Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, January 05, 2009

State capacity: What is common in one place is rare in others

Ask your students to project from this example to other functions that government might try to carry out and predict what the government of Nigeria is capable of.

From Punch

Nigeria’s official website shutdown

"The Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili [left], has lamented the shutting down of the nation’s official website – www.nigeria.gov.ng – as a result of the inability of government officials to maintain the national flagship.

"Akunyili, who spoke at the first meeting she had with heads of parastatals under the ministry in Abuja late on Tuesday, also gave all agencies in the ministry a deadline of March 2009 to establish their own websites...

"[Akunyili] said, 'Today, we live in an information age where access to information should be made readily available, and yet information about Nigeria from Nigeria is not easily accessible...

"'It is also very discomforting that our flagship corporation, Nigerian Television Authority, does not have a website. It is unfortunate that the official government website www.nigeria.gov.ng, which was launched in 2005, and recoded 1.3 million visits in its first year, making it one of the most viable national websites in the world, has been shut down for many months...

"'Every parastatal must have an active and vibrant website up and running before the end of March 2009, and I am ready to support you to make sure that this happens. On our part, before the end of March 2009, this ministry will create a vibrant website that will enable people around the world to find everything they need to know about Nigeria in a click...'"

Thanks to the Nigerian who blogs at Grandiose Parlor for pointing out this story to me and noting that the defunct official web site "was a multimillion dollar project, as we were told in 2005..."

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