Light everywhere like it is the first day of creation!
I see beautiful houses and mansions. I see skyscrapers. I see good hospitals; schools too. I see good roads and transport systems. In fact, I’m on a train; on my way to catch an appointment in the capital city. The light rail system is second to none.
I see an industrialized economy where the dividends of democracy have been delivered to the people by the government of the people. This is a nation where agriculture is the backbone of the economy. I see exporters, so many goods leaving the border.
I see the birthplace of great ideas as companies’ troop in their numbers. I see a nation where everything works.
I see a nation where leaders are true to their words; Men of integrity. Yes, men with passion and women with dreams and purpose driven youths. I see a Police force with the verve and vivacity to truly fight crime. I see a nation where night never falls, as people go about their business without fear. I see a nation that clothes, feeds and shelters its people… a nation where farmers are king.
A nation of wealth, prosperity, substance, a nation of… God, where on earth is my thesaurus?!
As if to answer my question, I hear a loud sound from behind and my vision goes blurry. As I struggle to keep the image flowing, the sound gets louder…
And then I wake up.
I have been dreaming, I realize. I had fallen asleep in one of the very frustrating traffic that have become synonymous with Lagos.
As I try to adapt to my new environment again, I saw an army of beggars approaching. I see hungry people. I see people putting their lives at risk just to sell their wares, haggling with one potential buyer here; struggling to keep up with another who has collected an item without paying.
I see little boys wash windscreen of cars for a few naira which may or may not be given to them by the driver. I see people ‘lapping’ in buses because they cannot afford the fare. I see long queues at filling stations. I see a nation with people proud to be called ‘second hand’ as they gracefully patronize ‘Okrika’ clothing. I see dilapidated buildings, poor infrastructure, abandon social amenities. I see a frustrated people.
In few words, I see poverty, crime, sickness, hopelessness, corruption.
The cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation… It’s all too much for me to take.
We live the exact opposite of my dream.
Yes, in my dream, it was beautiful. It felt so real; my dream of my nation.
That was the Nigeria in my dream. That is the Nigeria of my dreams.
Three years ago I dreamt and with each passing day the dream becomes clearer. As we celebrate our 53rd independence, there is no better time to truly envision tomorrow. What do you want Nigeria to be like? What is your dream Nigeria? ‘Eko o ni baje’ one man says, ‘Nigeria would not spoil’ we should all scream.
Nigeria may not be all we want it to be today but it could be all we want it to be tomorrow. Together we can make our dream Nigeria a reality.
Eseoghene Odiete is the creative director of Hesey Designs and also a Public relations consultant with C and F Porter Novelli