by Adedeji Adebusoye
Nigeria seems to be one of the most misconstrued countries in the world, with so much bad press.
And many choose to see only what they have been programmed to see by the media. Having lived and traveled to over 20 countries across the world, I can confidently say most people will be pleasantly surprised about Nigeria if they ever were to visit.
Let me address those specific topics that would likely want to keep people from living or visiting Nigeria:
1. Boko Haram:
The media makes it sound like the Boko Haram guys have their flags hoisted on every street and corner of the country. I have traveled pretty much to most states in Nigeria, including the northern states and I have never once been remotely close to any Boko Haram insurgency.
Their activities ‘were’ limited to a few local governments and have now been drastically reduced further.
I have walked the streets of Sao Paolo, Bucharest, Johannesburg, Delhi with as much trepidation as I would when walking in certain places in Lagos.
If that makes you think “But I can visit those places”, then Nigeria should not be a concern. If you observe the basic security rules like in any of those cities, then you will be fine.
I visited with a former CEO (Swiss) of a multinational in Nigeria who lived here for more than 20 years (and even opted to get the Nigerian passport) and I was glad, but not surprised, when he told me that for the 20 years of his stay, he was never robbed and never fell sick.
Which brings me to the third point…
3. Diseases and sickness:
If you still think we are walking about with scabs on our skin and diseases floating around in the air, then you need to start watching a different TV channel.
I am in no way suggesting that Nigeria is rid of key tropical diseases like malaria, but take your shots before visiting the country and you will be fine. I doubt Nigeria will be the first country you will be needing to take some shots before visiting.
Please spare me this! I have seen corruption in pretty much all the countries I have visited. While I do not and will never condone corruption in any form, I beg to disagree that this will stop you from visiting the country.
It’s a menace in the country and I’m glad we finally have a leader who is making some efforts to curtail it. I have seen lawlessness at varying shades and sizes across the world and what makes countries like Singapore and Switzerland different is that they have rules and policies that check this. Underneath, we are still all the same!
Global multinational companies have found ways to work and uphold their integrity in the country so if you gave in to corrupt practices and blame the country for it, you are as much a part of it!
People only ever talk about the negatives, but what of the fun-loving, energetic Nigerians you will meet?
What of the highly contagious entrepreneurial spirit you will find?
What of the resilience the people have built over time?
What of the way we are navigating our young years as a nation and building a future for ourselves?
What of our burgeoning entertainment industry taking the world by shock?
What of the bright minds we have exported all over the world?
And, very importantly, what of our amazing plate of Jollof rice?
Summarily, Nigeria is a beautiful country with different shades of experience.
Your conviction about Nigeria will change not when you arrive in the country but when you board the flight and see the number of non-Nigerians flying in.
You will then ask yourself what they all are visiting for if it’s all doomsday here as popularly hinted!