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Minister Onwuliri’s “Town Hall Meeting: a reader’s reaction & explanations on the short essay

January 23, 2012

Arts & Culture

ADE

Submitted on 2012/01/20 at 7:21 pm

It is disgraceful that you would prefer a location not owned by a Nigerian to discuss Nigerian matters where there is a Nigerian owned location that our people can relate to.

January 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm e

Dear Mr./Ms. Ade, Thanks for your comments.

It is rather unfortunate that things will never really change in Nigeria because we continue to see everything through the prism of Us vs. Them. Actually, every word used in the reference made to the Agama Restaurant was quite generous and charitable because I’ve been to the restaurant and do know that it should not be a Ministerial choice for quite a few reasons but I will list only two: it cannot seat more than a couple dozen diners comfortably and if the minister was serious about holding a “Town Hall Meeting”, one would expect her to look forward to where, perhaps, a minimum of hundred Nigerians could sit in an area that is home to [perhaps] over a hundred thousand Nigerians as I mentioned in the essay.

Those two reasons alone nullify the choice of the restaurant. Ownership of an establishment – much as it’s a great idea patronizing “our own” – cannot be used to justify selection of a place, especially for a miniterial briefing. That kind of meet-the-people briefing that Ms. Onwuliri had was, I suppose, meant to tell the government’s side of the sorry story of oil subsidy removal protests. Shouldn’t there be some news outlets present from the metro area?
As for a place “that our people can relate to”, I think the professor cannot tell Nigerians that considering the fact that the cost – I’m a skeptic in things of this nature – would not likely be less than if the event had been publicized at the scores of Nigerian churches, local papers like Prince George’s Gazette, Montgomery Gazette and even the Washington Post, etcetera and attracted a more dignified environment.

Mark you, I’ve been to the restaurant as mentioned above but it was most inappropriate for a Nigerian affair at that level.

TOLA ADENLE, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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6 Comments on “Minister Onwuliri’s “Town Hall Meeting: a reader’s reaction & explanations on the short essay”

  1. Oluseyi Adebola Says:

    I think, I want to disagree with you all here. First and foremost, I am aware that the major logistics that went into the Town Hall meeting in the Maryland Restaurant were done by Nigerians here in the US, NOT by the Nigerian government as many have said. Secondly, the Minister just had to show up to these meetings and those of us who attended the meetings in our locations were glad that we did, as it presented us with the RARE opportunity to say what we wanted to say as we wanted to say it, REAL LIFE, AS AGAINST WINING ON BLOGS. Also, the government’s decision to meet Nigerians in the Diaspora on their own turf, in order to make Nigerians more comfortable and open about engaging with their government ( the reason we are even having this discussion in the first place) should be applauded.

    Important to note that other governments in the past, have not taken time or pains to engage anyone except OBJ who started the trend in a different manner. I think we should only advise on how these meetings can be improved on and not to dismiss them as unnecessary or plainly wasteful ( that’s not true or progressive). Personally, it was the first time, I could engage any Nigerian government official in such intellectual scale and manner. Additionally, you guys need to understand that there is no way to reach out to every Nigerian, or every blogger or every ounce of green-white-green in the diaspora. Also, the Nigerian Officials who come to have meetings in the US cannot in most cases differentiate locations ( OBSCURE OR REGULAR OR LUXURIOUS) based on the names or addresses on paper. They depend on the Diaspora to do that.

    What’s my point? To insinuate that the meeting was organized in the outskirts of Boston OR in a FUNNY RESTAURANT IN MARYLAND for the purposes of deception is unfortunate. It is only possible to achieve that, if you have an understanding of the terrain of Massachusetts/Maryland which the Minister as a Nigerian in Nigeria would not be aware of. I think everyone has their opinion but truth be told that engaging the diaspora in Boston for the first time is a good idea that can be improved upon considering that the alternative is to have these meetings at the Embassy in DC, which would make it impossible for Me or most Nigerians to participate in.

    Lastly, if you say you are patriotic, then attend the meetings and stop giving excuses. Engage your government at every given opportunity and STOP WINING, CRITICIZING DESTRUCTIVELY OR complaining aimlessly from abroad, considering that you would turn down the only opportunity you had to engage your government in the diaspora. NIGERIANS CAN BE SAD, UNPATRIOTIC AND Particularly ANNOYING. We cannot build a Nation by populating the internet with disgusting comments that bother on treason in certain countries like China. Thanks

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Ms./Mr. Oluseyi Adebola, Thanks for your comments. You sound like a government officials with threat of readers’ “comments that bother [sic] on treason in certain countries like China”, and as China is the ideal that many in government aspire to for Nigerian masses.

      As for “wining” [sic] and unpatriotic bloggers that are annoying to you, I say, welcome to the true ideal of democracy. As for attending meetings, I, like hundreds of thousands in Washington, Boston, Atlanta, New York metropolitan areas could not attend because Ms. Onwuliri seemed to have preferred a hush-hush word-of-mouth to preferred few event.

      My own point, to borrow your thought process? You’ve not done a proxy’s duty well, try hard as you might have. Ms. Onwuliri should write a report to answer all of the uninformed whining bloggers whose comments actually border on patriotism.

      It is strange, though interesting, that ALL four “commentators” who have spoken for Ms. Onwuliri are Yoruba – by the way, two were cleaned off as this is not a blog for vitriolic ethnocentricity. It’s a welcome change – if real.

      Your comments go up as a post as most do not read these comments and I think the messenger deserves to be heard. Regards, TOLA.

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  2. Oluseyi Adebola Says:

    I think, I want to disagree with you all here. First and foremost, I am aware that the major logistics that went into the Town Hall meeting in the Maryland Restaurant was done by Nigerians here in the US, NOT by the Nigerian government as many have said. Secondly, the Minister just had to show up on some of these meetings and those of us who attended the meetings in our locations were glad that we did and it presented an opportunity for us to say what we wanted to say REAL LIFE AS AGAINST WINING ON BLOGS. Also, the government’s decision to meet Nigerians on their own turf, in order o make Nigerians more comfortable and open about engaging with their government ( the reason we are even having this discussion in the first place) should be applauded. Important to note that other governments in the past, have not taken time or pains to engage anyone. I think we should only advise on how these meetings can be improved on and not to dismiss them as unnecessary or plainly wasteful ( that’s not progressive). Personally, it was the first time, I could engage any Nigerian government official in such intellectual scale and manner. Additionally, you guys need to understand that there is no way to reach out to every Nigerian, or every blogger or every ounce of green-white-green in the diaspora. Also, the Nigerian Officials who come to have meetings in the US cannot in most cases differentiate locations based on the names or addresses on paper. They depend on the Diaspora to do that. What’s my point? To insinuate that the meeting was organized in the outskirts of Boston for deception is unfortunate. It is only possible to achieve that, if you have an understanding of the terrain of Massachusetts which the Minister as a Nigerian in Nigeria would not be aware of. I think everyone has their opinion but truth be told that engaging the diaspora in Boston for the first time is a good idea that can be improved upon considering that the alternative is to have these meetings at the Embassy in DC, which would make it impossible for Nigerians to participate in. Lastly, if you say you are patriotic, then attend the meetings and stop giving excuses. Engage your government at every given opportunity and stop wining and complaining aimlessly from abroad and yet you turn down the only opportunity you have to engage your government in the diaspora. NIGERIANS CAN BE SAD. Thanks

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  3. Adeyemi Adetoye Says:

    The ministerial team was here in Quincy, Massachusetts on Friday 20th, not Saturday 19th, written in my earlier post, posted in error.

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  4. Adeyemi Adetoye Says:

    Perhaps they selected the OBSCURE location to avert the disgrace of emptiness of space considering the apathy of worthy Nigerians to their consistent deceptions. The team was in Boston last Friday, 20th in a better hotel facility in Quincy-(outskirt of Boston). Despite that Massachusetts parades large numbers of Nigerians and despite that Okonjo Iweala obtained her higher degrees in Boston, I’m told that ridiculously, few Nigerians attended the event. Perhaps also that they wanted it so because there was no information at all about the coming of the team to Boston.The whole charade was shrouded in a scandalous quietness. I got wind of the team’s coming from a privileged source just on Thurs. night. I could still have been among the few attendees just to confront the minister face to face on many pivotal issues. But my schedules at workplace cannot be changed abruptly. They wanted it so.
    I want to believe that the gallivanting around to meet with Nigerians in diaspora was another ploy to siphon money. Callously, GEJ continues to fall for the deceit or perhaps he’s part of the grand plan to move, as a close friend said, hard currency out of Naija! Therefore, hosting the event in notable event centers might attract activists from Occupy Nigeria to their disadvantages. Whereas, perhaps in response to concerns from Nigerians like Tola, when a bigger hotel is chosen, publicity was intentionally reduced to near zero. So, PERHAPS, they were(are)-(a) well orchestrated trip(s)!

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