What’s Wrong With This Picture?

City of Lagos

Nigeria is like a man with many wives who when not competing among themselves for his affection (read: oil wealth), sit together and complain about his lack of attention (read: dearth of infrastructure). I am married to Nigeria and this is my rant.

From time to time, I enjoy entertaining. Friends were coming over for a bite. Nothing fancy I was told, but I pulled out all the stops including the china and cutlery, which sit in their cartons gathering dust and only grace the table when I want to impress. Anyway, six hours later, I had a three-course meal fit for a king and no guests. What’s wrong with this picture?

Earlier, dark clouds warned of impending rain but since I was neither the bride nor the groom that had rented an open field for their wedding reception in the thick of rainy season, my only concern was for the temperature of the oil as I fried plantain. When, thunder and lightning announced the arrival of a torrential downpour, I shut my windows and began to wait.

It turned out that my guests were stuck in traffic caused by blocked drainage channels. With nowhere to go, the rain kissed the ground and its waters rose, higher and higher, turning the roads to knee-deep rivers. Their SUVs were no match for the floods. Maybe Toyota will seize first-mover advantages by developing a new type of hybrid for the Nigerian market—Toyota Transformer: part landcruiser, part speedboat. Then Nissan, Honda, Kia, and the rest will follow! Far-fetched? Hardly. Inverters flooded the market when investors rightly assessed the gap in the power sector. 

ojogbon.wordpress.com.rain-rain-go-away

Disappointed that my guests didn’t show, I decided to watch a movie on TV. That power supply disappears moments after the sky darkens, was not new to me. That I had to generate my power supply, did not take me by surprise. My inverter was humming quietly and my generator was on stand-by. However, thirty minutes into the movie, the TV went into a convulsion—white lines, static, beep-beep-beep, before sudden death.  What’s wrong with this picture?

The rain, which had slowed to a slight drizzle, changed its mind and metamorphosed into a full-fledged downpour once again. I increased the volume of the TV to drown out the tap-tap-tap of falling rain and snuggled into my wrappa as the room became cooler. But nobody told me; you forgot to warn me about this before I packed my bags and returned to Nigeria, that like oil and water, rain and cable TV do not mix! When it rains, cable TV loses connection to the signal!

tv

Rainy season equals more traffic jams and power outages, with attendant loss in manpower hours and business opportunities. Rainy season means more visits to the mechanic. Rainy season equals (avoidable) flooding which results in suffering for displaced persons. Rainy season means… need I continue?

So you see, I have come to dread rainy season because it is fraught with frustrations that make me rethink my move back to Nigeria.

It is easy to forget that rainy season has its advantages. Rain-fed agriculture increases the farmers’ prosperity, and rain provides water for domestic purposes in areas where running water is scarce. Also, during the rainy season, cooler temperatures bring some relief from the stifling heat.

Well, after another rain-induced frustration, my son asked about the duration of the rainy season. I said that rainy season begins in April and ends in October. He quickly did the math and sighed in disbelief and disappointment.

“Six whole months!” he cried.

I tried hard to sound convincing as I recounted the blessings of the rainy season. I explained that countries with diminishing water resources like Egypt, would welcome a lengthy rainy season, and scientists were experimenting with harnessing energy from raindrops. I told him tales about dancing in the rain, singing rain, rain, go away, but, he would not be won over.

He moped around like a solitary figure shrouded with disillusionment. 

“Six whole months,” he muttered almost inaudibly.

Hey, what’s wrong with this picture? Go figure!

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Related links: Read Diekola Onaolapo’s Rain, rain…go away here

Photo credit:

The City of Lagos
Author: OOT, The official website of the Office of Transformation

Original image url: http://oot.lg.gov.ng/beta/?p=315

Flooded Street
Author: Diekola Onaolapo

Original image url: http://ojogbon.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/rain-rain-go-away/

Vectors from Microsoft

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