Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Observations of U.S. elections

Free and fair elections are central to a successful democracy as are a strong constitution, free press, rule of law, equal justice and respect for human rights.  Nigeria’s return to democratic rule was greatly celebrated and the past thirteen years has raised hopes that it has come to stay.  However, democracy is not without its challenges and even those as old as the United States are a work in progress.

During the U.S. Presidential elections in November some young Nigerians had the opportunity to observe how elections are conducted in the U.S.  It was an exciting time for the young Samson Itodo and Blossom Nnodim, who recently shared their observations of the U.S. elections at a roundtable in Abuja.  Some of their observations include the following:

Monday, February 18, 2013

4 Feats of Awesomeness by Obscure U.S. Presidents

President’s Day is a holiday that many Americans associate with used car dealers offering “CRAAAAAAZY DEALS!”  It was originally meant to honor the birthday of the founder of our nation, George Washington, and later it expanded to more generally honoring some of our most recognized presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, or James K. Polk.  What?  Not familiar with the populist presidential portents of Polk?  Sounds about right, so let’s turn our attention to some feats of awesomeness performed by some of America’s lesser known commanders in chief.

4)  William Henry Harrison (1841)
Terms:  1/45th
Win/Loss Record:  1-1
Party Affiliation:  Whig
Feat of Awesomeness:   Established Rules for Presidential Succession

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zero Tolerance

I had a shocking experience several years ago noticing a neighbor’s young daughter would constantly cry in the morning while her mother was bathing her.  Upon inquiry, the young girl’s senior sister casually told me in Hausa that “An yi mata kachiya ne” (she had a circumcision).  To say I was shocked by what I heard is an understatement.  I could not believe my ears.  I had heard about such practices but thought they had long been stopped.  When I asked my mother about it, she told me it is alive and still practiced in certain communities.  Further inquiries showed the principal reason given in most cultures for this practice is “to prevent the girl from becoming promiscuous” while others regard it as an important rite of passage.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Day of Service

The inauguration of President Barack Obama for his second term was extra special because it coincided with the day that is observed as public holiday to commemorate the birthday of famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.  His birthday is also a day of service.  On this day Americans engage in different acts of service in their community, a reflection of an important American value - that of volunteerism