I have been mia for a bit because I went to naij for 10 days. It was fun cause I got to see my friends and family etc but it was also stressful. I was in Abuja, my hometown Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun and Benin Republic. So although I was technically on holiday, I was up and down like crazy and feel like I need another holiday already!
There are several things I noticed:
1)There is no money circulating like crazy in Naij the way it was like 2 or 3 years ago. Things are tight for every1 and people are having to tighten their belts. This is because there is no govt money flowing everywhere esp in the north where I stay which is all they spend. It is good in alot of ways because it teaches people responsible living and avoids "lau lau spending"! But it is also because the economic downturn has really hit hard with people loosing their jobs and share prices plummeting.
2)Nigeria is NEVER going to move forward if the problem of electricity is not solved. In Kd now we have to use the gen everyday which is a stark difference from when I left 5 years ago when we could go for 2weeks and not use the gen. The situation in Lagos is unbearable, and when I went to see my gmother in Lagos Island they had not had light for 3months!!!! Yes I said 3months, they had not had power for even a second for that long! The lady that sells this amazing moi-moi next door had a gen, so did every little one room face you I face you. The heat, noise and pollution that the gens are causing is a topic for another post.
My friend's company spends N3million a month on diesel alone and has 3 standby gens. Businesses are crippling everyday all over because of this issue. It can never be cost effective to run a business on gen. My aunty runs an ice-cream store in Kd and this nepa thing is starting to make her loose it. Everywhere you turn, there are stories of how nepa is destroying lives.
On Sunday evening when I was coming back, there was power outage at the airport for several hours which crashed the computer systems completely. This meant that we could not check-in and had to sit at the airport for over 2 hours in the heat. My flight that was supposed to depart at 11pm did not take off till 3am in the morning. It was a complete and utter chaos and such a disgrace. If it happened anywhere else in the world, Nigerians will be shouting that they want compensation and their human rights are being violated(I have witnessed this as well when out Virgin flight was delayed at Heathrow) but when it happens in Naij we all just sit down and accept our fate.
3)And there is NEVER going to be constant electricity if we do not privatise NEPA, and that is the bottom line. When I say this most people are like in no other country is their electricity private, because it makes it unaffordable to the people that need it the most. But with the way Nigeria is, that is the only way it is going to work. If we sell NEPA to some Chinese, Indian or Middle Eastern power company today, I can gurantee that we will have constant electricity in 5 years. It will be expensive, but it will cost much less than what it is costing our economy on a daily basis. Obsanjo invested about 120bn on electricity before he left and it has only gotten worse. If that amount of money cannot make a difference, no amount pumped by the government can ever make a difference.
What GSM has shown is that Nigerians are willing to pay for a service if it works. In Cotonou, there is constant electricity even though it is very expensive. But everyone has access to it, you just have to use it to the extent that you can afford. If this is implimented in Nigeria, we will adapt. At this point, most Nigerians are desperate for any improvement.
4)While we are at it, we should privatise Water, FAAN, Universitys,Roads and as much as we can. That is the only way that people will get their act together and things will work. The only thing that should not be privatised is healthcare for obvious reasons.
5)The government needs to implement some very strict family planning mechanisms. People are just giving birth left, right and centre without any thought of the welfare of the children or the consequences of their actions. I mean my driver has about 10 kids, the 1st of whom had a kid at 15, and his wife is pregnant again. And there are millions of people like him all over Nigeria, just populating the world for no reason. My parents and I were debating the various ways that the government can do this, and I am not too sure, but something drastic needs to be done to educate people that the point of having children is NOT so you can have more people help you in the farm or people to take care of you. It all boils down to education anyway but since that is not happening, we might need to make some Chine type moves soon!
6)Promiscity- There is no nice way of saying this, but Nigerians are promiscuous. Both men and women. Especially in the cities. This is the reason why we still need religion to some extent because we seem to have no morals without it. One of my little cousin is HIV+ because his mum got it from his dad who sleeps around. She passed away last year, and now he has to deal with his not just his mums death but this extra burden. One of my family friends also died of AIDS last year and so did one of our drivers. It is spreading like wildfire because Nigerians are still not having safe sex. There needs to be serious awareness raised if we do not want to end up like South Africa.
7)Religious Extremism- This is actually the most urgent problem in Nigeria at the moment. For both muslims and Christians. For Christians its the extravant churches the size of towns, private jet and Bentley driving pastors and the general shininess of this new age casting and binding Christianity. It is just getting over the top.
For muslims, there is a real danger of extremism and terrorism. This is because in the North, Islam is very politicised and the leaders use it to fuel their selfish agendas. It also boils down to the extreme poverty, lack of education, unemployment and a very high population of young idle people with nothing to live for. The religious leaders need to guide their people away from the path of destruction that they are clearly heading.
Naija has alot of problems. But its still home sha! Gotta love it. Here are some pics I took with my bb. Enjoy!
Nkowbi at the beer palour, my hometown of Badagry, and the corrupt immigration officers at the lagos/cotonou border, useless criminals hisss!