29 July, 2008


I had the good fortune of living in Cote D'Ivoire for almost 7 years. It is a beautiful country with wonderful people, incredible music, great food and excellent beaches. I must confess that despite the recent insecurity and fighting that nation has experienced, Cote D'Ivoire and specifically, the city of Abidjan, will always have a special place in my heart.

Well, Cote D'Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast as non-French speakers call it, has done something that Nigeria's government should pay attention to. There was a
riot in April when the government increased the price of diesel. In response, the Ivorian government has just announced that it will slash the salaries of Ministers by half to subsidize the lower cost of diesel for the masses.
This action is unparalleled in West Africa as far as I am aware. In fact, I have never heard of such happening anywhere. And, even though it could simply be a means to get votes for the upcoming November elections, the mere fact that the Ivorian government listened to the people and took a decisive step to make appease citizens is commendable. I do no know how far this decision will go to keep diesel prices at a manageable price for Ivorians, but the fact that Ministers will experience a pay cut shows that that nation's leaders are willing to bear the burdens of tough global economic times right alongside the common man. This is enough to give the people confidence in their government and hope that future disagreements will be solved by compromise.

Now, if only there was such unparalleled action in Nigeria on a whole host of issues....


Nigerian Army General becomes UN peacekeeping adviser

New York, UN - Nigeria's Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor, the newly-appointed peacekeeping adviser to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon assumed duty at the UN headquarters here, PANA reported Sunday.He is the first military adviser at the world body and will hold the position of Assistant Secretary-General."Obiakor, 57, will advise on military affairs for the 110,000-strong UN peacekee ping force following a 35-year career in the Nigerian armed forces, where he earned the rank of three-star general,''a UN statement said at the weekend.It stated that he served as the top commander for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the artillery brigade for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Monitoring Group, where he coordinated border patrols in the region.The statement quoted General Obiakor as saying that his command strategy included prompt action and strict discipline in mitigating conflicts."I believe in the deterrence value, because if you don't deal with the matter, the tendency is that somebody else will attempt it," it quoted Obiakor as saying.The Nigerian general had also presided over the deployment of the first UN all-f emale police force in Liberia while serving at UNMIL.Obiakor began his career with the Nigerian Army in 1973, rising up the ranks to become a three-star general in December 2005.The uniformed personnel that serve in UN peacekeeping operations hail from 119 different countries, an all-time record.Nigeria is the fourth largest contributor of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations around the world. New York - 28/07/2008