolio and how the competitive gas world is shifting, and likely to be the cutting edge of the hydrocarbons industry in Africa over the next decade and beyond.



Source: Global Pacific & Partners


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Monday, September 6, 2010

Nengi Josef Ilagha Writes Queen Elizabeth II on Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary

Majesty Nengi Josef Ilagha, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe

News Flash

As Nigeria prepares to celebrate her Golden Jubilee anniversary on October 1, 2010, the London-based Nigerian poet, journalist and broadcaster, Nengi Josef Ilagha, forwards a Royal Mail to Queen Elizabeth II, the constitutional monarch of England who will be marking her Diamond Jubilee anniversary on the throne in 2012. In twelve gutsy, friendly, sober and soul-searching epistles, the author takes the Queen on a revealing ride into the corrupt character and unwholesome habits of a nation on the verge of rebirth, and invites her to push for the restoration of the values that make England a stable and prosperous model.

Told through the perceptive lenses of a poet with a knack for refreshing imagery, the book is an incisive and harrowing testament on the state of the most populous African country, fifty years into its life as a nation, laying bare its shameful inadequacies, and underscoring its hopeful impact on world affairs. Delivered in a lucid, winsome and personable style which dollies in from time to time to undertake a dramatic exposition of the British colonial mentor and life in London, Royal Mail is inspired by Her Majesty’s efficient postal delivery service.

The book promptly finds its place beside Chinua Achebe’s popular 1983 commentary, The Trouble With Nigeria, with the added advantage that it extends its critical antenna to England and finds the colonizer culpable of the political rot in present-day Nigeria, no thanks to the divide-and-rule ethic enthroned by the British under Lord Frederick Lugard’s pioneering tenure as Governor-General of the West African nation. The following is the opening epistle from Royal Mail, published by Treasure Books, Nigeria.


I

City Boy

The men who succeed are the efficient few
- Herbert N. Casson


YOUR ROYAL MAJESTY, I am glad to make your acquaintance. I am led by none other than the hand of God to address this humble epistle to you. I have no doubt that your efficient mail delivery service will bring these words before your eyes in the fullness of time. As you will soon come to understand, I have quite a lot to say to you, and I will say it as the pages flip by, so help me God.

Allow me to begin by congratulating you on your fifty-eighth anniversary in office. That is quite a long time to serve your land and people as Queen. You have been monarch of England for as long as Ron and Don, the world’s most famous conjoined twins have been together, bound by flesh from day to day, minute after minute. I happen to have seen them for the first time on BBC 4 television on the night of March 4, 2010, and it got me thinking. They were born one year after you ascended the throne at Sandringham.

By all accounts, you will be marking your Diamond Jubilee in 2012. I find myself suitably equipped and qualified, therefore, to address you in the twelve epistles that make up this small loaf of bread, even as you come to understand that two of my sons go by the names of Diamond and Jubilee. But let me not get ahead of my story. Let me take one letter at a time, one word at a time, one line at a time, one paragraph at a time, one page at a time, one chapter at a time.

You have been at the head of government for so long, witness to the policies and programmes of Prime Ministers as varied in temperament and carriage as Anthony Eden was from Gordon Brown. Not too long ago, I saw pictures of Winston Churchill, Eden’s predecessor, upon the satellite clouds, delivering excerpts of his famous speeches in the finest manner of a war-time hero. Quote. Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches. I frequently search mine. Unquote.

Your Majesty, do you mind taking a look at your speech to Nigeria on October 1, 1960? Remind yourself of the things you said to the new nation, the promises you failed to keep. I say this advisedly, because I have before me your speech to the Commonwealth delivered on May 8, 2010.

Today’s societies are constantly seeking ways to improve their quality of life, and science and technology play a vital part in that search…Experimentation, research and innovation, mean that more opportunities for improving people’s lives exist today than ever before. Take long distance communication, where the obstacles of time and geography have been dramatically reduced: people can now use mobile phones to be in instant contact virtually anywhere in the world, be it with a medical centre in the Himalayan mountains in Asia, a Pacific island school, a research facility at the South Pole, or even the international space station, beyond this planet altogether.

I share your sentiments, Your Majesty. I look forward to your next speech, the one you will address to the President and good people of Nigeria on their Golden Jubilee anniversary, the one that will pronounce restoration to a long-suffering nation. Suffice it to say, for now, that Nigeria is not some space station beyond this planet. It is a country you once ruled with pride and honour. By virtue of modern communication devices, we can still be reached by phone, in spite of frustrations with the network. But anyone you call up in our beleaguered country will assure you that conditions of living could have been better than they are today. Take it from me.

By and by, it should strike you as a sign that Sir Anthony Eden was the first Prime Minister under your watch. I shall have a lot to say about Eden, the parcel of land upon which the first man and woman were moulded from the mud of the earth. Of course, as a fervent Christian, I take my bearings from the Bible. Now we dwell in the present, listening to the rhetoric of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, to say nothing of the Miliband Brothers. I am a witness to history in the making. I abide with you. I can only say it is your portion to have been so blessed, so revered, so adored for over five decades of your life in prosperity and opulence.

I have no doubt that you have questions of your own bubbling within you right now, questions you wish to direct at me. Verily, verily, I will be only too glad to give ear and hearken, to say nothing of answering them as the days unfold, but I suppose you will let me exhaust myself on the subjects I have set out to address in this long epistle to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England. Even so, I cannot proceed without running the full course of the pleasantries which I must not fail to offer, from my meek and gentle self to every member of the Royal Family, acting on behalf of the President and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

How are you today? How is the Queen Mother? How is Prince Phillip? How is Prince Charles? How is Prince William? And how is Prince Harry? O, how is Princess Anne, the one you sent to represent you at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos on October 1, 1960? How did you find Nigeria on your maiden visit in the first week of December, 2003? What gift do you have in mind for the country you once colonized, as it marks its Golden Jubilee? These questions popped up in my mind in that particular order on February 6, 2010, when I read in the internet rather belatedly that you were marking your anniversary in Sandrigham. It was remiss of me not to have put my thoughts on paper at the time and date in question, on account of the poor weather. As the saying goes, however, better late than never. I have never been at home with the cold, and I will tell you why. I am a child of the sun, that’s why. At any rate, I have no doubt that your family is in good health and excellent spirits.

Your Majesty, I will do well not to hold back what I have to say to you. If I have rambled round and about the subject up to this point, put it down to a royal habit I acquired since I became king. That last bit of information, indeed, should give you a fair idea as to how I summoned the audacity to extend a few words of hope in conversation with Your Imperial Majesty, as Nigeria marks her Golden Jubilee. Do allow me to whisper this detail in your ear, if you don’t mind coming a little closer. I am His Royal Majesty Nengi Josef Ilagha, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom. I am also the author of twelve books spanning the full calendar, from January through December, as you may have noticed from the Pope Pen Library that prefaces this book. Glad to meet you.

Time does fly, Your Majesty. Don’t you find it amazing that you have ruled Britain for all of fifty-eight years, that in a couple of years you will be marking your Diamond Jubilee? Isn’t God wonderful to have kept you through the storm of eleven Prime Ministers? Before David Cameron showed up, I was wondering who would be your Twelfth Prime Minister. Now we know that you are overseeing the first coalition government since 1945. May God give you the fortitude and grace to undertake the assignment to the glory of his name.

Lest I forget, let me promptly invite you to my coronation ceremony in the selfsame critical year of transition which marks your Diamond Jubilee. I shall be formally ascending the throne in that capital year, 2012, as King of Eden, better known as Nembe in modern geography. I have no doubt that your entire entourage will be on hand to demonstrate to our land and people what the imperial ceremonies are like, and should be, even in a former colony such as Nigeria. Do bring along your beefeaters, your buffeters, your bagpipes, your puppeteers, your horses, your Metropolitan police and your Imperial Guard of Honour.

Come and stage a carnival as colourful, as grand, as magnificent, as brilliant, as vintage as the one I just witnessed at Nothinghill. Come with your trumpets, come with your bugles. Come and stage a lavish party in Nigeria, beginning from Bayelsa. Come to the Glory Of All Lands. You must come and set a new standard, or at least, revive the memory of our people as to what it means to be part of the British Commonwealth. What is more, I believe you will do well to send word to your worthy counterparts in Spain, Denmark, Jordan and such other countries where the monarchy is still respected as a timeless institution, to grace the coronation ceremony of Pope Pen The First.

There we are! The proverbial cat is out of the bag, out of the proverbial bin, in spite of all the efforts of the Mary Bales of this wicked world. My friends call me Mingi Nengi XII, the Lion King of Nembe. So now you know why I am so conscious of the year 2012. What are your earnest plans for your Diamond Jubilee celebration in 2012? I want to be a part of it all. Well, now we have our bearings right, let us get down to brass tacks, so to speak. But let it not be that I am being presumptuous. It is possible that you cannot quite place Nembe on the map of British history, so I will go so far as to help you.

Fifty-eight years is a long time indeed, Your Majesty. So much has happened. So much more is happening, even as we speak. You may have forgotten certain matters that called for your urgent attention in times past. You may at present be preoccupied with A Journey, the memoirs of Tony Blair. I have my copy in hand as well. I will read it on the Tube, from Golders Green to Finchley, from Finchley to Baker Street, from Baker Street right through to Aldgate. Up and down the Jubilee Line, I will read from Stanmore to Stratford and back, my all-day travel card in my pocket, like a typical City Boy. But let me not digress.

As I was saying, Your Majesty, certain incidents may have become mere figments from the past, as if they never happened. Certain faces may have become blurred in memory. Certain names and dates may escape you from time to time in the course of conversation. I don’t blame you. After all, none of my royal predecessors kept you in remembrance of our abiding relationship as colonizer and colonized, certainly not the last Mingi of Nembe. I do hope that the language you left behind in my country will avail me with the right and proper words to express myself to the fullest, and to extend the great expectations that my subjects back home want you to consider, without let, without hindrance.

From time to time, I shall consult Daniel Ogiriki Ockiya, the reverend gentleman who extensively documented the historic Nembe-British War of 1895 in The History of Nembe, and E.J. Alagoa, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Port Harcourt, author of The Small Brave City-State. The credentials of these noble sons of the soil lie in the fact that they had the presence of mind to record the events of the day as faithfully as they could manage. They deserve trophies from Her Majesty The Queen, as much as many gallant Nigerians who have contributed to the grandeur of England in no small way.

As Nigeria turns fifty, Your Majesty, it is tempting to undertake a comparison of the country you once colonized and check it for critical differences with yours, from the time Britain annexed our parcel of land after the partitioning of Africa in 1884, right up to 1960 when we returned the Union Jack to you through Princess Anne of Kent, right up to the present -- and to see just how far we have come as a nation. I shall promptly fall for this temptation. The internet is my witness. I shall consult it for facts. I shall also do well to conduct a cursory parade of your queenly parks, your royal gardens, your busy highways, your underground network of rails and its workaday population, in order to put in fair perspective the disparities between Lagos and London, between Brass and Brighton, between Nembe and Nottingham.

I want to hail Nigeria, Your Majesty. But I find it hard to do so. I want to hail the profound ideals expressed in the inaugural national anthem composed by Flora Shaw, Lord Lugard’s companion, who first gave us the name Nigeria in an article published in The Times of London on January 8, 1897. Nigeria is not quite the same country you granted political independence in 1960. Take it from me. In the words of one of your famous political theorists, Thomas Hobbes, life in present-day Nigeria is “short, nasty and brutish.” I will tell you why. I am obliged, indeed, to bring you abreast with developments in my beloved country, with particular emphasis on the state of my domain. But if the matters I bring before you in the intervening pages sound confusing, if this epistolary journey upon which we have embarked, qualifies as a mosaic of sentiments trussed up together, without form or order, don’t blame me too much. Put it down to the chaotic temper of my country, the haphazard scheme of existence under which we have laboured, these past fifty years.

Even so, I assure you that our nation is on the verge of rebirth. Good luck has come to Nigeria. There is an inevitable tectonic shift in the political order. I invite you to push for the restoration of the values that make England such a prosperous and stable example, that we might take our cues afresh. I have no doubt that you will give me your fullest attention. I will do well not to bore you, but if I do so at all, put it down to my second-hand acquaintance with the Queen’s English.
I will do well to be reasonable. I will do well to uphold the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. I pledge not to insult your royal intelligence. I promise to remain faithful to the picture I have studied of my country since I was born into it on December 18, 1963. I am, Your Majesty, a full-grown child of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the best sense of the expression. I will do well to grip my country, literally by the scruff of the neck, and yank it for faith.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, no one can take that divine right away from me.


By His Majesty Nengi Josef Ilagha
Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe
Bayelsa State, Nigeria

More from the same author.
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A Perspective on Goodluck Jonathan’s Attitude to Governance While He Was Governor of BayelsaState
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Monday, May 17, 2010

The UK has Europe's Most Mature and Dynamic Online Job Market

17 May 2010 09:45 Africa/Lagos


The UK has Europe's Most Mature and Dynamic Online Job Market

BARCELONA, May 17, 2010/PRNewswire/ -- The UK is the European country with the most online vacancies per worker, with a number 6 times higher than Spain, double the vacancies of France and nearly three times as many jobs as Italy. The UK has 26 jobs per thousand workers, while France has 12, Italy 10 and Spain 4. In terms of growth, it's the country with the second highest increase in the number of jobs posted online after France.


The United Kingdom is the European country with the most mature and dynamic online job market. Even for mid-level or high-level professions, the Internet is often recruiters' first choice when it comes to finding a suitable candidate; something that is not replicated in other European countries, such as Italy. For example, in the first four months of 2010 the top four vacancies on offer were for team managers, sales, developers and technical support.


In the first four months of 2010 the number of vacancies published on the Internet increased around 10% month-on-month. The market experienced an increase of 7% from January to February, with an added increase of 10% between February and March. From March to April, the number of vacancies increased by 15%.


London centralizes around 60% of the job vacancies in the UK - in April the number of vacancies in London was ten times higher than in the second city with most offers, Manchester. The cities that complete in the top five with the most vacancies on offer are Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds. The growth in London is an indicator of growth in the rest of the country. The growth trend, however, is not reflected in the number of offers in Leeds and Liverpool, where the number of online vacancies has decreased from February onwards.


Trovit, the leading search engine for classifieds in Europe, has a large volume of vacancies from the most important job boards and portals in eleven European countries, which allows it to compare between the different markets.


For further information, please contact Claudio Capitani at c.capitani@trovit.com, +34-93-209-2556


Source: Trovit

For further information, please contact Claudio Capitani at c.capitani@trovit.com, +34-93-209-2556





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Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Offer of a Cup of Tea, No Seat on the Bus...and Barely a Hello From Your Neighbour: Welcome to Today's Britain

4 Mar 2010 08:00 Africa/Lagos

No Offer of a Cup of Tea, No Seat on the Bus...and Barely a Hello From Your Neighbour: Welcome to Today's Britain

ANDOVER, England, March 4, 2010/PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey of the nation's local community and workplace habits carried out by healthcare provider Simplyhealth, has revealed us to be a nation that no longer cares about our community. Long gone are the days when Britons knew their neighbours by name - in fact, over half of modern day workers (52%) don't even offer to make a cup of tea for a colleague.


Almost half of us now only know a maximum of three neighbours by name. Tellingly, it's the 'over 55s' that can be bothered to get to know their neighbours with the majority (57%) on first name terms with at least five of their neighbours, whereas almost two-thirds of 'under 35s' know only two.


According to Simplyhealth's Bothered Britain survey of more than 1,000 UK adults, the main causes of people not bothering are lack of time and stress at work. However, despite the claim of "no time", over half the nation (56%) still manages to watch over 15 hours of television a week, instead of bothering to offer up an act of kindness. Other statistics revealed:



- 82% of people don't give up their seat on the bus or train
to someone who needs it more

- 61% of people admitted to never having volunteered for a charity

- 86% of the nation don't ever offer to carry someone else's bags




In fact, it seems that it now takes moments of extreme adversity to encourage any active acts of botheredness at all - 92% of us agree that it takes a crisis for people to show they care about one another, with 82% agreeing that the recent freezing weather conditions brought about a greater sense of community spirit - which now appears to have melted along with the snow.


This could be a reflection of modern life, with higher work expectations and frantic family lifestyles causing higher levels of stress and fatigue. However, carrying out good deeds for others can in fact have a positive impact on a person's health, as well as the surrounding community.


Medical expert Dr Christian Jessen agrees: "We all know that helping others is of benefit to them, but many people don't realise that getting active to help others can also improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Simple activities like walking the neighbour's dog or helping in the garden help to burn calories and improve general fitness, leading to a healthier, happier nation."


Jamie Wilson, spokesperson for Simplyhealth, says: "Committing just half an hour a month to helping someone else can make a real difference to your life as well as theirs. If everyone in the UK aimed to do just one act of 'botheredness' every month, it would make a real difference to the nation's overall wellbeing. As a healthcare provider, we encourage our staff to get active in the community supporting others - in fact we give 100 days a year to staff to spend a day helping at a charity of their choice."


Simplyhealth provides a variety of health plans, which help towards the cost of check-ups, treatment and emergencies, helping people budget for the costs of expected and unexpected healthcare. It also has a specialist Simplyhealth store that offers mobility and daily living aids.


For further information on Simplyhealth please bother us on +44(0)800-072-6715 or log onto http://www.simplyhealth.co.uk. In a world where so many people can't be bothered, Simplyhealth is proud to be a company that can, to find out how log onto http://www.wecanbebothered.co.uk.



Notes to Editor

- Previously known as HSA, BCWA, LHF, HealthSure and Totally
Active, our family of health companies have joined together over the
last 8 years to form Simplyhealth
- At Simplyhealth, we have been providing healthcare solutions for
nearly 140 years, dedicated to serving our customers through a variety
of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, healthcare
trusts and mobility and living aids
- Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is
authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
- As of December 2009, Simplyhealth had 1.3 million customers
providing cover for some 2.3 million people
- Simplyhealth is committed in its constitution to making a
positive impact on its communities. Each year, we help health related
charities and causes to the tune of at least GBP1million




For further information, please bother us at:


http://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/media-centre


Source: Simplyhealth

For further information, please bother us at: Abby Bowman, Senior Brand and PR Manager +44(0)1264-342561; Caroline Lakeman, Public Relations Manager +44(0)1264-342570; Rebecca Jeremy, Public Relations Assistant +44(0)1264-342400; Or pr@simplyhealth.co.uk.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday - Busiest Online Shopping Day in the UK

30 Nov 2009 07:58 Africa/Lagos

Cyber Monday - Busiest Online Shopping Day in the UK

LONDON, November 30/PRNewswire/ --


As featured in the Telegraph, Sun and Guardian, Cyber Monday is expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. Shoppers spend the weekends browsing and buying in stores and upon returning to the office on Monday, turn to the Internet to start shopping for better prices than high street stores. Industry experts, including Visa, are gearing up for this Monday, 30 November to be the record busiest day, because many workers will receive their last pay cheque before Christmas. In other years, the first Monday in December, which this year falls on the 7th, was the busiest online shopping day of the year.


Richard Chapple, from online store Zavvi.com, said: "Mondays are the busiest day online, and as we approach December people become conscious that Christmas is only around the corner. This sees more people than usual logging on, and with this weekend also being the last payday before Christmas for many, they will make the most of having money in the bank to get presents, especially after a tough year."


David Smith, director of operations at IMRG, said: "The rate of growth has slowed because of current economic conditions, but sales online are still growing." IMRG is forecasting growth of online sales of around 15% this year, compared to previous rates of 35% to 50%. "We are seeing more women shopping online and an older age group and they are the people with the disposable income."


Talya Schaeffer, co-founder of Cyber Monday UK, said: "Starting 30 November, many online retailers will be offering their best promotions of the Christmas trading season. Cyber Monday is an exciting opportunity for both shoppers and retailers alike. Shoppers save money by buying online and retailers can entice shoppers during this peak day with bespoke promotions."


Cyber Monday UK will be hosting a Cyber Monday launch party on Monday, 30 November from 1000 - 1500 GMT at Reload Internet Cafe at 197 Praed Street, Paddington, London W2 1RH across from Paddington Station. Shoppers will be able to surf the Internet for free and get advise on shopping online and saving money.


Click here (http://www.cybermonday.co.uk/) to visit the new Cyber Monday UK site.


Source: CyberMonday.co.uk

Talya Schaeffer of CyberMonday.co.uk, +44-(0)-20337-18573, talya@cybermonday.co.uk



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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Moving Nigeria Forward To The Next Level

~ By Roy Agiande

It is no longer news that the world has been hit by a severe financial crisis often compared to the Great Depression of the early 1930s and countless jobs have been lost worldwide due to this catastrophic phenomenon. It is scary to note that developed countries are shedding jobs, recording huge losses, cutting down on production cost and salaries. Worthy of note is the report that the UK has been hit by an unemployment figure of over 2.4 million which is the worst recorded over a decade. These are countries that have a well structured policy of job creation and backup policy to absorb the different fluctuations and shortcomings of the economy. I begin to wonder if there is hope for Nigeria, a less developed country where both the Private and Public sectors are all counting monumental losses, some banks are experiencing what you may call SYSTEMATIC FAILURE; where the Apex Bank has sacked the CEOs of major banks for gross insider abuse and the stock market experiencing a meltdown.

There are so many ways of helping the economy bounce back and diverse from its traditional mono-economic ways. One of which is to inject capital to the ailing and hungry sectors. Startup Weekend Nigeria is one of such avenues of doing just that. Fresh and radical business ideas proposed and funded from the scratch and new entrepreneurs are created. If you ask me, it’s like killing two birds with one stone. How?

By creating about 10 companies every Startup Weekend means new jobs would be created as well and the spin-offs could boost the economy, thereby complimenting the government’s efforts of job creation. Secondly, it’s also a way of capital injection to the cash strapped economy. Past minister of finance and present World Bank President, Dr (Mrs.) Ngozi Iweala once said:
“Create entrepreneurs, because it is a definite catalyst for job and wealth creation.”

It might interest you to know that some of the biggest businesses in the United States started as startups which eventually turned to multibillion dollar companies. Believe it or not, Nigeria is blessed with a large array of great thinkers and business minds which are going to be harvested and utilized to full capacity through Startup Weekends in Nigeria. It would also address the issue of the pool of unemployed graduates and those fresh from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Malcolm Wicks visit to Nigeria

20 Aug 2008 17:22 Africa/Lagos


Malcolm Wicks visit to Nigeria

London, 20 August/GNN/ --

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release
(2008/178) issued by The Government News Network on 20 August 2008
UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, has visited Nigeria this week following
HE President Yar'Adua's London meeting with the Prime Minister in June,
where energy was a key theme of their discussion.

Whilst there he met with Nigerian energy ministers and visited the Delta to
gain an understanding of the situation in Nigeria first hand.

Speaking in Nigeria, Wicks said:

"I came here to continue discussions with my Nigerian counterparts and to
understand more about the energy challenges in Nigeria. The UK is keen to see
whether our energy experience can help the Nigerian Government to implement
their far reaching energy sector reforms.

"We have discussed Nigeria's oil and gas production, including their
implementation of a recently launched Gas Master Plan and the prospects for
ending gas flaring, the reform and restructuring of the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation and the important work of the Nigerian Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative.

"I support Nigeria's efforts to better use oil and gas revenues which,
together with fiscal discipline and transparency, can make a positive
difference to livelihoods of the Nigerian people.

"The UK and Nigeria have a close relationship on many issues; I hope that
this can be extended to the energy field and that this visit can help to
further strengthen our partnership."

During bilateral discussions, the prospects for increasing oil and gas
production in Nigeria and the need for a strong investment climate to ensure
this potential is realised were discussed.

Also discussed:

* Sustainable development, climate change, the implementation of the clean
development mechanism and carbon capture and storage technologies;
* Energy conservation and efficiency;
* Capacity building to help with implementation of the reforms; and
* Foreign direct investment

The Ministers also talked about UK's experience in working with
International Oil Companies (IOC) and the benefits doing so can provide to
a country. Recognising the need for the Government of Nigeria and the IOCs
to find a fair and equitable solution to funding issues, Wicks said the UK
Government stood ready to support both parties in achieving this.

Notes to editors

1. The UK supports Nigeria in gaining better use of its oil revenues, improving
transparency, and strengthening macro-economic management, including in the
Niger Delta States.

2. Volatility in the crude oil prices poses challenges for Nigeria and other
producing countries. The UK believes that open, transparent markets are the
best way to encourage investment and encourages Nigeria in its efforts to
increase transparency in the energy sector through initiatives such as the
Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

3. Both the UK and Nigerian Governments are supportive of the producer/consumer
meeting held at Jeddah to discuss energy and its priorities to improve the
functioning of oil markets, investment in new oil production, management of
demand and sharing a vision of the future energy landscape. Only by working
together and sharing experience will we tackle challenges in an effective
and timely way.

4. The Nigerian Ministers that met with UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks,
included the Minister of State for Petroleum, Odien Ajumogobia; the Minister
of State for Energy (Gas), Emmanuel O Odusina; and the Minister of State
for Energy (Power) Mrs Fatima Balaraba Ibrahim.

5. The UK recognises the ambitious programme of reform the Nigerian Government
is taking forward and modernising of the regulatory regime in the energy
sector. The UK has offered support in sharing experience and building capacity
in energy regulation. It is these regulatory frameworks that give the private
sector the confidence to deliver these ambitious plans. Areas for support
could include technical aspects around gas markets and tariffs where the
UK has significant experience. Also, part of a longer term plan to increase
supplies, both countries recognise the current global shortage in skills in
the oil and gas sector and will work together through the International Energy
Forum and OPEC to look at training and building skills across the sector.

6. Both countries will also explore opportunities to manage supply and demand
and conserve energy which contributes not only to increased energy security
but climate security. We will look at existing energy efficiency initiatives
and also at what new technologies might support these endeavours. An
excellent example of where increased energy security and climate change come
together is the new technology on carbon capture and storage and enhanced
oil recovery. Both countries will continue to work together on commercial
opportunities around implementing climate change measures. Key to this is
the clean development mechanism and the UK Government commits to continuing
to support the NNPC in its actions on the mechanism.

7. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK
business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business
growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda
and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of
Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively
priced energy supplies.

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Press enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5954
(Out of hours) +44 (0)20 7215 3234/3505
Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (for those with hearing impairment)
Press Office fax +44 (0)20 7222 4382
www.berr.gov.uk



Source: Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform


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