Monday, February 6, 2012

This is how we do things here


We have now lived in Nigeria for six months. This is how we do things here ... this weekend.

I'm flying to Addis for a conference in a couple weeks. There are two airlines that service Yola to the capitol, each of them flying at a random time in the "morning" and "afternoon". My flight from Abuja to Addis leaves in the early afternoon, so I need the flight that really is in the morning. I dropped by the airport to buy my ticket (which you can't do online) in cash (another necessity for the time being).

There I was informed that they are no longer doing morning flights. This has been the case for ... 3-4 days now. They'll probably start up again, another source informed me, sometime this week. So I asked them, if I come back next week and you do morning flights then, can I get a ticket then? Yes. Okay. So I'll go get my ticket next week. If they still aren't, I'll have to fly out the night before and overnight in Abuja.


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Princess is sick - low grade fever, runny nose, sleepless, that sort of thing. We got into the habit in the US of not going to the doctor for about a week because doctors won't do anything for you unless you have been sick that long. Today I was reminded that I'm not in the US anymore. Go to a doctor. He'll give you a prescription today. Wow.

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The governorship elections happened Saturday, the Prophet Muhammed's birthday. The mostly-incumbent governor Nyako won, to no one's great surprise. (Ah, the joys of one party rule.) But the story is much more fun than that. He was originally elected in 2007, but the courts declared that election invalid. So he ran again in 2008 and won that one. He then started his term as governor. He ran for re-election in 2011 ... or wanted to. The election was postponed and postponed, and then a few weeks later it was held today.

Then at the beginning of 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that he and four other governors had started their terms in 2007, and so by 2011 their terms were over. They were deposed. One of them at least disappeared right after. Nyako's secretary (I am told) is in charge.

So Nyako has won, but he can't assume the governorship for another three months, during which time his secretary is still in charge. For a glimpse of how one party rule works, I should mention that his secretary used to be in another party. But he made such a good impression among enough powerful people that he was brought into the PDP fold. And for 4 months he gets to play governor. How fun!

Interestingly enough, the previous governor served his two term maximum of eight years. When the 2007 election was invalidated, he got to stay on as governor through the 2008 election. The courts apparently felt that because he couldn't run again, they could let him stay on another few months.

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Today is a holiday as we continue to celebrate the Prophet Muhammed's birthday. My neighbor is in charge of the AUN freshman seminar and had written into her calendar that today would be a holiday. As of Thursday 5pm, however, the school did not know whether a national holiday would be called. Thursday night, the federal government declared the holiday and the news was passed on to us. I had no idea, once upon a time, how disruptive an unexpected day off is. I'm glad my neighbor called it so I could anticipate this one and plan on getting research done.