04 November 2007

Forget the BIG Picture - It's the smaller PICTURES...

Nigeria takes extreme positions. Most things are either a tragedy or a comedy. Seldom would you have anything occupy the middle ground. This morning, the heavens opened and it rained as if there was a stampede to empty the sky of all its waters. Then it stopped abruptly as if someone applied the break out of panic. And that’s just the weather!

Back to the issue of today. The first post on this blog 'I am a returnee' generated a fair amount of responses both on the blog and also from people who sent their comments directly to my personal email address.

All of the comments are useful - from those who were happy to see positive things happening in Nigeria to those who felt I was deliberately painting too good a picture. I love a particular commentator who suggested that I was enjoying Nigeria because I probably still have my minders chaperoning me around.

Some wrote that they admired the guts to move back considering the challenges that must attend returnees. However, I detected from most people that wrote from outside Nigeria that a good number silently desire to return someday.

In reality, it's not all rosy in Nigeria. I struggle daily with the injustice and the poverty. The traffic, heat, power failure, mosquitoes, bad driving and visionless leadership distresses and depresses. Anyone that attempts to look at the big picture will find Nigeria is almost impossible. However, I have down-shifted and now consider the small pictures - the little things happening daily in the scattered landscape of Nigeria. These include:

- The individuals supporting their parents and sending their siblings through school.

- A few traffic wardens clearly doing the impossible job of directing traffic in Lagos with dignified enthusiasm.

- I admire a few Churches who are in the forefront of impacting their communities and providing hope.

- You cannot but admire people like Femi Falana and Gani Fawehinmi who consistently and fearlessly fight for truth and justice.

- Not to forget the House of Representatives, who with their four-wall road-show of the past few weeks unwittingly moved Nigeria forward.

- I am impressed by the responsibility of lawmakers like Victor Ndoma-Egba who is mature, sincere and forward-looking.

- I switched on the television one morning last week and saw an interview with a newly minted organisation. Help4theHelpless as the organisation is called provides free rescue operations for accident victims in the Lagos-Ibadan axis. The organisation came about because there is largely no ambulance or rescue service in Nigeria. People hardly stop to help accident victims either because of police harassment in the event of victims' death. Help4theHelpless has provided cover for their volunteers by partnering with the Police and the Federal Road Safety Corps.

These individuals and organisations are the real heroes, vital to Nigeria and to its future. They are the hope-providers. PostCardfromLagos