Every great journey, begins with the first step!

Nigeria Naija Cross River State


For this moment in my life I now call Nigeria “Home 2”, it can’t and will never be my true home, that for all time will be London, but my second home is Nigeria and principally Obudu Mountain, Cross River State. And wow it is a truly spectacular place, naturally beautiful, 3rd world, rustic in place, state of the art in others, it is a vast land of contradiction. And at this moment of writing it down I can honestly say I love it passionately. But I also know that the bubble of Obudu is not quite the real Nigeria, it is really Nigeria but it is a genuine exception to the country as a whole. I am very lucky that for my Nigerian experience I get to live it at the peak of the peoples paradise.

I think for me the simply best way to explain Nigeria is this, an amazing land of stunning possibilities and missed opportunities. In some ways it is very sad to live and work here an an outsider, because every where I look I see things that could be made better, things that must be made better and Nigeria is not a poor country, it has the resource to make the place a real power in continental Africa and beyond. But according to the Unicef just over 70% of the people live below the poverty line and that is just criminal.

Nigeria is an oil rich, and very shortly gas richer, nation. It has copious land for farming, is a massive producer of crops like cocoa and certain fruits, yet people starve in this proud nation. Something is so seriously wrong in Nigeria. Yet some things about this place are equally so right. As I say the one word that sums up Nigeria is contradiction.

Nigeria has a massive chip on its shoulder, blaming others is a part of the culture here, and in some ways it has a justifiable argument. Is it the fault of Nigeria, or the oil companies that this country is not as wealthy as it should be as the 8th biggest producer in the world. I get the feeling that debate could rage for many years without an outcome. But the fact remains that as such a naturally wealthy nation, it should be doing a lot better. Those outside the country are very quick to blame Nigeria for all its faults, those inside are even quicker to blame the outside world for the issues, and of course the truth always lies somewhere in between. But for me while Nigeria continues to use the excuse of blaming others, rather than resolving the issues, it can never move forward.

One of the most saddest aspects of Nigeria is that it is impossible to write about the place without at least once using the word corruption. However I do not want to comment on it, so I will just leave it alone, it is here, it happens, it is sad, enough said.

But for anyone reading this from outside Nigeria, I think you have this superb country so wrong, it is a wonderful place, an amazing land of opportunity and possibility, yes it can be frustrating, it is a “marmite” of a place, you either love it or hate it, there is no middle ground. And for me, living on top of the nation and looking down, well I also love marmite !!!


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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.