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Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Welcome to Naija," the Start of the Next Phase of my Life

By Chiedu Ifeozo, Ladybrille Columnist. To read more of Chiedu's work, click here.

I
woke up the morning after my arrival in Lagos, and I remember not being too excited. I think back then I focused more on what I considered to be the issues with life in Nigeria. Back then, I was afraid it might be hard to live here again. I remember having discussions with my parents as they tried to encourage me to give the move a chance.
Generally, there was a climate of change in Nigeria. The elections were coming up and many Nigerians were looking forward to a new president, hoping that it would bring a fresh approach to the reforms that the ruling administration had started.
There were two big revolutions while I was away, and the changes that these two sectors have undergone has been the catalyst for the growth of the Nigerian Economy, of course the foreign reserves were helped by the increasing price of oil, but I was positive about the increasing investment in the telecommunications and information technology sectors as well as the clean up of the banking and insurance sectors.

I spent a lot of my days discussing these changes with mates from secondary [high] school and mates back in England. There were varying reactions. Mates who remained in Nigeria seemed more optimistic. As the sectors improved there would be more jobs, they hoped. Some were less optimistic of the effects of these changes, “what good is a phone when you can not afford the airtime to speak” and “how does that put food on my table,” they would ask?

It was easy to observe that the economy seemed to be moving in a positive direction on the macro economic scale, but such developments did not filter down to the grass roots; meanwhile some very important sectors which impact directly on the general public like education, power and health were still largely ignored or seriously hampered by corruption. Personally, I had decided somewhere in between listening to all these folks that my future was in Nigeria and I was going to work hard to make it a success.
I loved England, still do, yeah everyone talks about the weather, but it’s a beautiful island with a very rich history. I enjoyed my time living in Cambridge, Guildford and London, the scenic hills of the Guildford country side, was the view from my third floor university bedroom window. I adapted to life in London, and was actually getting used to it. I wasn’t in the category of those who never visited Nigeria after moving away, I came back four times in seven years, and always enjoyed my holiday.

Now I live in Lagos, yes, it’s been a change, but I’ve tried to focus on work, I spend my time writing poetry and listening to music, and I’ve done my best to make the best of it.

“Welcome to Naija”, the start of the next phase of my life.

1 comments:

tosyn said...

welcome to naija
its always nice to read about what lagos feels like for a 'returnee' as we sometimes say
lol

Chiedu, ure not doing half bad
and we are glad ure here!

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