I thought I knew Nigeria and Nigerians, but after 21 years (I’m 24) I returned to Nigeria and I am ashamed to say I have been looking at Nigeria with a westerners mentality. I’m usually very careful about what I accept on the news or general media about Africa, because we are made to feel that all Nigerians are corrupt or need aid and intervention.
I saw a young talented boy customizing sandals appropriate for sun and sand.
A Local mother cooking and providing AC for the community, the food was so tasty and fresh.
I met a generous women, a retired Doctor providing free health care for people in her neighbourhood. When she stepped out of her house kids called out “mummy, good morning”. They loved and respected her for the care she provided.
I met a Surgeon by the name of Dr. Olakunle Akinoso who had a vision, he wanted to build a hospital and create jobs. This hospital, AB10 stands tall and strong despite starting from nothing, since 1944.
From talking with an artist at the bus station who was painting the elected President Buhari, to Riding a Keke Maruwa from Omele to Ikeja, I was just in love with Lagos.
During my stay, I lived in an apartment in Haruna, Ogba. It was so warm and delightful. I lived with a generator to supply me electricity, one of the days it switched off. Before I had the time to panic I heard a knock on my door, the little kids next door asking me “do you want me to switch it back on for you?”, I opened the door and said yes please and they showed me how to switch it on too.
I saw the estate my great granddad built and the family house with a fruit tree shadowing it. It was so inspiring to see the line of heritage I came from, people who worked so hard, had lots of laughs and made sure everyone around them were comfortable. The spirit of an Ubuntu lifestyle was oozing in the air and I loved it.
I learnt more about life from Nigeria in a week than living in England all my life. It’s really important to stay in contact with your roots. I have never been so proud to be Nigerian in my life.
My name is Damilola Omolewa Olaleye and I am Nigerian.