Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Nigeria Of My Dreams...

After we left baggage reclaim and made our way out of the airport, I couldn’t but notice that quite a number of people arriving the country weren’t citizens and this got me thinking about that time when Nigeria wasn’t on the top list of tourist attractions in the world. How did we get here? Over four decades ago, most of us were leaving the country for “greener pasture”. I then started to recall, as much as I could, the steps the government took decades ago towards proper management of resources, which took off our reliance on revenue from crude oil and made us create wealth via exploits in the agricultural and mineral sector. Soon, we saw transformation in the transport sector with the introduction of efficient railways that freed the roads from the damage heavy trucks were inflicting. The dedicated truck routes and mobile cold rooms allowed faster road travel and proficient conveying of perishable goods like tomatoes which accounted for great profit via export trades. The release of erstwhile government owned lands for commercialized farming and several other large scale businesses by the private sector, enlightening of farmers on the use technological equipment and breakthroughs in agrarian research yielded more profit than was anticipated.

On leaving the airport, I saw a policeman standing, fully equipped with the works like we used to know in the movies. His appearance wasn’t quite as impressive as the presence he commanded which was once the reserve of military personnel during crisis periods that I now only have a very blur memory of. Security and the value for life had become ingrained into the economy so much it was no wonder we had such an influx of foreign investors.

Just before alighting, I opened my wallet and saw my online voter’s card which brought back to my memory in a rush of reminiscence, the fact that this same country, had gotten our online voting system with real time results displayed on the internet, adopted by the very nations that had called us names in the past. Perhaps it was all these things that made my entry into other countries more and more welcoming every time. The centennial independence celebration would be coming up in a few years and unlike our first fifty years, we now had more than enough reasons to celebrate.

I opened the door to alight the cab, my phone rang, and I woke up in an almost drowning pool of my own sweat because NEPA aka Power [with] Holding Company of Nigeria had done what they seemingly do best. If you’ve travelled across time zones before and have been really jet-lagged, then you’ll understand the way I felt because before the journey in my dream, I could remember how much I struggled to explain to my eldest sister’s granddaughter, what the words “generator” and “pothole” meant. In addition to going online, some pictures I had taken during my early years as a freelance journalist were of great help. Groping around for my phone whose alarm had woken me up, the thought of getting a digital camera didn’t leave my mind. Who knows, a picture of an “Okada” or “threesome bumps” might come in handy someday.



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