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The True Nigeria You Never See
As countless media sources highlight the bad, immoral and ugly Nigeria, the good gets left behind. As a Nigerian now living in the West, I know to take everything I see on the news about my country with a grain of salt. I turned on the news and almost every headline I read about Nigeria went along the lines of “Nigeria in crisis”, “Hundreds killed in Nigeria”, “Terror in Nigeria” and the long list of ugly and depressing headlines goes on and on. However, the media does not celebrate the people working to turn the country around; people who believe in their home and are ready to glorify it for any length of time.
Nigeria is far from its negative interpretation and you have to believe it before you read it. Although I cannot deny that Nigeria is not the safest place to live. In fact, why would I leave home and move to the West when it was so safe, beautiful, and generally positive? The truth is, like in other countries (but mostly developing countries), the people got fed up with their corrupt leaders and decided to take matters of survival into their own hands. People rejected the norms of moral life of the society and started doing anything to survive, crime etc…corruption, disregard for human rights, child labor etc. So I cannot sit back and deny the fact that Nigeria is indeed a land where many crimes and inhumanities are committed. But this is home; home for me; home to many others born into the survival system; a home for those who have no choice but to live a broken lifestyle; a home for those who have no choice but to survive.
So even as I sit in my plush chair and type away freely and safely on my laptop in public, or while I fear for my safety while sipping a classy yet delicious drink at a Western Starbucks, I can’t help but long for home. In the East. I want my family and I hope that one day Nigeria will be a safe haven for all those who have left. While searching for my home country, I came across the amazing work of Devesh Uba (also known as Snap It Oga). Last year, his name went viral on social media. From Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram, to Tumblr, he’s everywhere, most importantly because of his photography.
In 2013, Indian street photographer Uba ignored the many negative labels that the propaganda press likes to attach to Nigeria, especially the commercial capital of Lagos. Known as the second fastest growing city in Africa, the city is rich in diversity, culture, energy and tourism, but it is also a city of extreme population growth. Uba went from his hometown in India to the vibrant life of Lagos, armed with all the negative information he had heard about the country before, and traveled alone to live and work in the city for a year.
“Before I moved here, I spent a lot of time exploring Lagos and Nigeria, but I was frustrated when I couldn’t find positive stories and pictures. But when I finally arrived and started spending more time around the city, I realized there are positive aspects of culture that most media ignore. .Art is almost everywhere…Danfos,streets,shop boards,school walls etc.Smile.The colors of the market are so bright and the “never die” spirit of the people here is so inspiring.Nigerian food and feet the love for the ball and the music is just contagious,” Uba reveals his direct insight into the city. Life in Lagos in an interview with Spirited Pursuit (SP), a blog and social media hub for travel photographers.
Amazed at how Nigerians look different, Uba launched his popular Snap It Oga brand. However, he told SP in an interview that the name was not his idea, but that “the first few people I photographed in Lagos would say, ‘Oga, take that!’ I was looking at them through the viewfinder of my camera and the name stuck, so I just ran with it,” he explained. For many Nigerians reading this, we can all agree that Snap It Oga is truly a great Nigeria and an invitation to our people because ‘Snap It ‘ is a portmanteau (broken/pidgin English) of ‘take a picture’ and ‘take a picture.”Oga is a name often preferred by foreigners or Nigerians.
Apart from Lagos, Uba has traveled almost everywhere in Nigeria from east to west, and his reaction to the disparity between the people he meets and the people he hears about in the media seems to grow every day he shoots on the streets. photographs. This contrast in depictions of people living in the country inspired Uba to start the blog Snap It Oga, where he catalogs all the photographs he takes and shares them on social media. to his followers without any media filter.
I think Uba has the right formula. Perceiving Nigeria and its people should be subjective, objective and non-judgmental. I am not saying that there is no truth about Nigeria as you see it in the media, I am just saying that like every country, Nigeria is made up of people and these people define the country. It is unfortunate that a few bad people have shaped our perception of Nigeria while ignoring the vast majority of great and sincere Nigerians. Uba also echoed this as he wrote in his SP article, “One of my worst memories as a photographer in Lagos was at Ajegunle Street for street photography. The roads were so bad that our car got stuck on bumps. surrounded and started banging on the windows of the car in shock. Somehow our driver managed to calm them down by telling them that his brother lives in the same street and runs a salon in the local market.. We finally managed to get help from some kind people who stopped after all the chaos. But I can’t lie; those were the most awkward 20 to 25 minutes of my life. Even though it was a negative experience, it happened to me. There are so many good and positive experiences in Lagos that make up for the bad.”
So whatever comes to your mind when you hear or think about Nigeria, don’t let that stop you from visiting one of Africa’s most culturally diverse and successful countries. Nigeria is made up of rich traditional and cultural elements with deep roots that shock and fascinate any interested and uncritical explorer who may visit the land. Beautiful clear blue waters, unparalleled farmlands, amazing game reserves, hot springs, magnificent waterfalls, rich museums of African history and more, Nigeria has it all. So, do yourself a favor, turn off the TV, plan your trip to Nigeria as hassle-free as Uba, and travel like never before.
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