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. 


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!


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

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

14 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With This Picture?

  1. You don’t wanna know the half of my dislike for rainy season…
    You shoulda rang when your guests didn’t show…i’ve never been known to take a raincheck(pun intended) on food invites…
    That cable TV image is hilarious…pele dear…May our picture be better…
    Thanks for a good laugh once more.


    1. Do you dislike rainy season because of the lack of drainage, etc, that makes life difficult or do you just not like rain?

      Ha ha @cable TV image, that’s how I feel sometimes… as if our lives are on hold when it rains. I should have called my guests, but remember that mobile phones work erratically when it rains!

      I hope the situation improves next year.


  2. What’s wrong with that picture? EVERYTHING.

    What scares me most is the idea that we’ve come to accept the way things are as our reality – as though things are normal and the way they are is how they’re supposed to be. I refuse to agree.

    There’s hope though. Hope.

    Thank you. I like the picture. So grim, yet so inspiring.


    1. Seun true talk. I debate within myself sometimes before sharing these kinds of posts about dearth of infrastructure… haven’t these issues been “over” flogged already? Won’t people read and go *yawn, yawn*?

      By employing satire & giving the mundane a lively twist, maybe we can tinkle our sensibilities, we who have accepted the status quo. Do words have power?

      Seun, I’m rambling, but it shows that like you, I still have hope!

      Btw, photo credits- Diekola Onaolapo


  3. The heavy downpour of rain that leaves some parts of Lagos drenched has been a reoccurring thing lately. Residents in Lagos seem to expect this too, bracing themselves for the worst. And my! I had a good laugh when you hinted that the Toyota manufacturing company could exploit this rather poor and unfortunate situation by building the “Toyota Transformer”…you bet! Your comment reminds me of the Peugeot series. They say the ones shipped to Nigeria and some other African countries are ruggedly built to “jump and pass” the potholed roads that constitute for a good number of roads in this part of the world. How terrible!

    Love the pic for this post. It meant to be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records.


    1. What can I say? We seem to adapt pretty well to infrastructural challenges!

      Ah Uzoma, which photo? Is it the one that will inspire Toyota designers to make the first Toyota Transformer? All kudos to Diekola Onaolapo, who waded in the river to take this and other masterpieces!


  4. A lot is wrong with that picture beyond the rhetoric of “a centre of excellence”
    The habit of the ordinary man on the street is unbecoming…
    As guilty as we wish to portray the government at all levels, the mass of people need to take responsibility for their lives and environment.
    An Igbo adage says: A goat own by the community dies of hunger. And that’s the summary of our nation. Who is responsible for the environment? I doubt the government. Who dies when malaria ravages the communities? Who gets displaced during flooding? And, ultimately, who blocked off the drainage with poor sanitary habits?
    It’s high time we took charge of our destiny. Community effort!


    1. I agree with you Charles to an extent. We are the change we desire to see, yes.

      However we pay taxes for these services, which aren’t provided. I mean let’s take power supply for example. I pay my NEPA bill. Then the members of the estate where I live and I contribute money to buy a transformer! Then I buy diesel for my generator & I buy an inverter!

      Where I used to live in Oniru, all the houses were built in such a way that they were on a higher level than the main road. What this meant was that the flood never reached our lovely estates, but we all swam in the river until we reached the safety of our gates.

      The resident association came up with a bill of N10million to fix the drainage on our stretch of road. Of course if we fixed our road, we merely diverted the problem to another road because a comprehensive drainage system was non-existent.

      Until I left Oniru, none of the residents contributed to the N10 million “private development levy”. Mind you, rent in Oniru is not cheap. At the end of the day, our landlords merely raised the entrance to the various gates by several centimetres with cement!

      So yes, we the people should stop our unsanitary habits and stop blocking drainage channels. But people will be people. Even here in NL, sometimes people throw the wrong kind of garbage in the wrong waste disposal unit. I know people who received fines after the garbage was traced to them (because the city council found a letter addressed to them in the garbage lol!).

      Of course unsanitary habits are less prevalent here because of the policing, but more so, because people are used to a certain standard.

      So Charles, the summary of my long epistle is: let’s do our part, and let government do their part.

      Thank you so much for commenting. I feel you, we the people sha, we know how to blame government for everything! 🙂


  5. There is everything wrong with the picture, and with the picture frame. Nigeria and Nigerians thrive in chaos…I read somewhere that Lagos is experiencing 7 % economic growth rate annually , do you see the multiplication of exotic cars on Lagos roads? Yet the infrastructure is decaying…what’s wrong with the picture? I live in Johannesburg and when I look at Nigeria through the colored glasses of living in palace where things seems to work one can only believe that there is a “curse” in operation some where…well


    1. Peter, it is saddening. Instead of tackling the issues, we learn how to adapt, hence bigger jeeps to combat dangerous roads, while Toyota, Nissan, etc, smile on their way to the bank!

      I cannot remember Lagos & rainy season without man-made floods. But there is hope? At one time they were constructing/repairing(?) drainage channels along Ligali Ayorinde road… not quick enough though. The rains began, overran the construction, and that project was abandoned until…

      What’s wrong with this picture? The centre of excellence badge on the beautiful photo of Lagos State! But it may be a prophecy of better things to come…


  6. Lol! Osemhen, I am laughing with you. I guess you had to hold your shoes in your hands right? What an ordeal! But it isn’t funny. The rains begin a little earlier every year and last a little longer, meaning that we are inconvenienced for longer than six months. How difficult can unblocking/building drainage channels be?


  7. I’ve waded in waist-high water once. Rain fell all morning and I had a bridal shower to attend. Undeterred, I set out. 3 hours later, as I left the venue, the water swirled around my calves. There were no taxis or buses. Things got worse. The only bus available stopped a 30-minute walk from my house. I was on my own. I had to get home. I just kept praying I wouldn’t be swept away. I wondered if I should just give in and swim.
    I sha made it home. Washed myself in Dettol. Sat down to laugh. Lol.


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