The Trickery of Nigerian Politics

Sadly, in Nigeria of 2014 there aren’t any real political “parties” or ideologies beyond personal stomachs of their leaderships… what we have at the moment are platforms for people to stand on based on convenience. The power brokers are the same old ones and a few of their proteges.

Until the masses are enlightened enough to take their future in their hands rather than work for the power brokers (whatever convenient garb they may be putting on today), nothing is going to change.

As the country is today, a smart president and his crew may outfox the entire citizenry for a long while, a docile president may be outfoxed by the powers that be, and an incorruptible president may not be able to outmaneuver the institutionalized corruption/stealing that has now been enshrined in a system called democracy which the people have no user guide for. Personally, i think the user guide has been deliberately hidden.

Anyone that really means well for Nigeria will start to enlighten the people on at least some of the following:

  • how the democratic system of government is actually supposed to work;
  • how to monitor and manage local government officials;
  • how to hold municipal agencies accountable;
  • how to participate in the making of laws at the state and federal levels;
  • who and what the houses of assembly are actually supposed to represent;
  • how to understand budgets and track implementation beyond the complex sheets of paper that are presented yearly;
  • how to provide meaningful input to governance;
  • avenues for seeking audience when the proscribed channels do not work, etc etc.

When we learn most of these, we may become powerful enough to truly support leaders with good intentions and get rid of poor leadership.

But of course, it’s not in the best interest of the usual suspects (whether or not they are in the opposition at that point in time) that the masses gain enough understanding that they will be able to oppose them when in power. Their mantra rather is to inform the masses about enough shortcomings of the other guy so they hate him enough to go vote against him. Even when the enlightenment does not directly affect their own positions, they do not want to disrupt the structures that (may) indirectly support them.

Who is going to enlighten Nigerians unselfishly and get us out of this mess? Or rather, what can be done if anything outside the regular politickry?

Until we start to participate in governance and become the watchdogs, we will keep wishing in vain.


Upgrade my foot

Funny telephone network operators make a habit of sending notification about upgrades either few minutes into outage or few hours before. Are we supposed to applaud you for a half-day downtime on a mobile data network because you decided to call it an “upgrade”?

Aren’t we paying some people salary to deal with these clowns? NCC? CPC? Anybody? And you wonder why we multi-sim, multi-phone, multi-dongle and multi-modem.

It just occurred to me that we let them get away with this simply because it appears to be a minor hassle in an environment where generating your own power, providing your own security, drilling for your own water, constructing your own sewage disposal facility, etc are regular activities.


Today I learned what dirt can do to your network

A very dusty environment can cause dirt to build up in a Cisco router in turn causing a Serial Interface Card to malfunction and spew out more CRC errors than data which in turn causes very high round trip times and packet loss.

We only found this after several days of troubleshooting and fixing other problems at this C-band VSAT site. Problem solved by opening up router and using a vacuum cleaner. No engineering involved; just plain old cleaning. Of course this would not have been necessary in a clean environment.

Cisco router after years in the dust 2-DSC01280

Internet Access Options in Nigeria – Abuja April 2014

Someone asked me for information about available options for reliable corporate Internet in Abuja yesterday and after composing the email response with the analysis, I realized that over the years, I have somehow inadvertently become a walking encyclopedia of sorts for data network connectivity in Nigeria. This probably comes from consulting for multiple organizations including the network operators themselves. I’m posting this here with the hope that you find it useful. Continue reading

Scorecards and the Nigerian people

Why do we continually allow our “leaders” give themselves pass marks even in the face of woeful failure? Are we too busy hustling for daily bread to pay attention? We the people always end up paying one way or another.

In Nigeria, a few years ago, some people decided we had to scrap some bank notes in use in favour of polymer notes.
These would be water-resistant, more durable, etc, etc. After a few days of the pilot notes being in circulation, it was obvious to many people that the new notes were worse than what we had before. Accidentally step on one and by the time you pick it up, it has several holes. Wash it in your clothes and it comes out almost bleached. Ease of tearing was another thing. Continue reading

Much ado about a broadcast

I write this to remind us admins of the little things that sometimes cause us big headaches and the importance of monitoring which is very easy to neglect.While I was onsite visiting a Bandwidth Consortium member institution some weeks ago, the network admin happened to log into his router and saw one of his local interfaces receiving up to 40Mbps traffic. This is a network that rarely gets 10Mbps on that interface.
On closer inspection using the Torch feature of the Mikrotik RouterOS, Continue reading