A #ThrowbackThursday worth doing is always worth doing well, so as this is the last day of the year, we thought – why stop at looking at the past year? Why not look back to more glorious times and strive to recreate a Nigeria that we can be proud of?
Between Boko Haram, bleaching cream and bad-ass traffic jams; between yams, goats, Orubebes and clothing allowances; subsidy in, subsidy out, and serious Aristo shenanigans, I’m left with a Nigeria I do not recognise, a Nigeria that is a mongrel, a bastard of a nation that has no father and no heritage.
We could wax lyrical from now till eternity as to what caused it. We can sit here and talk about the white man, the rising cost of living or just ascribe it to spiritual goings on; I will leave that to the expert to deal with.
But while they are doing that, why not be the change you want to see? Strive to own at least TWO pieces of native attire native to YOUR birth place, not just the indiscriminate white lace material (unless you’re a Yoruba Demon, in which case you’re excused; do you).
Perhaps give your child a name that speaks strength and success into their lives? We are blessed to still have names that are translatable, so maybe have children who answer to: warrior, joy, strength, peace, quietener of sorrows, overcomers, bringer of dignity, pride and family elevation.
Seriously, if you name your child ‘Apple’, ‘Ebelebor’ or ‘Room 419 in Protea Hotel Where You Were Conceived’ in 2016 because you heard in some Wendy Williams show that the celebs were all doing it, may the spirits of a thousand cockroaches infest your crotch. Selah.
And if you insist on being referred to as ‘Hartheybympeh’ because Adebimpe just seems too common for you…well, don’t call anybody if random people just walk up to you and slap you. This is the year of a new Nigeria that looks like the old one. But better. Collect your slap and keep it moving.
Learn to cook a complex dish of your birthplace. Not everyday Indomie noodles; some days ekpang nkukwo, ikokore or ukodo. This advice is NOT gender specific.
Speak your language to your offspring. Insist they respond in the tongue of their fathers. Communicate with them in proverbs. Tell them a story; Mr Tortoise still has some sense to impart yet.
Done all that? Excellent! Now that you’ve done your part, here are some pictures of why all of this is a matter of life and death. With the most humble of thanks and a heart filled with gratitude to Olayemi* of Nigerian Nostalgia. Thank you for the memories.
1. Ben Ekanem’s equestrian statue of Queen Amina at the National Theatre, Lagos, 1980
2. University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. Greatest Ife! Looking like it was actually built to a plan
3. University College Hospital, Ibadan. c1960s
4. Ain’t it though?? Vintage transport system
5. The London and Kano Trading Company in Lagos
6. The Lagos Railway – 1900s. The green grass of my home.
7. The Lagos-Kaduna railway. Taken in 1936, this picture holds significance for me because I heard that my grandfather was a railway manager and I used to think “Of where to where? Where are the trains? The tracks?” Now I know.
8. Shades of Swagger 51- From a Nigerian great, Studio portraiture by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere ca 1968
9.Regiment of mounted armed guards in a procession during the festival of Sallah – Katsina, Nigeria
10. Old carter bridge, Lagos. There’s literally…EIGHT vehicles on that road
11. A Northern Nigerian lad, circa 1950s.
12. Northern Chief talking on the telephone Kano, Northern Nigeria, 1937
13. It’s not Brazilian, but it’s beautiful
14. Nigerian leaders and government, all seated nicely like good boys.
15. Nigeria Airways Fokker 28 at Calabar Airport, 1970s. Proper ladders and everything…
16. The River Niger at Jebba, 1930.
17. Mary Slessor’s house. For no reason other than the fact that it is still standing. We did it then, we can do it now.
18. Mapo Hall on Mapo Hill, Ibadan.
19. University of Ibadan looking simply pristine in the 1960s
20. Lugard Memorial Hall, Kaduna. Fashi the name, isn’t it a beautiful piece of architecture?
21. Lagos harbour, 1974
22. Lagos Airport
23. Kano Mosque in the 1960s, Nigeria
24. The historic and magnificent city of Kano.
25. Itsekiri wa do! Well dressed women of the Itsekiri tribe circa 1910 – looking flawless.
26. Independence fountain on the main road leading into the city of Kaduna, Nigeria. I wonder if it still flows…
27. Ikorodu express way in the 1970s. I can imagine Lagosians looking at this like it’s some sort of dream!
28. Ibadan as the capital and the seat of government, Western Nigeria.
29. Humuani Mosque, Lagos – 1933
30. Hair braiding and the trailblazing styles that were available – 1960
31. Gurara Waterfalls, Minna, Northern Nigeria
32. General Post Office, Lagos – 1973
33. Fulbe women, Zaranda village, east of Jos, Nigeria
34. Fulani milkmaids 1960s-1970s
35. Royalty and magnificence at the Emir of Zaria’s palace in Kaduna – 1973
36. Delta woman wearing damask in 1977. My mama get this cloth o! 🙂
37. CKC – Christ The King College, Onitsha Central – 1961
38. Central Bank of Nigeria, Lagos. It certainly was the Centre of Excellence
39. Carter Bridge – street scene – Lagos Island, 1950s.
40. Barclays and Shell Petroleum buildings, Lagos
41. A stunning view from Ikoyi Park, Lagos
42. Asaba-Onitsha ferry crossing, 1959. Just all nice and civilised!
43. Yoruba woman in traditional aso-oke attire. Just look at the gold!
44. A Northern Nigerian chief with his family in 1910
45. A man and a lady on a motorcycle in 1969. Now that’s how you do okada with class!
46. Chief Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh, one time minister for finance. I’m not sure about his young accessory, but he was certainly known for his flamboyant dress sense.
47. A group of Igbo warriors in ancient battle-ready war attire, 1956
48. The Western House of Assembly, Ibadan; once the seat of governance for Western Nigeria
*Olayemi – wealth/prosperity/abundance befits me. You see wharram saying now??
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