Everyone had come from far and wide, grandchildren, children, brothers, sisters and some others whose relationship I could not define. Year fifty was no number anyone could discard because it meant ten years to another Nigerian milestone.
The streets beamed wealth, prosperity and care. Nigerian states had been consistently ranked as richer than even some Western countries in the past ten years. The setting for the Independence Day was grand and exquisite. No one raised any dust when the government budgeted a hundred billion naira as its own contribution to the Independence Day celebration kitty. Corporate Nigeria was committing 25OBillion naira. Considering the exchange rates, that amounted to about $500Billion. Nigeria could afford to go on a splurge for her independence day considering its wealth.
The President who had beaten his predecessor at the polls promised to forgive Nigeria’s debtors including Russia, Britain, France and a host of European countries, which resulted in most of the presidents being in Nigeria days before October 1st. My family had taken a mid-air jet from Ikorodu to the Lekki airport where we boarded an air-bus for Abuja. With a population of about 25million, everything looked very much in place and beautiful. ‘‘Sweetheart, what do you think is responsible for Nigeria’s wealth?’’, says my wife Camille, a former British model whom some of my relatives think got married to me to get a Nigerian passport. While that is absolutely wrong, a host of Nigerians had fallen for con men desperate to have the Nigerian passport via marriage.
In answering Camille’s question, I spoke about the Freedom of Information law that exposed numerous frauds some 35 years before now. The FoI law was a magnet that attracted too many politicians and business executives to jail.
One other factor has to be the creation of Industrial Parks across the various regions of the country. With each region focusing on products for which it had comparative advantage, Nigeria soon became a major exporter to virtually every country in the world. That worked effectively because the Power companies competed so well power was not just available, it was cheap and permanent.
Unlike in times past when people scrambled for political offices, many were busy running thriving businesses. Ethno-religious crises ceased because there were no jobless youths to be used. I went on until we all slept off in the car.
When the car came to stop at the Eagle Square, I found myself awake again. I asked my wife Camille – whom I had married mainly because I wanted to get the British passport – what she thought of Nigeria. ‘‘Nigeria at 50?,’’ ‘‘She will get there.’’ ‘‘I meant Nigeria in 2050.’’ ‘‘Nigeria in 2050, how do I know that?!’’
‘‘I know that. Nigeria went beyond there.’’ I was tempted to ask her whether she married me for my Naija passport, but I knew the answers anyway because I had no Nigerian passport.
Now, I want my Nigerian passport sharply, years before 2050.