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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Nigeria Always Leaves Scars (A Travelogue)


By Uche Nworah, Ph.D

If Nigeria was a woman, she will be a hard lover, difficult and impossible to love and please. Nigeria will almost be described as a sadistic lover who enjoys the pain she inflicts and does not care about it.

We were to leave Lagos Thursday midnight on a scheduled KLM flight to Amsterdam. The flight was full, and most of the passengers looked forward to continuing their onward journeys to other parts of the world. Everything was going to plan until ‘Nigeria happened’.

The flight got delayed for 2 hours due to what the Captain called airport operational reasons. Apparently, there were issues with the baggage handling. The Captain wasn’t quite specific but many of the passengers speculated that the baggages may have been loaded manually ascribing mechanical breakdown to the baggage haulage trucks. We will never know exactly what transpired except that nerves were already jarred by the time the plane taxied for take-off around 2am.

By the time we touched down in Amsterdam Schipol, I had missed my connecting flight to London just like most of the other passengers connecting to other destinations. Imagine a plane load of citizens cursing out their nation. Many had missed business appointments, family events and so on. Do you blame them? Someone was responsible for the 2-hours delay. The person obviously does not care and will do it again.

The airline apologized and issued each passenger miserable €15 vouchers. I was booked on to the next available flight that had space, and this was by 4pm meaning that instead of a 1-hour layby, I now had to hang around Amsterdam airport for another 8 hours.

In – between drinking €5 cups of hot chocolate, I visited McDonald’s to grab a burger. I took the free seat available and amused myself listening to a conversation amongst some traveling Nigerians. I wished that Nigerian government officials will be able to act as flies-on-the-wall and listen to such conversations to truly hear what Nigerians think about them and the country in general.

Their conversations were honest and brutal. They shared tales of their many scars inflicted by the Nigerian system. I did not hear any iota of patriotic feelings and sentiments. They were loud too as other people sitting at nearby tables could hear them. They cursed, booed and jeered Nigeria, the wicked, sadistic and unrepentant lover. I have been through this emotionally charged road concerning Nigeria so many times. My conclusion is that Nigerians behave like abused lovers. They never leave and when they do, they always come back.

Chief Uche Nworah, Ph.D | Travelogue | Amsterdam Schipol Airport | Friday, 1st September, 2023.

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