Nigeria

2 05 2012

It has been a while since I have posted. I’m currently in Abuja, Nigeria waiting to fly down to Lagos. This is my second time visiting, but the first time I am leaving Abuja.

Nigeria, the little I have seen of it so far is a very nice country. Abuja is a city under development. Everywhere you look there is construction work. There seems to be a lot of half started new roads, and it looks to my untrained eye that instead of finishing the job, the equipment is moved to another location to half start another road. Nigerians talk about the development of Abuja being done in phases. To me, it looks like someone starts somewhere to make the people living there feel like they are very important and they too are getting a road. Also, in my opinion like in any country, when one government leaves the new government cancels all the old projects and starts their own. So you end up with lots of barely started construction sites.

I must say I have seen a little bit of improvement since last year. The roads to the airport were not as clogged as before, but that is maybe just because of the time of day I was arriving and departing.

The airport is of course also under construction, but I didn’t get hassled on my arrival this time. The domestic departure terminal is closed so they moved it to a small area on the international terminal. I have seen worse, Monrovia airport in Liberia after the war was ridiculous. People everywhere and absolutely no system. It has since improved dramatically. Juba airport in South Sudan was small, but they managed to make the process as slow as molasses. Nigeria has so much potential, but the lack of systems and procedures, as evidenced at the airport, is clearly holding them back. Actually, let me correct myself, there are systems and procedures, they just don’t work. Air Nigeria (formerly Virgin Nigeria) make you queue in three different lines just to check in. That is before you queue for security. And of course queuing means something very to a British guy. Queuing, to me, requires standing a good distance directly behind the person on front of you in single file. Like most countries I visit, and to a large extent America too, queuing means standing wherever, often next to the person in front of you and if possible using your elbows to get in front. I am not very good at this sort of queuing so I inevitably get pushed further and further backwards. However, I finally made it through after directing some traffic and being an obnoxious foreigner!

I’m really looking forward to Lagos. I have heard a lot about how busy and crowded it is. I am sure I won’t get to see too much, I’ll be stuck in a hotel while we provide a training. But I hope I will get a bit of a feel for the place.

More to come.

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