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[Nigeria]Nigerian glossary


Sunday night TV

Filed under: VSO — kevin @ 08:57

On Sunday night I was bored and restless, so I thought I’d watch Wetin Dey, a new soap made by the BBC World Service Trust in partnership with NTA. I’d guess that NTA’s involvement is pretty much limited to transmitting the programmes as the sound and picture quality are fairly decent, so obviously none of their technical staff have been involved.

While I was waiting for it to come on I caught something more typical of NTA’s output, a government “documentary” (propaganda film) about the joys of Public Private Partnership in the education sector. I had to laugh when they started talking about how PPP had been a great success in the UK and USA.

It was the usual NTA style, almost inaudible sound, looking like it was filmed on somebody’s home camcorder (although I know they use professional equipment) and just reproducing what the ministry of education had told them to say.

The programme concentrated on the Unity Schools, founded back in the 60s/70s as the flagships of Nigerian secondary education. Now they’re crumbling and failing, despite huge amounts of money allegedly being allocated to them. Cut to the Federal Government College in Kwali (near Abuja): roofless classrooms, semi-derelict buildings, half-naked students, etc. Then cut to the principals office: she’s sitting there in a big shiny chair, office obviously recently redecorated and a big air-conditioner on the wall. She complains that the college’s generator has broken down, but I can guarantee that there’s a generator just for her office. I’d guess that a reasonable chunk of the money for refurbishing the school has been spent on her office, as well as being siphoned off by all the people higher up the chain.

In fact this documentary kept mentioning how much of the federal budget is spent on education and how poor the schools’ infrastructure is, without once coming close to asking where the money has gone. Instead it went on about how all these problems would be magically solved by bringing in the private sector.

One of the things that still surprises and annoys me is how few people here see it as corruption when the big oga is sitting in a comfortable, air-conditioned office with satellite TV and fridges when the rest of the institution is falling apart. It’s one of the reasons I like working at NTI, we don’t have that sharp divide.

Travelling around Kaduna

Filed under: travel,VSO — kevin @ 08:36

On Saturday I finally got round to starting another one of my little projects: making a Kaduna bus map. Around 11am I set off from NTI to take each of the bus routes around the city and log the stops on my GPS.

I think quite a few of the drivers and conductors were fairly bemused by this baturi sitting in the front of the bus, scribbling notes in a little black book and occasionally pressing buttons on an odd blue device wedged under the windscreen.

Before I boarded the first bus I was hanging around at Kawo and saw a train approaching, with a single goods van behind the locomotive.
A scruffy-looking locomotive on a single-track line passing trees and dusty waste ground.

In the end I visited various parts of Kaduna I’d never been to before and gathered enough data to make the map. Now I just need to spend some time drawing it.

The last trip of the day was out to the end of Mando. I strolled back through the edge of town and had some suya for dinner. As I was walking along the road I saw this sign:
GTB bank advert: I aim for excellence; I am orange; I am Guaranty Trust Bank.

Just what everyone looks for in a bank: orangeness!

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