LAGOS - First there were chaotic elections in Florida. Now there are rolling power blackouts in California.
After years of suffering the world's finger-pointing, Nigerians woke up Thursday wondering why Africa's most chaotic country is being pressed by Washington to follow the US model.
In a country where elections have been rare and where, when they have taken place, rules have been disregarded with abandon, reports of last year's electoral shenanighans in Florida were followed with glee.
In an editorial about what it called a "tainted American presidency" the newspaper The Comet last month gave a Nigerian perspective on events in a country used to commenting on the world.
"It is obvious to people in this part of the world that something was wrong with the conduct of the election in Florida where Jeb Bush, the president-elect's brother, is the governor," The Comet said.
Missing ballot boxes, uncounted votes, shady officials in charge of events and all this in a state run by the candidate's brother is something most Nigerians would be familiar with, the paper suggested.
"America no longer occupies the moral high ground in the democratic world... The man with fewer votes will become president in the most powerful democratic country in the world. The partisanship of the United States' Supreme Court was just too obvious," it said.
Nigerian Nobel literature laureat and wit Wole Soyinka wrote a column suggesting that Nigeria should do what it could to assist their bewildered American friends.
"Many nations are grateful to the United States for establishing democracy. It is now the turn of other nations to come to the resuce of the Americans," he said.
Tongue firmly in cheek, he suggested a Nigerian-led international observer mission to monitor the electoral goings-on.
The latest episode in the Nigerianisation of the United States, radio listeners learned Thursday, was the declaration of a power emergency in California where a bungled deregulation has led to power shortages and from Wednesday rolling, mandatory blackouts.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with a population of more than 120 million, has suffered power shortages for years.
The service provided by the state-run National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) is so bad it is known as Never Expect Power Always or Never Expect Power Again.
In the past 12 months, the unreliable NEPA system, which is connected up to only around 40 percent of homes in the country, has collapsed totally nationwide on four occasions.
The government of President Olusegun Obasanjo is struggling to raise output from around 2,000 to 4,000 megawatts this year but so far, its efforts have been pretty unsuccessful and power outages remain a daily occurence.
"Hey!" said a presenter on the Lagos radio station Rhythm FM, Thursday morning, after detailing the problems affecting the Californians.
"The Americans are getting just like us. Maybe we should offer them some lessons on what to do when NEPA takes light," he said.
"Offer them a course in fitting a line, storing everything on backup on your computer, using rechargeable batteries."
"There is no-one on earth so prepared for power outages as us Nigerians," he joked. "If there is one thing we can teach, it is this."
A caller to the programme noted the irony that the US government itself is currently engaged in advising Nigeria on its electricity policy, urging deregulation and a breakup of NEPA.
"Let's hope we don't follow the Californian model," he said.
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