Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NAIJA TOUR (5)

Nothing out of the ordinary happened for the next forty minutes it took to get to Keffi, in Nasarawa State. The day was already badly burnt and nothing meaningful could be done with it, so I proceeded to the place that will be my hangout for the next three days, to have a much needed bath, and some home cooked meal, even if I had to do the cooking myself.

I had only been in this kind of situation once, when a night journey that was supposed to bring me to my destination by morning extended longer than planned. That was on a journey from Lagos to Port Harcourt, when I spent twenty-two hours for what should ordinarily be a twelve hour journey. This was gladly shorter than that, and though I made Keffi late, even missing the stop-bys at Abuja, I was content with arriving safely. The internet on my phone was still out so I put through a call to Airtel my data service provider for help, and spent time at other things, while waiting for positive response on my phone as well as from Airtel Customer Care Staff.

The twenty four hours I spent without data service was the longest of my life (okay, maybe in recent times). My friends who had my number called to be sure that I hadn't been kidnapped or that something worse hadn't happened, while those who didn't bombarded my Facebook inbox with messages, some careful not to mention anything that can be used by someone that could be with my phone, should it come to be that I was in the wrong hands. I even got the kind of message people get when it seems they won't see each other again, from a sweet lady, and even if I planned to delay my comeback online, I perished the thought just so I can hold her to her words.

I don't know if sometimes you wondered how life used to be before the advent of mobile phone use in Nigeria. I could remember vividly, but really it is difficult to reenact those now, especially with the use of the mobile/smartphone as an internet access tool. The world just simply stopped. I couldn't even go to a cybercafé to do all I needed to do online, like many people I know, for security reasons. I waited only, calling Airtel's Customer Care at intervals, only for them to politely insist that they are working on my line, when it seemed that that was the last thing they intended to do, if indeed they had plans to do such. 7pm that evening, I got sent a text message from my service provider intimating me that my case wil be treated and assigned me a number.

When by noon the next day, the situation didn't look to abate, and deadlines began to weigh down on me, I went into town for solution.  Everything was on the cards, a new phone, to make the Etisalat SIM card into a microsim card to fit into my browsing phone, amongst others. I was lucky to meet a fine couple at Keffi Roundabout near Total Filling Station, who were able to help restore the network on my phone. Once I could browse again, it felt like my life had been restored, and from then on to the next three days I spent in Keffi, everything besides my browsing worked seamlessly.

After visiting Nasarawa State for the first time in 2006, it had come to be for me like an adopted home, where I sometimes run to rest to escape the pressures of Lagos' hustle and bustle, while making brisk business by the side. Lafia was actually the first town I knew and  fell in love with in Nasarawa State, until I met Keffi. Like Bonny in Rivers State, and Oshogbo in Nigeria's Southwest State of Osun, Keffi can boast of uninterrupted power supply for days because it is host to a substation of one of the power companies serving Nigeria's Northcentral region, as is the case also with Oshogbo. Bonny is different because it isn't even connected to the national grid, rather it derives its power from the Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG company it hosts. 

The availability of constant power, coupled with the growing cosmopolitan nature of Keffi had over time knocked off the special status Lafia once held in my heart. Keffi is also noted for its peaceful nature, where the concept of NAGARI NA KOWA (everything in this town belongs to everybody) is alive and well, not only in thought, but in word and deed as well. Many attribute the relative peace in the land to the Emir of Keffi, Alhaji Muhammadu Cindo Yamusa II who unlike his peers is non-partisan, and highly influential amongst interest groups within his domain, that his word in regards to maintenance of peace is law. A few people I spoke with expressed fear that Keffi might begin to experience the level of insecurity found at different times in the past, as now with other emirates (even in Lafia, which is the Nasarawa State's capital) at his demise, unless he is succeeded by one much like (if not better than) him.


ANGWAN KWARA, KEFFI, NASARAWA STATE, NIGERIA


Keffi's development stems from the influx of civil servants from Abuja (Nigeria's capital) who would rather build a home there, than pay huge rent in the latter. Blue and White collar jobbers within Nasarawa and Keffi in particular have also contributed in no little way to the massive growth experienced by the town in recent times. For now beyond the sale of land by the indigenes, many of them have found business in the building of houses, especially using mud bricks, though modifying it to meet the demands of modern times; the market for cement and other building materials is also huge there because of the boom in the real estate sector that is fast turning bushes and forests into havens of architectural splendor and magnificence, at least as much as bungalows (which is what is mostly built there) can showcase. 

My intention, wasn't to spend three days, but it was difficult to say goodbye to that beautiful town and so I added a day, especially as a friend insisted I visited (the eve before leaving) "Zimbabwe" (somewhere I could surmise in the dark, would be between Abuja and Keffi), which he promised me will be a night I will never forget. He was right, for Zimbabwe can be anything you wish for it to be for you, and whatever happens there, stays there!

'kovich

3 comments:

  1. Very interesting story from this Naija tour of yours. It's been really worth your time and quite exposing.

    Earlier today, I made a post on Facebook on the worrisome problem of substandard/fake drugs taking over Nig markets. Coincidentally, you addressed same matter here. I hope we can be delivered from this menace.

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    1. This comment isn't supposed to be here. I had difficulty posting it your blog due to browser issues and I started opening different browsers on my fone. Then it was finally successful, but on the wrong blog post. Correction already effected.

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