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OncE UpoN a TimE

By March 28, 2011Uncategorized

Do you still remember the time when the only TV station was NTA, and the options you had were NTA channel 10, NTA 2 channel 5, and NTA channel 7. That was a time when frank oliseh of “newsline” was more popular than today’s frank edoho of “who wants to be a millionaire” (who doesn’t). That was when Birdman and G – force looked like our modern day avatar, I mean the animation really looked crisp. That was when you would have a lot of friends coming to your house simply because you had cable TV or would be a classy bachelor if you had a video player (with some Indian films) at home.

Once upon a time paratroopers was the reigning game, and pacman wasn’t that bad, before mortal combat took over. A computer genius at that time was one who could power on a system, do some few things on a word processor, enter some basic commands and tell you the history of the computer(genius indeed).

Indeed if I look at where we are coming from as a country, when street lights was an endangered specie, when the price of oil per litre would not buy you the smallest unit of groundnut into today’s currency, when a football derby between Nigeria and Ghana would poll more viewers than a La Liga el clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, you will agree with me that a  lot of water has indeed passed under the bridge. Come to think of it, am still scratching it on the surface, have not mentioned our parents’ lamentation of the magic one naira performed in their own time.

I still remember the time when owning a NITEL telephone line made you achieve a cult status. You would have people booking appointment to take calls at your place. Then NITEL would occasionally come with their crazy bills as though to tempt your patience. Phone lines were so expensive the communications minister at that time actually said it wasn’t meant for the poor. Now thanks to technology and competition, the phones are so cheap that you could get a basic phone cheaper than the price of a scientific calculator. Thank God for the Chinese.

Once upon a time SIM cards were once more expensive than some of today’s hi-tech phones(God help Nigeria). That was when you had to use your minutes wisely and ensure your call doesn’t enter the next minute. A certain operator actually said per seconds billing wasn’t possible, today all that is history. Once again thanks to competition

Let’s not forget freedom. I still remember the time when mum was the best word when you are talking politics and a uniformed man pops into your corner. That was when “fellow Nigerians” was the appropriate and official way of greeting Nigerians. That was a time when those uniformed guys decreed a lot of things and it was indeed established on us. Job. Today our democracy might not be great, but hey, you could even stand in front of aso rock and call goodluck a bad boy(pls don’t try it o).

Talking about innovation, do you still remember when satellite TV entered the Nigerian market; their dishes looked so large you could mistake them for new architectural roof designs. The vast majority that couldn’t afford satellite or cable had their TV antennas suspended so high in the sky it rivaled the height of tower of Babel (the logic then was the higher it goes the more stations you pick, but some were so high you felt they were indeed searching for Heaven TV). Nowadays satellite TV is somewhat relatively affordable with competitive prices and their dish size has so reduced Spartacus wouldn’t want to use it as a shield on the battlefield.

So much for the history, some of them might sound funny, but one thing about Nigeria and Nigerians is that we quickly adapt to any system, and we so much get used to our system we forget our past and fail to appreciate our future. I hope to see a Nigeria, that in few years would be so developed and issues which we thought would never be possible would be a thing of the past.

I hope to see a Nigeria in the near term, where water pipes would start carrying more water than air, where power holding company would stop holding it and start distributing it. I hope to see a time in Lagos where agbeeros would wear suits and look respectable, molues would have factory fitted air conditioners and plasma TV, while danfos would be four wheel drive – they would all have standard bus stations with online booking. (It is possible; don’t say it is wishful thinking.). I mean I could just sit down in my office and check when the next molue would arrive at the bus station.

Hope to see a Lagos where I would wake up late by 7 a.m(in today’s standard) and still have the assurance I would make it to office before 8a.m  irrespective of my location thanks to a well structured railway system connecting the gamut of the state. A Lagos where traffic holdups running into 30 minutes delay would be ideal breaking news on the news bar.

I hope to see a time when there would be equal opportunity for everyone, irrespective of tribe, language or religion. When all industry monopolies would be broken and st Louis sugar would no longer be the only cubed sugar product available in the market. I mean Nigerians would have options in all ramifications.

I hope to see a new Nigeria where “I will construct roads, I will give you light, and I will sink boreholes” would no longer be manifestos, because everyone would have had the basic amenities of life by then.

I hope to see a Nigeria in the near future, when once upon a time, we would look back and thank God the country has made us proud, because we fought for our rights and took responsibility for our actions.

—- Oludare Gbenga Pius

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