Monday, March 14, 2016

Nigerian philately get national news coverage

Translated from SébPhilatélie, an article written Monday March 7th 2016.

Between 2002 and 2007 some French philatelists enjoyed themselves because the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, was a stamp collector... We end up with a sad Marianne in a poor frock of the time of crisis chosen without any popular consultation, states general of philately... generous with the guests... that end with a wallpaper stamp program whose "philatelic" part is forced to be bear a Greek letter...

Worse, Sarkozy became the historian of Africa during a speech in a university in Dakar, July 26th 2007 when he said, among reductive points of view of the continents and its peoples:
The African man has not enough entered in History.

While in Africa, banking and services through mobile phones are rising, shipping companies are modernising ports and harbours, countries like Rwanda went from genocidal putsh régime to a democracy opened to its neighbours and the Commonwealth...

And in Abuja, while not being a philatelist, a former President eventually helps the pastime.
The Chairman of the National Philatelic Promotion Council described one of the British issues of Nigeria who served overprinted in the Trust Territories of Cameroons ; he insisted on the multiple identities of this colonial stamp and of the history of both countries (NTA News, 3 March 2016).
In Abuja, Nigeria's federal capitale, a philatelic congress took place, reported the national news channel Nta on Thursday March 3rd. The main topic was how philately and postal services were assets to the economy of this emerging country despite many developing problems, internal politics and djihadist danger with Boko Haram.

Between conferences, initiation to stamp history (with a painting of Rowland Hill) and a stamp exhibition, former chief of state Olesegun Obasanjo came to support the passion of collectors, highlighted the importance of stamp to teach the history of the country and praise the work of the National Philatelic Promotion Council since its creation in 1992.
Chairman Ahmadu Ali (left) listening attentively President Obasanjo speaking about the role of stamps (NTA News, 3 March 2016).
And, with the improvised speach of the non amateur, Mr Obasanjo succeeded what one waits from a leader in a non partisan matter:
"Stamps tell story.
Every stamp has something unique about it.
It has story to tell.
And when you put them together, you get history.
And when you look at your collection of stamps,
you get history out of them."

And he finished holding the philatelist's shoulder: what better support could you hope from the former President of your country!
One of the stamps described by Ahmadu Ali: 1953 stamp of Nigeria overprinted 1960 for the British Cameroons during their months of self-determination (scan from
And the reporter immediately illustrated this poem by showing the Promotion Council Chairman, Ahmadu Ali - celebrating his 80th birthday. He explained the design of one of the U.K.T.T. overprinted colonial stamp of Nigeria, that served in the British Cameroons between the independence of the French Cameroon in 1960 and their union with the latter in 1961.

And he concluded on this complex history with the sparkling eyes who learnt and taught something from his collection.

By browsing a little bit Google, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) discretly but surely promotes and performs its services with efficiency, and constitues a national philatelic center, both by smartly managing a philatelic program and by encouraging a National Philatelic Promotion Council that served as a national federation at the International Federation of Philately in 2004.

Nigeria follows the advices of the Universal Postal Union and its World Association for the Development of Philately. In 2011, the Nigerian Philatelic Service (who's got its own websiteasked for a report on the policy to follow, the rule of a stamp program, etc.
The journalist explaining the postal reform by Rowland Hill and its revolutionary effect on the British economy (NTA News, 3 March 2016).
In all this document and the Abuja event, accent is discretly put on the economic value of the postage stamp in an emerging economy. By its use of course, especially with the development of packet mailing and shipping. But the value of its collection and study too.

It can be watch in the NTA report and in this February 2nd 2009 article of Nigeria Communication Week, probably inspired by the efforts of the Pomotion Council. And journalist Emeka Okafor wrote it well for this readership: there is an ancient philatelic trade in Nigeria, a national agency to print the new issues, therefore there is business to do for suppliers.

And for the emerging upper and middle classes, a patrimony to create through pleasure of collecting, studying and exhibiting. New technologies are not the only way of enjoying a social status.

That's what the journalist explained in front of the portrait of Rowland Hill when he told the economic impact of the 1840 postal reform in Britain: contrary to what we felt sometimes in Western countries, the post and the stamp haven't say their last words in emerging countries.

Back to France: After Joëlle Amalfitano, deputy director of the French philatelic service in October , Gauthier Toulemonde, editor-in-chief of one of the two main monthly, in January and February, when will the former president-useless-philatelist of the Republic go to national media to promote philately and stamp collecting?

That would compensate a little bit the disastrous consequences of the states general of philately, and if he met Ahmadu Ali, perhaps he could apologize for the Dakar speech.

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