I had overworked myself; my brain was fuzzy, my back ached, my eyes were literally closing, I felt terribly knackered and drifted to sleep. I dozed off on my office desk and straight to dreamville. Suddenly I found myself in a place I've never been – a new Nigeria, a new Africa.
In the new Nigeria, there were no corrupt officials, all roads were tarred to the different doorsteps, even the road leading to my village and grandfather's farm. There was public water in every home, electricity was aplenty, and everyone earned a decent living. The most vulnerable in the society were on some sort of welfare scheme. Though we had the super rich, most people had a fair, decent and legal chance at ‘making it’. I travelled round Nigeria, Lagos was bubbly as usual, it was the fashion capital of Africa, Ikorodu Road was lined with skyscrapers, those buildings can only be compared to those in New York City. The publishers, finance houses, insurance companies, big legal firms, boutiques, and all manners of industry were in Lagos. The entertainment industry, the media all had a part of Lagos. It was the bigger apple (pineapple if you like) in its own right. In Lagos, I saw a melting pot of ethnicities, tribes, creed and races from around the world, all doing their businesses in joy and peace. You would feel all of the Nigerian energy and attitude in Lagos.
Ogun State was the technology hub, the latest computers and programs were written there, the newest smart phones all came from laboratories and research centers in and around Ogun State. Oyo and Osun states had the best secondary schools and students came from all over the world to school to get a decent education. They groomed, moulded and trained the best minds, leaders of thought and future Presidents. These schools rivaled the likes of Institute Le Rosey, Eton College and the Wardlaw-Hartridge School. There was no need of sending children to Switzerland or the UK anymore. The traditional agrarian and cottage industries existed side by side with the modern ones. I still saw a lot of poultries in Sagamu. Next, I found myself in Aba then Onitsha, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Imo States. This enclave was our own China. They produced everything under the sun! Bags, shoes, jeans, clothes, household goods and industrial equipment. Everything! From luxury to modest. The Oguta lake was a spectacle; people flew in from all over the world to propose to their partners there.
Off to Kogi State, it was home of the iron and steel industry but they also made quality electronics; television sets, sound systems, cameras and all. The Japanese bow for them. Kaduna was my next stop, this was the car capital of Nigeria. All car manufacturers had a presence here. Our indigenous car makers were legendary. There was a fierce but healthy competition between the car makers. Katsina was next, they had some of the best health facilities that were comparable to the German ones the privilegentsia frequented. With Katsina, you would be wasting time and money going to Europe or India. Adamawa was obsessed with airplanes and everything flying. The aerospace centre there were conducting experiments on bigger planes than what is currently available. They had a space museum, space toy factory- Space everything. Everywhere was booming. Nigeria boomed. Then I headed for Kano, WOW Kano; good, old Kano. Dubai has a pale resemblance to our own Kano. Kano was lush and beautiful. The malls were out of this world. As a confirmed Hajia, I shopped for abayas and veils in Kano.
My next stop was the Niger Delta. It still had oil, but had diversified to other sources of energy, bio-diesel, solar, wind, nuclear and companies and research facilities were ever present. No struggle, no militants, no violence. Warri also had the best sea food restaurants and family owned businesses. I saw a modern shipyard there, it also boasts of competitive water sports all year round. Benin was a sort of Mecca for furniture makers. I got some beautiful plates in Yenagoa and bought a ‘Made in Warri’ watch. Those from Zürich can’t be better. Calabar hosted colourful festivals and it had Nollywood and tourism as its mainstay. The streets were lined with world class, African boutiques and it had a phenomenal country side. And good food too! Port Harcourt was a literary haven. For book lovers like me, I am already fantasizing about owing a publishing outfit in the city, or a library or maybe a bookshop; everything. I then headed to Minna, Minna had the renowned universities and research institutes that could be compared to the ivy league colleges and a formidable car racing industry.
Those Universities produced scholars and Nobel laureates.Finally, I found myself in Abuja. To say Abuja did not live up to expectation was an understatement. There's definitely something attractive about power and being a political mind, I reveled about occupying the number 1 address in that city, and I know as a full blooded Nigerian I can. Oh yes I can. The politics of Abuja was that of ideologies vested in people's interest, politics of service, of leadership, of progress. It was clean, pure and fun. With intelligence, hardwork, sincerity, dedication and of course popularity, politics was possible. It wasn't for a privileged few, the money bags, and the egocentric class. That was what I saw in Abuja aside the well laid out and beautiful streets.
Someone tapped me to inform me of the end of the day. Why did this dream have to end? I doubt if I ever wanted to wake up. This is what I want for my country Nigeria. This is what I want to be replicated in the whole of Africa. Not for future or when am long gone but now. Right now! Common dreams, isn't it? Enough doom, gloom, famine, disease, hunger, lack of opportunities and poverty. I am pretty tired of what I see in the news.
This nonsense has gone on for too long. I woke up from my sleep to complaints of no light. As I drove home, I noticed queues at the filling stations; and a little further, I saw a gathering of people- apparently some cars fell into a ditch by the road side causing a fatal accident. I got home and I noticed the gateman’s children wearing long faces, they had not eaten all day and not evens bothered with school. Then my phone rang, my pregnant cousin, who’s been in labour all day has only had a student doctor attend to her, the others are on strike over pay. With pregnancy induced complications, she has just given up. Inna lilahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun. Common story isn't it? Am going to pray now and maybe fast tomorrow, nothing else to do as a Muslim.