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Ameera Abraham: Which Way Nigeria?

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It seems I always have moments of clarity whenever I am at the airport. Arriving at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport today and experiencing the chaos that was disembarking from the aircraft, going through immigration and collecting luggage left me asking so many questions.

1. Why is our INTERNATIONAL airport worse than a standard domestic airport? When it was being constructed, did they not take into consideration that we would need multiple conveyor belts, ample space between arrival docks, immigration lanes, trolley ports, waiting areas and more importantly exits? If there was a fire outbreak I’m pretty certain it would consume everyone and everything in there.

Last time I checked the master plan of the international airport is nothing like the structure that stands before us today. The international airport is supposed to span across numerous hectares of land with just as many buildings/terminals. Why is nobody asking questions?

I then thought about the airport in Dubai which has gone from being a mere desert landing strip to the busiest airport in the world and felt extremely ashamed of my country. As the “Giants of Africa” are we not supposed to put in place structures that support this title of ours? Forget Dubai, even Kenya has a better airport than we do! An airport is the first impression a visitor or potential investor has of a country. Is the message we are trying to send across that of chaos, corruption and classism? Why are the foreign nationals being hustled for money before their passports are stamped? Why are non-diplomatic officials jumping immigration queues? Skipping customs? Have we ever considered “goods to declare” and “nothing to declare” exits? Do our leaders ever think of ways to lessen our burden rather than solutions that only put more money in their pockets?

2. Speaking of domestic airports, whatever happened to the one in Abuja? Why are domestic flights now departing from the international wing? Because the people who own private jets now deserve an entire wing of a national airport all to themselves? Do we actually have any leader that is genuinely passionate about Nigeria? It’s unfortunate that I can’t say that we do. They all seem to be in it for themselves. They travel to the West and admire its beauty; its development, but never do they say my country must be like this. Instead they ask to go to the poshest parts of town so they can buy themselves houses and have a safe haven when Nigeria is no more.

3. Why is corruption so rife in our society? Our leaders have failed us and the evidence is before our very eyes at the airport of all places! The elections are coming up, despite going to pick up my PVC on 3 different occasions, I have been told it’s not ready. INEC has refused me my right to vote… I cannot elect the man I feel can bring this said change to my beloved country. I’m not interested in a leader that is marrying off his daughters when over 200 girls have been kidnapped and are still yet to be found. Neither am I interested in a leader who could not tackle Boko Haram in 6 years but all of a sudden is making “progress” in 6 weeks. A leader who can spend millions of dollars on exquisite parties yet only boast of “101 scholarships” in a country of over 100 million people is not good enough! It’s time to put an end to the mediocrity and local minded politics. We need someone who looks at the bigger picture, has a global mindset and genuinely cares about a better Nigeria for you and I.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Kadettmann 

25 Comments

  1. LOVE

    March 26, 2015 at 9:13 am

    GBAM!!! darling you should see the airport at Jos… you would cry! sadly, i dont have a PVC too

  2. Kit

    March 26, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Please preach! I don’t understand this either and the worst part is that most Nigerians see nothing wrong with this and accept it as-the the way it has always been so let it continue. Until Nigerians wake up and demand transparency and answers from their leaders, uprisings like the Arab Spring will always be a story that our children will only read about in textbooks. Not even textbooks used here, but foreign ones because we know like everything else, education is another failed sector in the country.

  3. Evly Samba

    March 26, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Ameera, may God Almighty bless u abundantly. Sometimes I wonder if some Nigerians are blinded to the goings on in our country. Are we conveniently blinded when it comes to selling our birth right for a little bit of bread and soup. They give you a bit of rice and some change and you vote for them while they milk the country dry and buy mansions in foreign lands. While our brothers and sisters are dying in the north and they do nothing. Hmmmmmmnm. Which way Nigeria? Do we as a people really deserve the kind of government that we have because we have chosen to turn a blind eye??

  4. Evly Samba.

    March 26, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Ameera, may God Almighty bless u abundantly. Sometimes I wonder if some Nigerians are blinded to the goings on in our country. Are we conveniently blinded when it comes to selling our birth right for a little bit of bread and soup. They give you a bit of rice and some change and you vote for them while they milk the country dry and buy mansions in foreign lands. While our brothers and sisters are dying in the north and they do nothing. Hmmmmmmnm. Which way Nigeria? Do we as a people really deserve the kind of government that we have because we have chosen to turn a blind eye??

  5. babygirl

    March 26, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Exactly my thought Ameera! God bless you.
    Anytime I see anyone pointing to the surface dressing achievements of our leaders, I pity them and I see how shallow minded our people could be. Our airport is a big shame to us as a nation, our road system is an eyesore, educational and medical facilities are nothing to write home about compared to a lot of other nations who were like us some years back but who have decided to change their destiny for good.
    Majority of the people who are dancing around with this present achievements of our leaders are mostly people acting based on sentiments and tribalistic views. Others are people who are either looking for how to enrich their pocket or those who have never gone outside the shores of our dear nation to see how things operate beyond Nigeria and to see the lies of our government concerning the lots of funds they claimed to have spent in refurbishing our airports and other infrastructures with nothing to show for it.

  6. mrs chidukane

    March 26, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Ameera ehn, thinking about Nigeria can give one a heart attack. Sometimes I just decide to keep quiet lest I die before my time. Our leaders behave like animals. Nigeria is for them and their cronies and to hell with any other person.

  7. prince

    March 26, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I may not have travel more like you but I’ve been to Dubai (severally), been to Jo’Burg and London and I can’t stop asking the same questions too. Abuja airport is a total disgrace.
    It’s less than 72 hours to election, I’m not asking anyone to vote for any party again but search your heart, take a seat and ponder, if possible meditate of the things you’ve experienced in this country in the last 16years, do you still want to continue this way.
    I’ve not slept with light in the last 72hours, mind you, I don’t live in a village, I live in Abuja, the so-called SEAT OF POWER, where you cant walk in the street without someone (vibrant youth) stopping you and begging for transport or money to eat in a nation that’s the largest economy in Africa.
    The time to re-write history is now, this is not about religion, ethic or race. this is about our future and the future of our children. Lets leave footprints in the sands of our time. Don’t let sentiment make you do the wrong thing.
    I love my country-Nigeria

  8. Ada Nnewi

    March 26, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Thank you for asking the intelligent questions….

  9. Miss Kay

    March 26, 2015 at 10:35 am

    All i want to know is…that escalator in MMA2 that never works, is it witchcraft? Why can it not be fixed/replaced? i have never ever sen it function in all my years!

    #QuestionFortheGods

    • Ada Nnewi

      March 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      LMAO!!!

  10. S!

    March 26, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I’ve been on the Immigration queue waiting to get my passport stamped & NEPA took light. Imagine all the foreigners that were present that day, the first thing they experience is a blackout.
    Vote for Change please. If Buhari doesn’t perform, we vote for change again in 2019.
    Presidency isn’t any body’s birthright.

  11. ify

    March 26, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Preach it sister!! It only proves to say that BOKO HARAM could have been curbed in a little over a month but our so called president decided that the loss of thousands of Nigerian lives and abduction of our sisters and mothers are preferable to the costs needed to save our people from terrorism and yet people choose to support this MONSTER. How we choose to remain blind in this day and age is astonishing!! It is about time we stood together to fight for a better Nigeria and not to better oneself. Selfishness will lead us NOWHERE

  12. D

    March 26, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Why is no 1 talking about the fact the check in area smells like a Pitt latrine and that tunnel is hot has hell. Today makes it over 2 weeks since we had light in my area so what happened to all the nonsense he commissioned or they are fake and not working just has like this administration. Remove sentiments and a bag of rice that would send you to the toilet minutes after,we need to show our leaders that our consciences are not for sale so that the next set would seat tight and rise to the occasion.
    Nigerians be wise vote and pray for a credible leader .these current administration is a joke!!

    • AsMyself

      March 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Heya, you are roasting oh!

      We didn’t have light for over a month. But all of a sudden, for the past few days, we’ve had light non-stop. It’s so scary, I sleep with light, I wake up with light, the light goes off when I open my eyes, but before I blink, light comes back on. My room feels like a cold-room these days. I’m thoroughly enjoying it cos I know after Saturday, it’s back to total black-out.

      I’m so sorry that your house is not a beneficiary of this “six-week miracle”. Ndoo nwanne m.

  13. oluchy

    March 26, 2015 at 11:50 am

    You wouldn’t have said it better dear, i don’t have my voter card too. But for those that have theirs, please vote for who you think will do a better job, because l still think that clean water can come out of a bad stream. We need to get it right.

  14. apt

    March 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Well written. But let me add that, we also have our roles to play. We point fingers at the leaders but sometimes,we are as guilty as they are. We clamor for change and development but our attitude to that effect is very discouraging. Why someone would eat and toss the remnants out of a bus/car window? I do not understand why a secretary will demand you give her a ‘token’ so she can book an appointment for u to see her boss? Why would a person be late and move past people in a queue to be attended to first? U apply for a job, the first quiz thrown @ u is who do u knw? The questions are endless. It’s sadder when the guilty ones reply, ‘it’s Nigeria, anytin goes’. If we ourselves can also change our mentality, value system and ethics, I think a portion of our problems will be solved.
    And as for our leaders, talking abt them weakens me.
    God bless Nigeria

    • fleur

      March 27, 2015 at 4:21 am

      You took words out of my mouth. No leader can successfully rule a democratic Nigeria with our current mindset. Even you with your values will be frustrated to no end, and largely unsuccessful. You know, I am sure that if Jonathan or OBJ or any other person could clone themselves and get all the work done, we would be farther along. However, they have to rely on people like you and me. People who do not share their visions, have their own visions of efficient systems, and who are interested in what they can obtain today because they are victims of “bandwidth poverty”. For example, what stops a state on its own from saying we will ensure worker salaries are paid on time? What stops a commissioner from saying he will set performance standards and all employees will be assessed using those standards? What stops the director of a subunit from saying “in this microcosm of Nigeria, we will ensure that our clients are maximally satisfed?” What stops the trader in a small shop in Lagos from saying “I will apply the principles of transparency and ensure that my customers get a good bargain?” When you go to places like Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Elf, and Agip – multinationals- you begin to realize that we are the problem. Nigerians who enter those premises think differently. There is accountability built into how they operate. They may still bring some of their negative mannerisms to work but they embrace a culture that mandates they must exhibit responsibility and ownership within their small piece of their work environment. Salaries get paid, documentation seldom gets missing, people adhere to time.
      What we need is mindset transformation for all Nigerians. if everyone is for greatness and a few hundred people are not for it, the few cannot successfully lord it over us. If we became a selfless people, even with the devil as a leader, we will make gains in our evolution. Look at western countries. Whether it is a right or left-wing party, shit still gets done. Basic services continue to work. Why? Because the unseen Joes and Janes who run those small offices are committed to their work. It is so easy to poke at the person at the summit. The problem really is the rot and stench at the base. By our actions at the base, we can even force the top to fall in line. There is no Mohammed or Jesus that can save Nigeria. We all have to do our part wherever we are. That’s all.

  15. Aderonke says #Bring BackOurGirls#

    March 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    May God bless you Ameera and everyone that has so far commented on this article.
    I am so happy we are all sharing our pain and disgust without insulting ourselves, tribes or religion neither insulting the leadership but saying the obvious.
    Haa dear BN readers am so impressed. God bless you all . This is the way we should continue to lay our grievances, pain and issues maturely and act likewise. We must make a decision today to try to influence our little circle by enlightening them about doing it right.
    Firstly, by voting without prejudice but with facts & realities.
    It should never be about religion, ethic, color or personality, let it be about deliverables, attitude, passion, commitment, integrity and past achievements.
    We all have the right to ask questions and be answered. It is our rights as citizens. No government should or can be bigger than its citizens. We chose the government and when they do not satisfy or represent us, we change them.
    It’s high time we began to tell ourselves the truth, we may not be able to change the local nor international airport but we can make that little change gradually by speaking up unrelently till we get results, show others how it should be done and speak positively.
    My heart bleeds everyday when I see on both local and international news how we have allowed the wrong people rule us, how we also accept defeat just like that!
    I have only been out of the country once and I passionately want my country to look same or better. I was so envious of Dubai that I was praying to just see a small pot hole on their roads just to have a demerit for them too but meennnnn i was put to shame! I could not even find one quarter pot hole!. Kai
    I see pictures of Ghana, SA, Morocco, etc. and I fight everyday that God will raise leaders and followers that will want the same that I want for my country beloved.
    My friends and I run a small NGO to help the less privileged in the society in our own little way for the past 9years and is because we want to impact our little area of influence. We may not be known or popular for such acts and we do not clamor for it because is OUR RIGHTS TO GIVE BACK WITH OR WITHOUT REWARDS OR A PAT ON THE BACK.
    I pray and wish that we will look for such selfless act of service before we vote, no matter how small.
    We may not be able to choose the best man now but we can start with a good man!
    God bless Nigeria, can you try say that with me? I know is hard but try my friend….*winks*

    Sorry for the long epistle, am just a passionate Nigerian that is desperate for change!

    • zainab

      March 26, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      May God bless you more for giving back to the less priviledged .
      I pray Nigeria experiences positive change too.

  16. DAME

    March 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    AMEERA….THE BLESSING GOD IS PREPARING FPR YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE WUD WOOOOOW YOU

    NIGERIANS LIKE SUFFERHEAD !!!!!!!!!!!! with the way some people defend why pur airports are bad, why there’s nO light , why Jonathan is just acting in his capacity as President for the first time in 6 years would amaze you.
    We deserve better !
    we should have better.
    IT IS DO-ABLE
    ITS NOT IMPOSSIBLE
    SAID THIS 100000000 TIMES

  17. Stella michael

    March 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    “They buy themselves houses and have a safe haven when Nigeria is no more” well said sis , I cry and despair over Nigeria

  18. jefka

    March 26, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Question for the gods…………
    Nigerians we are the architects of our problems. yes i said it.
    we are unruly, dis organised, proud, unteachable, greedy and most of all set in our ways.
    we say government is doing this and doing that……..let me tell you people a story.
    i was walking to vgc one day and i saw a lady and her child begging, then a car stopped and one woman came out. she then asked the lady if she can clean and wash, the beggar nodded. the woman then gave her her card and 3000naira saying come to my office tomorrow, i have a school where you can work instead of subject this little child to hot sun and rain.
    when the woman drove off, the beggar lady threw the card away hissing and murmuring stuff to herself………….end of story
    i realized that day that most Nigerians love their situation being the way it is.
    i tell you, the day we stop accepting one day of enjoyment(bag of rice and 5oo0naira) for 8years of suffering, we will be liberated……..
    i was at the airport one day and one guy deliberately spat on the ground and kept it moving…..lol after we will say it smells.
    driving thru eko bridge and saw one guy peeing on the express, look down from the bridge and you will see grown up discrepant men excreting anyhow……..is it the govt that is shitting there?
    people are shouting traffic, pls when we form 100 lanes on a road how wont there be traffic?
    leave matter for Mathias biko……….
    after all that long epistle, pls vote wisely, vote for the younger generation and unborn children and pls all those agberos killing and fighting themselves and innocent citizens remember that diaz God in everything we are doing (in mama peace voice)

  19. soph

    March 26, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I sincerely cannot wait for the elections to be over. At this point I really don’t care who wins because it seems those contesting are all in it for what they can benefit. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.

  20. Calabar Gal

    March 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Change comes from within. We cannot blame the government for everything. We start by taking little steps towards changing our mannerisms. Yes – our own mannerisms!

    I was impressed the last time I arrived MMIA. There was an orderly queue and the AC was working. An improvment and a contrast to my previous arrival. The conveyor belt was working. the building may not be as modern as it used to be – fact be told, it is in dire need of a replacement. This should be worked into the budget.

    We have to support our leaders by changing the way we do things and not shirking and shifting blame to them when things go wrong or dont go the way they are supposed to…….

    • Ameera

      March 27, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks for your insightful contribution and while I agree with you to an extent it is important for me to also point the following out:
      1. The reason why Nigerians are this way today is rooted in the decision of our leaders. Any civilised community knows the importance of good education. This is something we lack. Our people do not have the best traits or behaviour as some may argue because of their social conditioning. For example, The North had power over Nigeria for more than 20 years and never thought to improve their people, they didn’t invest in education, instead they used religion to keep the people in check. This lack of education has now left the northern population vulnerable to brainwashing and fertile ground for Boko Haram.

      2. We aspire to be rich over night and be celebrated by our fellow country men and relevant in society because of the way we see our leaders living. The average Nigerian when put in public office or any opportunity in which he or she can make money will immediately be thinking of how he has now arrived, how he will “show” the members of his community, how he will finally be recognised and not how he can make his community better. Why? Because truth be told we all complain about these said leaders but should any of them extend their stolen loot to us we will be more than happy to become sycophants. Our society celebrates these people and allows them get away with these crimes they commit on a daily basis. As a result, most if not all Nigerians aspire to that lifestyle in anyway achievable, be it in their banking jobs, as airport attendants or even as a market vendor.

      What we need is leaders that have principles and are guided by some moral conscience whether Christian or Muslim. It is human nature to emulate the people around you, even the bible says “evil company corrupts good manners”. A good leader can only bring about good followers.

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