By Tunde Jakande
I left london undecided weather to relocate to Nigeria or South Africa. I had not been to that country before but quite a number of my friends in london were moving to SA and even some white skin people I knew.
One of my best friends Kunle Oduntayo an absolutely fantastic musician who played for popular artist Lagbaja back then had moved to that country and became quite a sensation. I wanted to see him. I came back to Nigeria and a couple of months later, securez a visa to SA.
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An absolutely beautiful and well planned country. I stayed in a nice hotel somewhere in Randburg. I hope I got the spelling and name right. It was like I was in Europe . I was told the country had One of the highest salary structure in the world. I don’t know if its true. I took cabs alot. Visited the Mandela square, Sun city and a number of other terrific places. I loved what I saw and was pretty sure it would be a nice place to set up a business. However what impressed me the most was how proud the average South African is about their country.
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I was in a cab one day and started a conversation with the driver. He asked if I was a Nigerian and I said yes but my family and I lived in London. He asked about life in london and I told him it was nice but very challenging. I encouraged him to visit some day and stay. What for he asked? Sharply!
South Africa is the best country in the world. It is the America of Africa. People from countries all over Africa come here to make something of their lives . Why should I go to Europe? He asked. I felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed.
How many South African do we have in Nigeria? How many are your neighbours and friends? Nigerians are almost a million living in that country. They are everywhere. I need not tell you how Nigerians are perceived and my first visit was about ten years ago.
How many Nigerians can say I am proud of my country? I don’t mean in a patriotic sense. I mean in terms of real time quality of life. Take a drive round Lagos. Drive round the inner cities of Ajegunle, Mushin, Apapa Iganmu like I did yesterday, the squalour, decadence and under development is nauseating. This is not politics or being unnecessarily critical. It is the truth. Our leaders are the greatest setback and draw back to development.
Picketing south African companies will not make them respect us or stop the killings rather more Nigerians are applying for their visas. Those there are not hurrying to come back home either. Except we fix our country the maltreatment will not stop. It is only when we fix this country, an average Nigerian like the cab driver i spoke about will feel insulted if you suggest he travels out.