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Letter to My Friend Oversea

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Author: Kehinde Akintobi
Posted to the web: 5/22/2008 12:27:29 PM

Letter to my friend overseas Dear friend, I am happy to hear that you have settled down over there. I just hope yours is not the story of those washing plates or scrubbing toilets filled with foreign excreta. You know, we hear quite a lot of stories about what goes on over there you know. Some people erroneously think it is a land of gold and a bed of roses. It has been said that a times that when you have a firm hand shake with someone who has travelled down to make ends meet and been there for a while that his palms are a bit rougher and harder than when he left. Only God knows what he/ she could have been doing? Collecting stamps or washing plates? I don’t know. As I said only God can tell. There are some sad stories of comfortable folks that have left our shores to end up doing jobs that they wouldn’t be proud of whilst back at home. Some have struck gold however and fitted well into the academic, professional, business or political environment and they are doing quite well too. Enough of your base, lets talk about mine. I have written this letter in response to your intention to find your way back to Nigeria where you believe your ancestral roots come from. I feel that despite your well-intended desire, I should put you in full glare of the thickness of the bridge before you jump into a trailer and attempt to cross it. The most populous Black Country in the world, Nigeria is a beehive of economic activity, adventure, contradictions and even investment opportunities. With a population of over 120 million people there are both present and emerging markets to be maximised by industry giants. With the stock market generating stupendous returns for investors, businesses hitting it big in different sectors and some top flight career people living large, things are churning out quite comfortably for some who are favoured to have it so. On other fronts, like tourist attraction, Nigeria indeed is not doing badly. From the beautiful town of Jos, the commercial features of Kano to the peace and quiet of Kaduna a trip around my country could be quite splendid. The enterprising people of Nnewi, Onitsha and Aba, the beauty of Tinapa Resort and Obudu Cattle Ranch in Calabar and the commercial nerve centre called Lagos leave you with fascination, excitement and some elements of drama and amusement respectively. If well planned you will most likely have a swell time. However the visitor that is happy with his unauthorized entry into a compound should not yet rejoice until he is sure that there is no fierce dog in sight. My country is quite an interesting one to live in. I just received a disconnection notice for a peanuts, chicken change bill from the water body that in the past few weeks has not reliably and consistently supplied water. Not a letter of apology for pathetic services but a disconnection notice. Their paltry services have created part time employment for some opportunistic young men who now parade the streets selling water to residents in kegs. A gentleman on my street placed a notice on a thick material for a subsidized and forthcoming Seminar in front of his house only to come back home one day to find it removed. It was not stolen. It did not fall off. He was told that some officials from the state advertising agency took it off. In my country we now pay for placing signboards to advertise our growing businesses! The other day, I left the office quite early but that did not seem to help matters. As a result of a newly introduced transport system, commercial buses are now to keep off the express lane and are restricted to the service lane. I wonder why because the innovative transport system seemed quite orderly without such a requirement. The consequence of this is now uncalled for traffic, a contravention of the intention behind the rapid transport system in the first place. For some it is worse. In fact the cars that flock the roads could have only one or 2 people within. The poor security situation for one and the challenging transport situation make it a better option for people to use their own cars. They are not to blame for a non-functioning system. Stories of people getting robbed in public transport buses on their what to or from work is quite common. I would have thought however that attention be shifted to car users with a holistic approach to provide them better public transport and security options than troubling those of us who through the regular use of public buses decongest the roads. In my country, the same government that builds roads, could next moment break them again and monies are allotted for this from the public purse of course. In my country everything works. Once it is not in the hands of government and you can afford to pay for it. From schools, to roads, to lighting, education, electricity, policemen and security. Just about every thing. Despite being the 5th largest producer of crude oil, for several days in a year we have queues for fuel in filling stations across the state. That in turn is added to the claim of inadequate gas supply for the generation of electricity. Blackouts are now the order of the day. And not forgetting the heat and sweat there from. Your friend’s daughter eventually fell ill as a result of the heat during her last visit. Well you can still come over once you can at least afford to fuel my family generator through out your stay. In case you do not know what a generator is, it is a machine used to generate alternative power supply. And please do not bother about the fumes and even the noise. Just let the damn machine do its damn job of giving light to homes some power, power holding or powerless authority has failed to give for a year uninterrupted since I was born! Please do not daily complain in my ears about the state of corruption in the nation. Policemen demanding bribes from motorists and motorists persuading enforcing officials with bribes, after being caught in an offence like not using their seat belts. On dailies, over the news, on the roads we have come to be used to it. Millions of dollars stolen and stashed away. Corrupt public officials moving from one court trial to the other and atimes it seems nothing capital or serious at the end is being done about it. Some of them seem to have turned to movie stars and celebrities months afterwards. That reminds me. I nearly forgot. You know you look like an Oyinbo. Never mind that. That is what we call white foreigners. Oh no you are a hybrid but it is still in you. One can hardly hear you when you speak over the phone and your sentences are heavily laden with men, yeah, that’s cool”. They will easily know that you are from there. Please I do not want robbers in my house. Only God knows how they know when someone has travelled down from out of the country. Some say they atimes trail people from the airport. I still remember when they made away with my bag, my cell phone and a week’s worth f transport money when on my way to work early this year. I wouldn’t like to see them again please. I wouldn’t mind however to see them in the pirated films some cunning men make from films shot in your country and sell over here. But not in my house. I even heard that such piracy has even caused waves in Big time Microsoft. Who knows whether they are part of the reason why Bill Gates is no longer the richest man in the world? Well,if you are still persuaded on coming please do. You could stay in an hotel or you could chill at my place. Oh sorry my family’s place. These days it takes the grace of our Maker to help pay 2 years rent in advance just because you want to move out from our family home. What is even worse is the kind of dungeons that are offered for rent at ridiculous amounts. Since I have not been domestically red carded, there is no place like home (at lest financially speaking for now). So, Steve, if you think the love of your claimed and newly discovered roots is enough barricade against all these, please come back to your roots. If not, please not that in a public place cars are usually parked at owner’s risk. Wishing you a lovely time and please send me some dollars for all my effort. And please if you want to send it let me know before you do. Rumours have it that some have perfected the art of robbing others of their money sent to them from overseas by getting to the payment centres before them and giving false identities. I am doing quite well with God on my side. Things are quite interesting but they can only just as we pray and work at every blessed day, get better. Much love from your international buddy.
Kehinde Akintobi
234 08060631373

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