Travelling on Nigeria’s many formerly smooth roads is quite an experience. While I enjoy the changing scenery as buses, cars and trucks deftly navigate through cities, towns, villages and uninhabited stretches, my knees and bum groan at the torture they are forced to endure for hours without end. In between bouts of sleep, I listen to discussions by fellow passengers. Here are a few things I learnt from a recent trip.
- Former first lady, Patience Jonathan, has six private jets. When asked why she has that number of jets, she replied, “If people dash me gifts, am I to reject them?”
- One of the perquisites of being Nigeria’s president is getting a new jet from the wealthy Aliko Dangote. However, President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the jet given to him by Dangote.
- The IMF said that 9 out of 100 of all monies in Nigeria belong to Dangote. That’s how incredibly rich he is.
- Former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, has a huge compound in Niger State. The compound is so huge that it has gates in two different states. By the way, the second state was not mentioned.
- Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, followed Babangida’s footsteps and built a version of Aso Rock in Ogun State, his home state.
- Nigeria has so much money such that no matter how much people steal, Nigeria can never run out of money. “E no fit finish”.
- Dangote wanted to buy Nigeria’s refineries. His plan was blocked because “they” did not want him to own all of Nigeria.
When the first two points were being discussed, I asked for proof—any proof from anywhere. The attester declined my request, and grouped me into the category of Nigerian novices who foolishly ask for proofs while others milk the country dry. Now that I knew my category, I quietly borrowed a padlock for my lips, while I expanded my pinna.
Ordinarily, I accept the notion that to experience real development, a person should be willing to “learn, unlearn, and relearn”. However, it is one thing to unlearn what you know. It is another thing to be duly informed that all you think you know is nothing. In essence, you are a novice; there’s nothing to unlearn. Therefore, I sat at the feet of my learned colleagues, fellow Nigerian graduates like me, and learnt from the titbits of knowledge that flowed from their lips.
If I didn’t gain anything from this trip, at least I had an epiphany. Now, I know that I’m a novice who knows nothing about Nigeria.