I am sitting in an internet cafe (homepage set at google.com.ng) trying to expatiate aspects of sights and sounds of Abuja and feed them into the mundane activities one gets down to--like having spaghetti.
So, it is true that, like in Ghana, I had to grow a gray beard before my food arrived from the 24hr restaurant here at 3-star Nugget Hotel, but when it arrived, it was the bomb: spaghetti, white sauce, vegetables, and boiled fish (that was very reminiscent of mackerel) lying in some sumptious sauce. Could not be more sated!
Sated, however, is not what I was this afternoon after experiencing--not having--lunch at the so-called luxury Hotel Nicon Luxury. Lunch was a buffet, with the most bland rice and jollof I have ever had. Well not quite "the most", but close enough! Worst of all, there was no fish--and one of the desserts had gone rancid!
The cake for dessert was as dry as a harmattan leaf! What to do? Don't ever confuse the semantics of "luxury" with the real McCoy...
Still, it cannot always be excellent, so cannot really complain as I am still enjoying Abuja.
As a Facebooker Olalade rightly said earlier today:
all of Nigeria is not as prosperous as Abuja and that's why it angers the boys in the Delta that their money has built such a grandiose project as Abuja but they don't have a corresponding city like that in the land where the money comes from
I don't want to get into politics right now, but the post had tremendous resonance with the developments aorund Nigerian politics, especially with the passing of the late Yar'Adua. Whether the former President was an effete individual who spent most of his time ill or not, the guy will go down in history as being instrumental in bringing a degree of closure to the Niger Delta crisis. This is how the Nigerian Compass puts it:
...when you now relate that to President Yar’Adua you would then discover that Nigerians would miss him. He was a fine gentleman and it is even on record that he was the most educated President that Nigeria has ever had. His simplicity, his approach to issues and his life style stood him out from all other leaders that Nigeria has ever had. He saw himself as an ordinary person who found himself in the presidency.
So he never saw anything extraordinary in his position as the president of the country. He had come, he had seen and to some extent , he had conquered but you cannot wish away his contribution to this country. His singular approach to the issue of the Niger-Delta where Obasanjo thought using the military option would solve the problem. What President Yar’Adua has taught us is that jaw jaw against war war can achieve so much. To that extent, I commend him because the relative peace that the Niger-Delta and indeed Nigeria is enjoying today was due to his approach.
So, bottom line is that it is alright to assume quite a bit of things about a country, but it is also alright to take the time to dispel stereotypes by taking the time to work through the narrative of assumptions.
I know Nigeria is far from a perfect place, and being in Ghana, I know Nigerians love the country for its relative and quintessential peace and quiet prosperity, but I think Nigerians have got to love their country more as well.
They have a great future going. Forget the oil. Remember the strong opinions; the strong minds; the regular appearances and contributions the the BBC Worldservice's programmes--especially SPORTSWORLD; the
GLO MOBILE indigenous service, the sharp contrasts...and you got yourself a developing country that is as beautiful as it is paradoxical.
If everything were supposed to be perfect about systems and governments, why on Earth would we now be having an unimaginable coalition exemplified by the strange bedfellows that the Liberal Democrats have become to the Tories.
I don't know, it's all Greek to me!