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The True Nigeria You Never See

Countless media sources highlight the bad, amoral and ugly Nigeria, leaving the good behind. As a Nigerian currently living in the West, I know that everything I see on the news about my country should be taken with a grain of salt. I turn on the news and almost every headline I read about Nigeria is “Nigeria in crisis”, “Hundreds killed in Nigeria”, “Terror in Nigeria” and the long list of ugly and depressing headlines goes on. But the media does not celebrate the people who are working to turn the country around; people who believe in their home and are ready to glorify it to any length.

Nigeria as a country is far from negative illustrations and before you read this you have to believe that too. Although I cannot deny that to some extent Nigeria is indeed not one of the safest places. In fact, why would I leave my home and move west when it’s so safe, beautiful, and generally positive? The truth is, just like any other country (but especially developing countries), the people got tired of their corrupt leaders and decided to take matters of survival into their own hands. People have stepped out of ethical social norms and started doing whatever it takes to survive, including crime…corruption, disregard for human rights, child labor and much more. So I cannot sit here and deny that Nigeria is indeed a country that breeds a lot of crimes and inhuman acts. But he is at home; home to me; home to so many others born into that survival system; a home for those who have no choice but to live a broken lifestyle; a home for those who have no choice but to survive.

So even when I’m sitting in my plush chairs and typing freely and safely in front of my laptop in public, without immediate fear, while sipping a sublime but delicious drink from Starbucks out West, I still long for home. East. I long for my family and hope that one day Nigeria will truly be a safe haven for all the abandoned people. In my homesick moments, I came across the incredible work of Devesh Uba (aka Snap It Oga). His name has been all over social media for the past year. He is everywhere on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, and more importantly, he is everywhere because of the nature of his photos.

In 2013, Uba, an Indian street photographer, ignored the many negative labels that the propaganda media likes to attach to Nigeria, especially its commercial capital, Lagos. Widely recognized as the second fastest growing city in Africa, this city is undoubtedly rich in diversity, culture, vitality, tourism and extreme population. From her hometown in India, Uba set out for the bustling city life of Lagos – armed with no fear of the negative information she had heard about the country before – she traveled alone to work and live in the city for a year.

“Before I moved here, I spent a lot of time researching Lagos and Nigeria, but I was discouraged when I couldn’t find any positive stories or images. However, when I finally arrived and started spending more time in the city, I realized that there are many positive things about the culture that most of the media conveniently ignores it. There is art almost everywhere…in Danfos, on the streets, shop signs, school walls, etc. it smiles. The colors of the markets are so vibrant and the “never say die” spirit of the people here is so inspiring . The love for Nigerian food, football and music is simply contagious,” Uba said of his direct perception of the city. Life in Lagos in an interview with Spirited Pursuit (SP), a blog and social media hub for travel photographers.

With this general surprise at how different Nigerians looked in person, Uba started his widely known brand called Snap It Oga. However, he also states in the SP interview that the name was not his idea, but rather, “The first few people I photographed in Lagos would have said ‘Click, Oga!'” when I looked at them through the viewfinder of my camera ; the name just stuck, so I just ran with it,” he explains. And many Nigerians reading this, we can all agree that Snap It Oga is indeed incredibly Nigerian and an invitation to people’s journey as ‘Snap’ is a slang term (broken/pidgin English) for ‘taking a photo’ and ‘ Oga” is usually a name given to a foreigner or any name that is considered better in Nigeria.

Apart from Lagos State, Uba has traveled almost everywhere in Nigeria from east to west, and his reactions to the differences between the people he meets and those he hears about in the media seem to be captured every day he spends on the streets. photographs. This difference in the illustrations of people in the country inspired Uba to start Snap It Oga, a blog space where he catalogs the photos he takes and shares them with his various social media accounts and followers without any media filter.

In my opinion, Uba has the right formula. The experience of Nigeria and its people should be subjective, real and non-judgemental. I am not saying that there is no truth in Nigeria in the media, I am just saying that like any country, Nigeria is made up of people and these people define the country. It is unfortunate that we let a select few bad people shape our perception of Nigeria while ignoring the majority of great and genuinely nice Nigerians. Uba echoes this as he states in his SP film: “One of my worst memories as a photographer in Lagos was walking the streets of Ajegunle when I was doing street art. The roads were pretty bad so our car got stuck on a bump. They surrounded us out of nowhere “neighborhood boys” and started banging on the car window hysterically. Somehow my driver was able to calm them down by telling them that his brother lives on the same street and runs a salon in the local market. Finally we got some help from some nice people who helped the chaos it was discontinued after it ended, but I can’t lie, it was the most uncomfortable 20-25 minutes of my life. many great and positive experiences here in Lagos that make up for the bad ones.”

So even if all you think of when you hear or think about Nigeria is danger, don’t let that stop you from visiting one of Africa’s most culturally diverse and successful nations. Nigeria is made up of deeply rooted, traditionally and culturally rich elements that will shock and thrill any eager and non-judgmental explorer who has the opportunity to visit her land. From beautiful clear blue waters, unparalleled ranches, incredible wildlife sanctuaries, hot springs, magnificent waterfalls, rich African history museums and much more, Nigeria has it all. So do yourself a favor, turn off the television, plan a trip to Nigeria against all odds like Uba, and explore like never before.

Website: https://www.wingd.ca/

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