This year I found myself watching (and enjoying) several episodes of Nigerian series, the relatively newer ones. From Skinny Girl in Transit to Rumour Has It, to an episode of Shuga in betweeen, I’ve had quite a fill. There were also some new Nigerian movies I watched. I have to give these ‘new school’ productions some accolades for their video quality, plot development and directing. It’s such a refreshing improvement from what we used to see on screen seven years ago.
If you are an ardent watcher of these type of series and movies, you might have noticed something similar by now: the intermittent aerial shots. You know, those few seconds when you get to view the city where the movie takes place (usually Lagos) from a bird’s eye view, the houses appearing like dots on the screen. At this point the views of the now-famous Ikoyi-Lekki bridge usually come in.
Yes, this bridge. The finishing touch to almost every Nigerian production in recent times.
I really appreciate that Nollywood is portraying the country in a somewhat good light and showing the rest of the world our different experiences. Now I can recommend them to someone who has never been to Nigeria and have relief that the person is not going to think we live in huts. Although these movies and series are quite nice, they may subconsciously give a false sense of reality.
The Lagos that is potrayed may look majestic from the top, but not so much when you have to come down to earth (literally) and experience some areas in the city relationally. Every region of this former capital of Nigeria does not bear resemblance to Victoria Island or Ikoyi. Ever heard of Badagry? There are communities in Lagos that, as we speak, do not have a good and pliable road, access to electricity, or even a proper school. This is happening in Lagos, a whole Lagos, the fast-growing economic capital. I’m not even going to talk about relatively less developed states.
Nigeria is a combination of so many paradoxes all happening at once. The richest country in Africa according to GDP that is home to Africa’s richest man and woman, is the same country that is speculated to become the poverty capital of the world. On one side of Third Mainland bridge there are beautiful expensive-looking houses and fancy parks, on the other side there are clusters of shanties built with bamboo sticks.
I’m not saying that you should not relax with a good movie every now and then. Enjoy them, but please do not let them unintentionally trick you into believing that everything is so sparkly over here. It’s not. These productions, unfortunately, are not the experience of about 152 million Nigerians who live on less than $2 a day. It is sad, but it is the reality of the state of the nation. If you were living in this fantasy land, please wake up and come out of your bubble. This is Nigeria.
Thanks for reading through.