The real Nigeria you never see

Countless media outlets highlight what is bad, amoral and ugly about Nigeria, leaving the good behind. As a Nigerian now living in the west, I know how to take everything I see on the news about my country with a grain of salt. I turn on the news, and almost every headline I read about Nigeria goes along the lines of “Nigeria in crisis”, “Hundreds dead in Nigeria”, “Terror in Nigeria”, and the long list of ugly and depressing headlines goes on. However, the media does not celebrate people who strive to change the country; people who believe in their home and are willing to glorify it at all costs.

Nigeria as a country is far from its negative illustrations, and before reading this, you must believe that too. Although I can’t deny that, to some extent, Nigeria really isn’t among the safest places to live. In fact, why would I leave home and move west if it was so safe, beautiful, and generally positive? The truth is, just like any other country (but mostly developing countries), the people are tired of their corrupt leaders and have decided to take matters of survival into their own hands. People have chosen to step outside the ethical norms of life in society and have started doing anything to survive, including crime… corruption, disregard for human rights, child labor and much more. Therefore, I cannot sit here and deny the fact that Nigeria is indeed a land that spawns a lot of crimes and inhumane actions. But it is home; home for me; home for so many other people who are born into that survival system; home for people who have no choice but to live a broken lifestyle; home for people who have no choice but to survive.

So even if I sit in my plush chairs and type freely and safely on my laptop in public, without any immediate fear for my general safety while sipping a pretentious but delicious drink from Starbucks out west, I can’t help but long for my home. in the East. I miss my family and hope that one day Nigeria will truly become a safe haven for all the people who have left. It is in my moments of caring for my country that I came across the amazing work of Devesh Uba (also known as Snap It Oga). In the last year, his name has spread on all social networks. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, he is everywhere and more importantly, he is everywhere due to the nature of the photographs of him.

In 2013, Uba, a street photographer from India, ignored the many negative labels often placed on Nigeria by the propaganda media, especially in its commercial capital, Lagos. This city is widely known as the second fastest growing city in Africa and is undoubtedly rich in diversity, culture, vibrancy, tourism as well as extreme population. Uba ventured from his hometown in India to the vibrant city life of Lagos, armed with no fear of all the negative information he had heard about the country, he traveled to the city on his own to work and live for a year.

“Before moving here, I spent a lot of time researching Lagos and Nigeria, only to be discouraged when I couldn’t find any positive stories or images. However, when I finally arrived and started spending more time in the city, I realized that there were several positive things about culture that most of the media conveniently ignores. There is art almost everywhere…in Danfos, on the streets, on shop signs, on school walls, etc. The people of Lagos “rushes” and does it with enthusiasm. he smiles. The colors of the markets are so vibrant and the ‘never say die’ spirit of the people here is so inspiring. The Nigerian love for food, football and music is just contagious,” Uba opens up about his immediate perception of the city. he lives in Lagos in a special interview for Spirited Pursuit (SP), a blog and social media hub for traveling photographers.

With this general surprise at how different Nigerians looked in person, Uba launched his widely known brand called Snap It Oga. However, he also states in his interview with SP that this name was not his creation, but “the first people I photographed in Lagos would say ‘Grab it, Oga!’ when I was looking at them through my camera viewfinder, the name just stuck, so I just kept going,” he explains. And for many Nigerians reading this, we can all agree that Snap It Oga is truly amazingly Nigerian and an invitation to the way its people are, as ‘Snap’ is a slang term. listen)) to ‘take the picture’ and ‘Oga’ is usually a name given to a foreigner, or anyone considered superior in Nigeria.

Apart from Lagos state, Uba has traveled almost everywhere in Nigeria, from east to west, and his reactions to the disparity between the people he knows and the people he hears about in the media seem to grow with each passing day in the streets capturing photographs. It is this difference in illustrations of the types of people who live in the country that inspired Uba to launch Snap It Oga, a blog space where he catalogs all the photographs he captures and shares them on his various social media accounts and his friends. followers, without any media filter.

In my opinion, Uba has the correct formula. Experiencing Nigeria and its people should be subjective, real and free from judgement. I am not saying that there is nothing true in Nigeria that you see in the media, all I am saying is that, like all countries, Nigeria is made up of people, and it is these people who define the country. It is unfortunate that we have let our perceptions of Nigeria be shaped by a select few bad people, while ignoring the majority of great and genuinely kind Nigerians. Uba also resonates with this, as he states in his SP article: “One of my worst memories as a photographer in Lagos was in the streets of Ajegunle when I was there to capture street art. The roads were pretty bad so our car pulled over. stuck in a pothole. Out of nowhere the ‘area guys’ surrounded us and started banging on the car glass hysterically. Somehow my driver was able to calm them down by telling them his brother lives down the street and has a salon at the local market.. We were finally able to get some help from some nice people who stopped by after all the chaos was over. I can’t lie though, that was the most awkward 20-25 minutes of my life. Despite this experience negative, I have had many good and positive experiences here in Lagos that make up for the bad ones”.

So even if danger is all that comes to mind when you hear or think of Nigeria, don’t let that deter you from the opportunity to visit one of Africa’s most culturally diverse and successful nations. Nigeria is made up of a deep-rooted tradition and culturally rich elements that will surprise and excite all enthusiastic and non-judgmental explorers who have the opportunity to visit its land. From the beautiful clear blue waters, incomparable ranches, incredible game reserves, hot springs, magnificent waterfalls, rich African history museums and much more, Nigeria has it all. So do yourself a favor, turn off the TV, plan that trip to Nigeria against all odds like Uba, and explore like never before.


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