Sunday, 17 August 2014


Hello dear friends and readers,

I decided to take my occasional break from all the hullabaloo of stress going on in Nigeria and my personal life to write about something less stressful, but something we should think about nonetheless. I'm sure you have realized that it when you leave home that you miss it most, no matter how stressful you thought it was when you were last there. In my belief, I think life should be juicy, but sadly, it isn't. The last revision course I attended made me pause a bit and think; Here is what happened. I travelled with my colleague so we decided to share a room at the hotel. All was well until we decided to charge our phones. It was then we realized that we each had at least 3 electronic devices to charge. What caused the problem however, was the fact that they had only two sockets in the room, and one of them was for the television and they didn't provide us with an extension box. So we had to choose between the TV and our phones and we had to wake up repeatedly at night to change the devices. LOL. It was not funny at the time. 

In Nigeria today, finding a person with 2 or more phones, 1 tablet and/or 1 computer is considered normal. What has caused this problem, I ask? Most people would probably find it easier to ignore this issue than face up to it and call it the problem that it is, myself inclusive. Calling the proverbial spade a spade or as they say hitting the nail on the head. Until, the issue of needing an extension wire to charge my numerous devices, I've look upon this matter as solely the problem of the telecommunications sector (I agree, they have at least 80-90% of the blame to take). Allow me to further buttress my point.

What has caused this problem?
Before the advent of cell phones in Nigeria, we survived but like they say, "you can't miss what you never had". Cell phones were introduced, the telecommunications sector privatized, (I don't know which came first) and boom! it was money making time. I can almost stake my neck and say its was an economic boom worldwide, but I won't as  I have no concrete evidence. (If you do, please share). The reason for my postulation is simple. Anything that Nigerians particularly, the Igbos discover, had to be had but also in abundance. They have to do business afterall. I'm not been derogatory here, just stating the truth. I'm also Igbo and I love business.

Now, let's analyze this. The private telecommunication companies come into the country, and set their tariffs, You need a phone for their SIM cards, the business men enter China to get the supplies. More companies come in to compete and reduce the tariffs, (who remembers when globacom came into the picture and changed tariff rates from "per minute" charge to "per second" charge? That is also one of the problems. It made life easier to deal with, but now, a bit cumbersome. Another example, do you remember buying SIM cards for as much as N20,000? or those NOKIA 3310 for about N30,000. Now, what about searching for "network?" You receive a call and you can't hear properly and you start raising up the phone to look for the network. LOL. This still happens till today and it is the primary cause having too many devices. Now consider a man is on a call with business partners and the "network" disappears? The businessmen solved their problem by buying multiple phones. If this "network" goes off, the other will continue. The second major problem for use of multiple devices was reduction in  the prices of both the phones, sim cards, call and sms rates. Again, do you remember sending text messages for N15 or making calls per minute at N50? Abi, is it placing your thumb on the "off button" of the handset to make sure you end the call at exactly 59 secs so it doesn't enter the second minute (1:01), LOL. Well, that problem was solved by competition among the companies and phone retailers , but that made for easy access to the service (great thing!) and possession
of many phones because the tariffs are cheaper intra-network than extra. (can't remember the proper terms right now, something like on and off-net? please bear with me. I"m medical not engineer).

How did we attempt to solve the problem of owning many phones?
When almost everyone owned at least 2 to 3 cell phones within a very short period of its inception in Nigeria, the problem was dubbed GSM MADNESS and then nollywood made a movie out of it. Like they do everything else, e.g. Facebook babes, very soon, they will make ebola movie. (Nollywood make una no too vex with me, some movie they try but some?, mehn!!! LOL). China, came to the rescue with double sim phones before I saw it on any of the big names like Nokia, Samsung or Sony Ericsson. also, there were some improvement with the "network finding" problem associated with the telecoms companies.

Finally! there seemed to be a solution to the whole gsm madness, even with the advent of phones with polyphonic and mp3 ringtones and camera, until some other phone manufacturing companies decided to turn fruits into phones and we got BLACKBERRY and APPLE (iPhone). Many showed up and made mini laptops and tabs. We entered the smartphone era. With these came access to the internet from the convenience of your toilet. No more going to check mails at the cyber cafe, where you have to buy time and people had to do night browsing for project work and co. Internet and smartfones brought their own problems. You have to buy modem, more sim cards because most of these devices require mini-sim and the only way to retain your number was to cut your sim. Most people don't like that, me neither. and I can't just discard it (old sim - most people already have that number). So, we buy another sim. We don't like the internet tariffs, we keep and buy another one we heard is cheaper. And so the vicious cycle continues.

What is the way forward now?
Honestly, I don't know (according to the singer Omawumi, "if you ask me, na who I go ask"?). This however, is what I know for sure. The rule of moderation never killed anybody. I believe the western world found a solution to the problem (that is, if they ever went through this stage). These devices have been postulated to be linked to cancer, and with cancer, prevention is definitely better than cure. I understand the problem, I have it too, which is why I'll try to listen to my own advice. Wish me luck. If you have ideas on how to solve the problem, do share with the rest of us.


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