So I'm back in the US and I have some thoughts on Nigeria. Before I start, let me go over the final days of the trip. Once I was back in Abuja, we went to a Chinese food restaurant that was playing country western music. That was quite odd. The food was really good, though.
After getting back to London, the 4 of us (me, my mom, Uchenna and his gf) went to this really nice restaurant in the Mayfair area to celebrate the New Year. We didn't see the fireworks, but it was alright. We've seen fireworks in so many places (most impressively in Sydney), that I'm ok with not having seen them.
Ok, so about Nigeria. I was talking about this with Uchenna, and he has a very interesting theory about Nigerians in general and the problems they have in their country. It's very interesting and I can see where he gets it from. In short, he thinks that they hold themselves in too high a regard and they can't really extend their thinking to include big picture items like working for the good of the country or things like that. These are of course
generalizations, but I think that they are fairly accurate. There are numerous examples of this that we saw over the trip, like the terrible conditions of some of the NATIONAL and STATE highways, the complete lack of maintenance on any number of other utilities and infrastructure, the fact that there's nowhere in the country with 24/7 power (seriously, how can this country sitting on all that oil have power problems??), etc etc.
This isn't to say that there isn't a sense of community. At the town and village level, it's remarkable (something that my brother mentioned, too). But people's thinking rarely goes up to state level and almost never goes up to a national level. It's just a bunch of people in pockets of areas that are only loosely associated with each other. My brother thinks that all of it is a symptom of the tropical climate and the overabundance of resources.
In any case, I'm glad that I got to know my family, but I'm still not a fan of the country. There's a lot that they need to do and it definitely won't be easy. A lot of Nigerians (including my dad) say that they need an "Obama" president of their own to change the thinking of the people in the country as a whole. I agree, but I think that the it's such a deep-seated problem that that person, whoever it is, will probably have to be even better than Obama at inspiring people.