21 October 2007

Two Faces of the New Nigeria


Last Friday week, we were at the International wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport by 0640 to catch the 0740 Virgin Nigeria flight to Calabar in Cross River State. The occasion was the launching by of one of our clients of their new vessels. By 0905, we had touched down in Calabar.

Calabar stands out as a reference city in Nigeria. The streets are clean, tree-lined with covered drains that also double as sidewalks for pedestrians. We did not encounter any potholes or dirt on the roads. At times, I felt we were driving through the leafy suburbs of England.

We also visited Tinapa http://www.tinapa.com/ which until recently was reckoned to be the largest construction site in Africa. Located on the Calabar River, the vision for Tinapa is to integrate business and leisure in a single resort and also serve as the business distribution hub for West Africa. Along with the revolution in Calabar, Tinapa was the brainchild of Donald Duke, ex-Governor of the State. Still not fully operational, Tinapa has the potential to place Calabar firmly on the world map.

Importantly, Tinapa and the Cross Rivers State administration of Donald Duke shows that Nigeria is creating a new set of visionary leaders capable of transmitting their visions into long-term projects that will regenerate their communities.

After the launching which was well planned and attended by amongst others, the State Deputy Governor and the Obong of Calabar, we had an impressive but hurried lunch before making our way to the airport to fly back to Lagos.

Thirty minutes into the journey, the pilot announced that he had detoured to circumvent the bad weather on the way. By the way, one of my uncles has a theory (hypothesis) on the turbulent Nigerian sky. In his view, there are too many people trying to ‘catch’ the rain because of weddings and parties. This in his opinion builds up a huge tension - (a ‘should I fall,’ or ‘should I hold’ kind of dilemma) - in the clouds which in turn makes flying very turbulent.

We landed at MMA2 - the new domestic wing of the Lagos Airport. It has a very large and immaculate reception area complete with a multi-storey car park. Just like Tinapa, MMA2 is a public-private initiative. Two faces of the New Nigeria in one single day. PostCardfromLagos

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Nice to learn about Calabar, hope you settle in well. For once, someone has something good to say about Nigeria.
I pray that God uses you to change the mindsets and behaviour of Nigerians so that your country can be viewed in apositive way around the world, Uganda and South Africa inclusive.Bless youu!
Immaculate. Birungi

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Nice to learn about Calabar, hope you settle in well. For once, someone has something good to say about Nigeria.
I pray that God uses you to change the mindsets and behaviour of Nigerians so that your country can be viewed in apositive way around the world, Uganda and South Africa inclusive.Bless youu!
Immaculate. Birungi

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your positive experiences about Naija.

Anonymous said...

I respect your appreciation of our nation and the work you do to bring about a positive change. You are dynamic and your articles are well written and motivating. May God surround you with travel mercies. Congratulations.

P.S
Now you�ve start the ball rolling, please be sure to write on issues affecting our people like affordable housing for the low income and the funding of public services.

Thanks for a great article.
Arinola

(Ojogbogbolodun)

Eric Ayoola. ericayoola@aol.com said...

It's good to read about your lovely experience so far. However I will urge you to be very objective in your write up. The purpose should not be to engage in subterfuge and to paint a rose coloured picture of Nigeria but rather to give a true account, warts and all, of your experience. A friend of mine recently came back to the UK, after years of relocating to Nigeria, for an eye operation free on the NHS (National Health Service. He would not have been able to have this done in Nigeria even with his wealth. I love Nigeria, but above all, I would love Nigeria to change. Can we do this by not saying it as it is? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
You mean it was that smooth?I guess you re still enjoying 'Londoner's' treat.Perhaps you have a protocol officer who is mapping your your trips. I have no doubt about your integrity for these few years I have known you and I am persuaded that you are committed to 'the ploughing back scheme'.I wish you the very best.Please don't mind my doubts, I'm only warming up to the reality seemingly far from what I know six years ago.
Remain blessed.
'DIMEJI

Anonymous said...

I hope things are going well and continue to go well for you. Pray please keep us updated, I have a great interest in moving back but i am wary of Nigeria and the system, the security situation, the corruption, and the expectation that people will do their jobs as they are supposed to that I have gotten used to living in America.

I am yet unsure that i can fit into the Nigerian system without becoming corrupt myself.