Wednesday 29 September 2010

Nigeria: Reviewing the Nigeria @ 50 website

The Nigeria @ 50 website is live

Having made such an issue of the absence of a website celebrating Nigeria’s 50th Independence anniversary, the website finally made an appearance yesterday, only 3 days to the celebrations itself.

When I wrote in July about the unpreparedness of the government for celebrations we all knew for years would be in October 2010, I noted that Ghana had revealed their own Ghana @ 50 website a good 5 months before the event.

Though the logo for the occasion had been unveiled since the 9th of June 2010, it was the most elusive brand as if it was kept under wraps only to be seen by freemasonry and starved of the oxygen of publicity despite the fact that we have had a rebranding Nigeria exercise going for over a year.

No excuses would suffice

Some might blame the tardiness and unpreparedness on the seeming interregnum that typified the sickness of the erstwhile President Yar’Adua as he vegetated in Saudi Arabia from November 2009 and haunted the corridors of power from February 2010 until he passed on to the great beyond in May 2010.

It did not stop the incessant politicking in the corridors of power so by inference someone should still have been manning the project regardless of whether the President was present or absent – it was business as usual and to state otherwise would be a lame excuse.

Wanting and unfinished

In any case, the Nigeria @ 50 website has come online and whilst it might be aesthetically pleasing to the eye on the rudiments of adhering to the green and white colours of the flag and other symbols of the country the content was wanting in the essential qualities of worldwide web publishing.

Errors borne from the lack of proofreading, poor checking of facts, suspect references and outright lack of finesse simply made to reinforce the idea that Nigerians are no good at exactness, correctness, rigour and meticulousness – it is a shame that what was worth doing well was done so badly.

Websites are sandboxes?

As to what was paid to create the website, I would suppose someone forgot to separate the cost of hosting from the need for talent, artistry and professionalism in creating a possible global reference for Nigeria in its hour and time of revelation in celebrating its Golden Jubilee of independence.

There seems to be a dismissive view to creating a web presence forgetting the fact that a website presence is probably now the first impression you can give of who you are, what you do, how you project whilst giving the visitor to your website an opinion of whether they can do business with you in the broadest terms.

The fact that some people can comment saying their 10-year old nephews or nieces can do better is as much a damning statement as a disgrace to those who awarded that contract without appreciating what it entails and those who commissioned the Go-live of that site without scrutiny of its contents.

My views in Tweets

To say I am disappointed does not begin to express my views, but throughout yesterday night as I reviewed the website I think the Tweets I posted give a general idea of how exasperated I became.

On finding the logo and then realising I had seen it before but never cottoned on the fact that it was the official logo.

forakin Akin Akintayo

Thanks to @fowora The #nigeria50 logo has been found with pictures of old leaders to boot. Thanks!

The first thing that jumped out at me as I read the brief history of Nigeria.

forakin Akin Akintayo I am sorry to say, Emeka Ojukwu was a Colonel when Biafra seceded, it is within Biafra that he became General.

The House of Fun where the legislators earn perks that make the eyes water – no job in the world offers such benefits as being a Nigerian legislator, but as a tourist attraction or the Nigerian English version called “Toursim”? I am speechless.

forakin Akin Akintayo The Nigerian National Assembly is apparently a tourist attraction but pray what is Toursim?

An aside as to how every little hamlet became a state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which in my view offers many pools but few talents to select from those pools.

forakin Akin Akintayo

Wikipedia States of #Nigeria A nice graphic of how every hamlet became a state.

This shook me a bit because all the references came from Wikipedia; it begs the question whether Nigeria has a national archive of authoritative facts of history beyond the crowd-sourced data on Wikipedia. If we do have archives, they should be online and must be the first points of reference by our government.

forakin Akin Akintayo

Going through the brief history of Nigeria All references are from Wikipedia, don't we have a national archive of events?

The fact that Nigerians live in a patriarchal society without the due recognition of women is exemplified in our having only founding fathers and God knows women were just as involved in the independence process.

forakin Akin Akintayo

Nigeria @ 50 website Surely there were women in the struggle for our independence not just Founding Fathers.

To prove that point Sokari Ekine had written a blog on women and the nation for the Nigeria @ 50 celebrations.

forakin Akin Akintayo

@Blacklooks wrote a Nigeria @ 50 piece on Women and the Nation Shame on the male chauvinists forgetting the worthy women.

It gets to a point that only sarcasm can help you through viewing this stuff, especially, if you have no hairs to pull out. A lack of consistency in the product, I wonder why we lack of sense of precision and uniformity in many things.

forakin Akin Akintayo

Founding Fathers of Nigeria page leaves Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa without beginning or end, a Melchizedek of sorts.

A critical point in the discussions of Nigerian independence, the meetings were held at Lancaster House, but rather than check and verify the facts, someone put in Lancester twice as captions of photographs. It is unbelievable.

forakin Akin Akintayo

I think I have had it with the errors on this Nigeria @ 50 website - The London Conference was at Lancaster House.

Whilst indeed Lord Lugard was in West Africa in the late 19th Century, the key point of the historical event being portrayed which was the naming of Nigeria by his beau Miss Fiona Shaw was done in the early 20th Century – getting this wrong is just beyond the pale.

forakin Akin Akintayo

Nigeria @ 50 Fact Sheet says Baron Lugard was Colonial Administrator in late 19th Century, no it was early 20th Century.

How much?

Which brought the last question and an answer in response to my Tweet.

forakin Akin Akintayo

How much did we pay for this Nigeria @ 50 website?

From @fowora Too much.

At the same time, after seeing the first two errors I visited the “Contact Us” page and left a message which I published on Facebook.

As so after going through a few pages and I would the rest of the Nigeria @ 50 website I found the "Contact Us" page and decided I'll send a short message.

Hello,Whilst this website is good in general the attention to detail is wanting.
1. Emeka Ojokwu was a Colonel when Biafra seceded.
2. Each Tourism page has the title Toursim.
I believe you should take time to review and proofread the content - this is a showcase of Nigeria, for once let us show that we can be meticulous to a fault, if necessary.

I wonder if I am asking for too much, it would appear this website suddenly came alive just 3 days to the 50th Anniversary, I wonder what else is there to nit-pick at.

To crown it all, the Welcome to Nigeria page is Coming Soon, it is like being welcomed as a guest at the end of your stay, which is at variance to the supposed culture of Nigerians as the page states, “The most common greeting is a handshake with a warm, welcoming smile.” I suppose we have not found the website equivalent of Nigerian welcome yet.

‘Nuff said.


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