Monday, 10 September 2012

Nigeria’s Hollow dream: Chibundu Onuzo’s shameful blunder.

I was quite disappointed by an article I read recently on the UK Guardian credited to Nigeria’s upcoming young author Chibundu Onuzo titled 'Nigeria’s hollow dream'. For those who don’t know Chibundu Onuzo,her first novel ‘the spider king’s daughter’ was a critically acclaimed success story.
This 21 year old lady has a bright future ahead of her in the literary world; that is if she decides to take research more seriously before putting words on paper.

Chibundu’s article on UK Guardian talked about her recent visit to Nigeria after a seven year stay at ‘obodo oyibo’. Her write up was engaging and did give some true account of a lot of Nigeria’s huge challenges. BUT unfortunately, in order to add ‘jara’ to her article or perhaps impress the British editors of the UK Guardian, Chibundu adopted certain hurtful and callous exaggerations. 

What worsened the whole thing (in my opinion) is that this was coming from a young lady that was born and bred in Nigeria. If Chibundu was an ‘Akata’ born and raised overseas, I would have forgiven her.

Excerpts from Chinundu Onuzo article told the world that in today’s Nigeria, a burger costs an equivalent of £30. She also told them that at last years FELA on Broadway show held in Lagos, the cheapest ticket was pegged at £100.

Please, I could be wrong but if ANY Nigerian out there has ever spent N7,600 on ONE Burger and N25,000 for a regular seat at FELA’s broadway show in Lagos last year, PLEASE, I’ld like to meet you.

I did respond to Chibundu Onuzo’s article via the comments section and also on her facebook page. Dont know if she ever got to read it. Here’s what I posted:

"I just read your piece on the Guardian UK titled 'Nigeria's Hollow dream'- September 2nd 2012. In as much as I admire your writing skills, I urge you to endeavour to research properly in future. How can you tell your British/European host society that a piece of 'dry’ burger in Nigeria costs £30 (N7,600-at N254 to one British pound))? Where in Nigeria? I'm still hoping that was a typographical error, maybe you meant £3?

At KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) outlets in Lagos, a meal comprising of Burger, Chips with a 50cl drink goes for about N1,300 that's like £5. And it's still considered too expensive by average Nigerian standards.
You are a good writer but please don't join the league of African Diaspora writers that always try to 'impress' their western hosts or employers by exaggerating Africa's challenges to ridiculous heights.

At the end of the day, your European hosts will always consider YOU and your type (Black Africans) as one of us. So, whenever you romantically tell them how terrible Nigeria is, they will always end up seeing NIGERIA in YOU.


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