Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Misconception Based on a Single Story: The Actual Abuja I Discovered

Picture Credit: Chipper / Wikipedia
by Eta Uso, Jr.

I grew up in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Though privileged, my growing up years had very little travel experiences. My life basically revolved around the states of Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State. Even till this day, I think I have travelled more times abroad in the past five years than I have travelled within my own country (Nigeria) in the over twenty years of my life. Not sure if this makes me sound less patriotic or preferably, more like a Global Citizen.

Growing up, I was privy to tales about the city of Abuja from friends, cousins and yes, the print media. Tales of Abuja being the city of fantastic mansions, luxurious cars, fast money and furthermore, a city with the finest private parties with accompanying financial recklessness being often exhibited by the stupendously rich. Abuja was in simple terms described and projected as Nigeria's El Dorado and the repercussion was instant (citizens trooped in from different states within the country). I was often privy to tales of girls who went to Abuja one-day and owned Range Rovers the next day. And common tales of guys who often drove around with millions of Naira in the trunk of their cars and with an ease as that of a wink, will shut down (exclusively reserve) two to three night clubs in one night to celebrate their birthdays and will do it all over again the next day in celebration of a friend. I heard stories of females who would gather funds to hire a single cab to the now Transcorp Hilton and arriving with barely an assurance of cash on them to find their way home. These girls were often reported as leaving the Hilton overnight millionaires. Wow! The city of overnight millionaires I thought. Well, even with all the tales, I never for once nurtured the zeal to see Abuja for myself. Anyway, unknown to me, necessity will some day take me to Abuja.