Friday, 16 April 2010

For the Love of Nigeria

There are so many things going through my mind right now and I can't even find an appropriate title for this post. I don't intend it to be a long post but I'll see if that's possible.

So I saw 'Welcome to Lagos' last night. A 3 part series of life in Lagos, well life in the slums of Lagos. In the the program makers words, "We were heading for the ghettos and slums" and when they got there they said "the dump became symbolic of everything we were trying to achieve in the films". So this people had an agenda, to feed into the stereotype that Nigeria is a lawless country, with poverty stricken people, rife with corruption and social unrest and home to creators of email scams.

What did they find? Yes they saw the slums, perhaps much worse than they could ever imagine but it must have been shocking for them to find decent, honest people who prefer a life of grime to a life of crime. "People who are proud of the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work". (Quoting Will Anderson, one of the programe makers.)

I've had tons of emails from friends who are unhappy with the way Nigeria was once again portrayed in a negative light. In fact when I saw the program last night I thought this documentary will show a balanced view of Lagos only to find out that was not the intention of BBC. The normal me would have been effing and blinding alongside my disgruntled friends but for some reason I've been smiling contentedly.

In contrast to most people, the program didn't leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I chose instead to see the positive message in it. The voiceover was more positive, almost a celebration of the resilience of Nigerians who live in such squalor. It may seem patronising because the images showed something different to the words but I'm ever the optimist.

The shock though is that as someone who lived in Lagos I didn't realise people lived like that. Even the bigger shock is the fact that the Lagos State Government is aware that these people exist and is doing nothing about it. I think that program needs to be aired in Nigeria to shame our politicians . Also the international community should stop allowing Politicians into their country until they fix our country. But we all know this is impossible. There's far too much to be gained from a country of both abundant natural and human resources for any sane nation not to want to be its ally.

What's my point. We can all be angry with these British Broadcasters or we can do something positive about it. We can paint the picture of the Nigeria we want them to see. Let's be frank, the media in most part of the world sensationalise everything. You think a successful tale of a country like Nigeria will make good TV? Heck no! That country is far too blessed already for Broadcasters around the world to air positive things about it. Instead they will concentrate on the ironies.

We have to go out there in numbers and in unity and not only tell the Nigerian stories we want the world to hear but also play out the Nigerian story we want the world to tell about our country through positive and influencing actions. It can be done and it starts with little steps from those people who are in the lowest ebb of our society through to the top.


Wednesday, 7 April 2010


...It's essence is lost on me. I don't know the real reason for this and I'm not about to dish out blames on the commercialisation of the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ by Westerners but I just know the period doesn't mean what it used to mean to me. There was a time when Easter meant a recalling of my sins to mind, a conscious effort not to participate in the persecution of Jesus Christ by eating meat on Good Friday and a true repentance of my sins on Easter Sunday followed by a heart felt celebration of the risen Lord on Easter Monday. That used to be me. Being catholic, I would have fasted one way or the other during lent and went for benediction every single day. I hated it but I felt a need to do it because after spending an hedonistic year eating and doing whatever I liked, I felt this was a time for me to be sober and be more reflective of how my actions may have displeased God and my fellow human.

This Good Friday gone, I spent the better part of the day driving from South Wales to England enjoying the comfort of the rented car I was driving, I had no care in the world and I totally forgot that some thousand years ago, as a Christian, someone died for me in order that I may have life and live it abundantly. After the tiresome drive, to show how insignificant the day had become to me, I cooked that night and ate meat. The moment I finished my meal I then remembered, OMD I just ate meat! Too late! The sheepish smile from my Muslim boyfriend did little to console me.

Saturday went by uneventful and I swore I was going to attend church on Easter Sunday. It was the least I could. However yours truly didn't wake up until 11:25 the following morning when church service was already underway. The baffling thing was that I did not feel any guilt, neither did I feel like I was missing out on anything. Now this is a far cry from who I used to be. I used to take church and my prayers very seriously. So what happened to me? Is it the environment or the fact that I'm so disillusioned by church and its activities rather than be inspired by it? I have developed such an acute sense of listening to my Pastor's teaching and I find myself I picking out everything he says. These days I tend to sift through the words, jotting down the ones I agree with and silently chastising him for the ones I feel are more 'Sales man type speech'. I never used to be that way. Before, everything my Pastor said was the word of God and even if it didn't sound right I just make it right in my head.

Am I well and truly backslidden or is this some sort of the awareness that I should just go with?