Wednesday 25 January 2012

Nigeria: #OccupyNigeria Holland - Q & A

I attended the #OccupyNigeria Holland peaceful protest (pictures) in front of the Nigerian Embassy in The Hague yesterday and I was asked a number of questions which I believe I should flesh out in a separate blog.
I cannot offer total recall of those questions but here is an idea of what I was asked and the responses I gave to those questions.
Q: Why are you here?
I am here as a Nigerian to join with other Nigerians all around the globe to protest about issues going on at home with regards to corruption, governance, waste and non-representative democracy. Being in the Netherlands, I felt it was the least I could do to show my support beyond my online activism.
Q: Do you not think that corruption pertains to all citizens in Nigeria?
Indeed, it does but leadership matters in all these things. Leaders are needed to give a direction, inspire the people, create a vision and set example. Without essential leadership in the fight against corruption, the people will become like an army without a general or strategy, they’ll be scattered and listless, meaning nothing can be achieved.
Q: Do you think Southerners being attacked in the North should leave the North?
My early years were spent in the North, even though I am a Yorubaman, I do speak Hausa, they are my people too in the North, I cannot ask them to leave their homes because of the problems.
[Pressing me further on this point.]
To me, there is no Northern Nigerian or Southern Nigerian, we are all Nigerians and we are all affected.
Q: What do you think about the outsourcing of the Visa services?
[Now, I have never used the Visa services of this Embassy]
I have no problems with the outsourcing of the Visa services if it makes the system more efficient. For instance, a few months ago I used the outsourced Visa services for India and the process was completed within 5 days.
Q: What do you think of the turnout?
Other Nigerians might be busy but that the point being made here is that anywhere in the world where Nigerians exist they will come out on the issues that concern their country. For those who could not make it, I will hope that they are able to help and contribute to essential change our country needs in any small way they can.
Q: What is your view of the embassy to this protest?
I am disappointed that they did not engage, apart from the man who came out to receive our letter, they all cowardly hid behind the curtains looking at us like aliens despite the fact that we clearly said we had nothing against them and that we are all Nigerians.
[When asked about the ambassador.]
I have not been impressed with her, when she first arrived in the country, the first speech she gave implied that Nigerians in the Netherlands were not law-abiding and I blogged about it.
Besides, all Nigerians abroad are unwilling (I meant unwitting) ambassadors of the country to all our communities but much more is expected of our official ambassador to be more positively representative of us in this country. I cannot say I have seen much in that regard.
Other comments
Conversing with a fellow Nigerian in Belgium who was involved in #OccupyNigeria Belgium, she said all the embassy staff came out, addressed them, put up pictures of the ambassador and almost took all the credit. Sadly, that cannot be said of the embassy staff in the Netherlands.
The only ones who came out were smokers who needed a cigarette or two. In fact, I noticed that the mailman who had a pile of envelopes – possibly visas and passports was told from the window of the embassy to return at another time.
Nigeria: #OccupyNigeria Holland and the chickens in the embassy

YouTube videos from 9JA.TV of some the interviews conducted yesterday.

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