Africa viewpoint: See no evil, report no evil

People attend a street carnival at Tafawa Balewa square in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos 30 April 2011

In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Sola Odunfa savours the party spirit and life in Nigeria away from the headlines.

I stumbled into a health therapy of immense efficacy several days ago and I am determined that until I feel the hole in my pocket, nothing except an earthquake or - God forbid - an al-Qaeda attack will yank me out of the state of peace I have found myself in since.

I have taken a holiday from writing reports of riots, murders, thieving government officials or other examples of man's inhumanity to man.

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I do not complain either about contaminated water from the public system - there is enough table water for purchase in the shops”

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Believe it or not, all I did to attain this state was purge my mind of the continuing distasteful post-election reactions in Nigeria, keep off newspapers and television news programmes, watch comedy and sports, attend birthday or wedding parties and stay in bed for as long as my eyes would remain closed.

The effect is a miracle!

I have been feeling so healthy and completely at peace with myself and my environment that I am wondering if I have not relocated.

I hear no evil, see no evil, think no evil, feel no evil and speak no evil.


All I do is to reconcile myself to my environment unquestioningly and look out for only the good things around me.

In the past few days nobody has heard me complain about lack of public electricity - I merely fill up the generator and switch it on each time the government takes away the supply.

I do not complain either about contaminated water from the public system - there is enough table water for purchase in the shops.

A man dressed like a clown holds an advertisement on a road in Ikoyi district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos 21 April 2011 Sola's been taking a break from the congested streets of Lagos

I try as much as possible to avoid driving in heavy traffic - that way I am not exposed to the frustrations of other drivers.

I have chosen to smile all day. I tell you - it induces a good feeling about life and about oneself.

I was first introduced to this mood by last month's royal wedding in London.

I had been persuaded by the previews on BBC World and Sky News that watching it would be a good experience. And was it!

I settled before the television set in my living room at about 6.30 in the morning.

My wife and one of our daughters joined me three hours later.

We stayed glued to the TV coverage till four in the afternoon.

There was pomp. There was pageant. There was fashion and there was dignity.

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I hope that by the time I come out of this psychological paradise things of old would have changed”

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Above all, the joy and enthusiasm of the millions of people who either lined the streets of central London to catch a glimpse of the couple or staged their own royal wedding parties in parks and gardens across England warmed the heart.

These were people one would describe as "ordinary" in the sense that they were not public officials but they came from all over the world on their own volition to share in the joy of humanity.

After that experience I craved the opportunity to escape from the harsh reality of daily life in a disorganised country and to simply savour that which might have been had mankind not earned itself a kick out of the Garden of Eden.

I hope that by the time I come out of this psychological paradise things of old would have changed.

Wanton bloodshed would have stopped.

Greed would have been minimised.

People everywhere would accord one another a little more respect for their dignity.

Oh, even these thoughts do not suit my current mood.

I wish all a peaceful, joyful week after which I will return to life as it truly is.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

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    Anytime I read through comments on Nigeria, the impression is that we are a pariah nation! There are lots of good things about us which are never reported. Well, bad news is good news to a journalist and news worthy to a media house. A good number of these accusations are simply not in our character!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    In addition to watching TV, Sola can also savour the new night life of Lagos or take a vacation at Ogudu Cattle Ranch or visit the new Garden City, Port Harcourt or the new world class entertainment centre in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Admittedly there are still many rivers to cross, but we must remain positive and believe in ourselves. Certainly the days of bad governance in Nigeria are numbered.

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    Comment number 3.

    I agree with you Sola. Sometimes you need to stay away and clear your mind of negativities. There are sometimes that I go out and see a lot of crazy stuff happenning and I just go back home. Once in a while we need to purge our mind of negativity in order to experience the peace of nature.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Good for you Sola. But isnt this a testament that you have been overly pessimistic about your fatherland in your writings? Sometimes, it seems that you are competing with some others to be the most Afro (Naija)- pessimist in the world. If only you could lighten up a bit, you will realize that despite all the doom and gloom, Nigerians are still, apparently, one of the happiest people on earth.


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