It’s strange that whenever I go to places such as Eko hotel, federal palace hotel or some of the newer hotels where you see a lot of foreigners mixed in with the local population, I get the feeling that I am starring in one of those films based on the state of some African country such as Nigeria and Uganda in the 60s or early 70s.
Despite the obvious and ostentatious show of wealth; the excessive lightening; the happy faces all around, you know that the country is more or less moribund; there is a dictator somewhere in the background; majority of the population are disenchanted and disenfranchised; violence is an invisible thread running through the whole charade that can explode at any time. In the background plays a continuous sequence of different local dance and highlife music that the rich patrons dance slowly or sit down and nod their heads to under thatched little patios under the dark African sky.
African countries are stuck on a turntable: we would rather pretend to be enjoying the horrible music than own up to our own folly; get off the damn thing and get on the straight and narrow but hard road to real progress.
Even the ones we had high hopes for such as our brethren down south are making strenuous effort to join the rest on the turntable.
We all behave like the proverbial street tout who rolls up one leg of his trousers above the knee, unbuttons his shirt way down than is socially acceptable; and starts to make a nuisance of himself at the bus-stop to the disgust of all passersby some of who look at him with pity and others who would love to get rid of him if they were physically able.
Why are we so “different”?