*A Trip From Overated Lagos To Underated Abidjan.*
By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
A trip from the giant of Africa to a small nation in pursuit of great goals was conceived by the exigencies of circumstances.
The media overrun by the political class in Nigeria was the concern of a strategic meeting I was privileged to attend. Saving Nigeria will come with the salvation of the fourth estate of the realm whose role of informing the people and helping them to form their opinion has been “dollarised” like the political party delegates, you hardly can trust the “purity” of news in Nigeria, the conscience of Nigeria and Nigerians are wounded and there is no truth to heal them, apologies to Uthman Dan Fodio, who said conscience is an open wound, only the truth can heal it.
Chaired by an Elder Statesman in every sense, the strategic Committee was technically led by an astute “pen general” and frontline journalist, Mr Bola Bolawole. A revelation of how journalism should be done in context of social media is coming soon into the space. One of the resolutions of the meeting was to give life to farmers like me, and other professionals whose plough instrument have been smelted into pen-sword to prick the conscience of a sleeping giant in proactive protocol at saving a nation in distress, for as they say, a pen is mightier than the sword and at the same time, the barrel of a gun.
A battalion of battle ready “pen warriors” is about to be unleashed against the enemies of our dear county, Nigeria and Africa at large.
Please, watch out for “The Scribe” an online tabloid!
It was at the strategic meeting, the opportunity of the trip to Abidjan for African Leadership Summit was thrown at me. I accepted to be part of my country’s representatives at a summit whose goal is to see Africa emerge out of poverty and insecurities to global power!
Travel protocols includes getting my Covid test done, the business that Covid has become to Lagos State would be revealed on the trip.
We were four on the team from Lagos and we got to the Airport, all ready for the trip to Abidjan, 3 with Nigerian passport and 1 with ECOWAS Travel pass. Air Cote D’Ivoire refused to allow the person with ECOWAS pass, even with all the grammar spoken, we got Nigeria Immigration involved, brought in officials of NCAA to get them to pick their passengers, Air Cote D’Ivoire will not budge! It became obvious that not even a call from the invaded Aso Rock will change the policy of a nation determined to keep her people safe from the menace of terrorism unleashed against Africans. Cote D’Ivoire has chosen her safety over ECOWAS sentiments!
No one can come into their country without a biometrically issued travel document and an ECOWAS travel pass is not one. No terrorist therefore can fly into Abidjan in the name of African brotherhood! Are you still asking how foreign militia of jihad persuasion are on the increase in Nigeria? Those who come in as African brothers or brothers in fundamental Islam have turned to our enemies and like Buratai once said, northern ssentiments for religion has kept their men in power in “unreasonablility” for a decisive decision.
On arrival in Abidjan, a paper valued for 45,250 naira each issued by a Diagnostic Center, certified by Lagos State as a member of The Lagos Covid-19 Laboratory Consortium
with Lagos State logo on it results was thrown back to our faces. The paper which was said to be valid for 72 hours was rejected in 24 hours of its life span, reason, I guess is the same everywhere about papers emanating from our country, we cannot be trusted, and so are our documents.
One thing love does is to trust, I was asked at the airport to padlock my luggage by another passenger but I told him I trust this country, though my unlocked luggage on a trip to Ghana had been opened and the perfume taken before, I have chosen to trust everyday Nigerians who are nothing but victims of a failed leadership system.
Back to the Covid point at Cote D’Ivoire Airport Abidjan, a tent was set up by the government, the official checking us demanded for covid vaccine certificate, and since that couldn’t be provided, it was mandatory for us to do another test. The test sheet that cost us 45,250 naira each in our country where our taxes are paid was invalidated by our nation’s reputation, but the good news is it cost us nothing in Abidjan, the official proudly told us it was free. Another free service was the trollies, with no “lazy Ivorien youth” hanging around to issue receipt for trolley and then help you push like you see in Lagos and other Nigerian Airport.
At the conservative, cozy and convenient lodging facility of Mission Ephrata, a ministry founded by a Nigerian in Abidjan, the facility provided me opportunity to meet people; from South Africa came Pastor Segun Olanipekun the Convener of ALS and his wife; leaders from Burkina Faso were led by another Nigerian, Dean Adeyemi, I was introduced to Prof. Joshua Olufemi Ojo of the department of Physics and Engineering Physics, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile- Ife, whose response was same as with many in recent time, “your pen and name precedes you, I have read many of your writings, meeting you is a pleasure”. What a friend of many Nigerians I have become in push of my burden to see a better and greater Nigeria!
The vision of African Leadership Summit that brought us to Abidjan is about Abrahamic covenant mantle and blessings, which the world can no longer deny, half the impact, more than anything is at work in UAE, the global relevance of one of the smallest nation in the world; Israel is an attestation to the fullness of Abrahamic blessings on earth, the need to see godly leadership after this order across Africa which will pattern our system and society after godliness is the basic objective of ALS. The idea is basically driven to rally Africans at home and Diaspora towards creating an agency platform of investments and services to circumvent risks associated with projects in Africa. It is a developmental vision for Africa by Africans, said Daddy John Adejoro-Oluwa.
It was my first time in Abidjan, a beautiful, working city, home to the African Development Bank. My imagination while dropping pen from this article is how in the world will my brother, Akinwunmi Adesina cope with life in Lagos if such opportunity beckons after his tenure at ADB? Little wonder there are no continental authorities considering our country as Headquarters of their Organization not even The almighty Lagos is host to any continental or sub-regional organization’s headquarters. Is Lagos really overated?
To be continued…