Saturday, November 29, 2008

A walk down the Muson Bridge

November 14, 2008 started out on a funny and a strange note for me. I was due for a meeting in Victoria Island slated for 8:00am. My driver showed up late, I had to drive myself (fortunately, he caught up with me as I was leaving my estate). Everything was going fine till we reached the over head bridge near Muson centre (the one you use to connect VI or if you are going back to Marina).

For some strange, reason traffic was just not moving (there was no accident or anything like that, we were just at standstill). We stayed in one place for over 20 mins. In between all this I had time to snatch a quick nap and snored too. When I could not take it anymore, I stepped out of the car and started walking down the bridge (sloping towards the Muson centre). For added measure, I left my phone in the car (not so business or Nigeria like)

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to find out what it felt like to stand by the road side and watch Nigerians hurry to work or to their various places of endeavor.

I share some of the things i observed with you folks;


a. Most of the people I saw were pensive; they had this worried look on their faces, ever serious. Some people sitting on the passenger side (of the vehicle) slept (I could swear I heard some snoring)
b. Very few people read anything (probable lost in their own thoughts). Most of those that had drivers slept. Women surprising had something to read. Most women had a bible in the back seat of their cars
c. In any case no one slowed down to ask me if anything was wrong (Lagosian no care). One or two persons wanted to but thought otherwise (who knows may be the way afraid, too many horror stories in Lagos you would say)
d. I saw 4 people that I knew; they all offered to give me a lift (which was quite comforting!)
e. Married couples in most vehicle had long faces (who knows may be the fought before leaving home or may that is the look of seriousness that they like to keep when going out)

a. Most of the cars were dirty, not washed ( i want to start a car wash business)
b. Most of the cars had one bodily scratch or the other (in some cases, it was a gash)
c. Most cars were wound up (guess everyone had air conditioners, it means most commuters spend more money on fuel and air-fresheners :- if not the cars would be hots, sticky and stuffy )
d. Most women drivers had they bags in front (partially opened that you could see the content;- it means they open to easy attack by area boys)
e. On the average , the users had “ROSE” serviette at the back seat with an umbrella
f. Most people had 2 phones (kept close to the gear section), a large percentage if not all spoke directly on the phone (no hands free - ummh)

Driving Behaviours;

a. The drivers honked when there was absolutely no reason too but they honked anyway
b. For some reason, some drivers still brushed the car tires against the culvert under the bridge (a lot of people need to take driving test in Naija - what happened to the driving schools)
c. A total of three accidents happened within the 45mins that I waited for my driver
d. No cop or LASMA staff was in site (yet there was some semblance of order that morning)!
e. After a few shouting matches, accident victims (ok they are not accident victims in the really sense of it, I meant those whose cars have been hit or scratched), entered their cars cursing then drove away (Its the Lagos way; Much Talk Less Action)

General Environment;

a. Looking down the bridge, you could see a muddy, dirty, stinking water with refuse at the edges (not one you would even wish you enemy to fall into – ok I exaggerate here but I am trying to say is the water down below was ugly to look at)
b. The roads were littered with paper, empty pure water sachet everywhere
c. People worked briskly past me, no good morning or even “Hi”(ok lets be fair I didn’t greet anybody either)

What about me the "keen" observer

a. Let’s be honest I was a little bit uncomfortable; I was wandering what would people be think about me, was I lost?, some people may have recognized me but because they were in a hurry and did not want to lose time, decided to sneaked by (just remember I saw you guys!)
b. It was nice experience, I saw some business opportunities (don’t know if you should be sharing with my thought with you here though if you go through this article carefully you can pick a few things or two but what the heck why bother you, when you have your own problems anyway)
c. Having done this for the first time, would do I it again?. Yes, Yes, I will. I see what they mean by perspective changes things. November 18 changed some of my perspective. Has it changed yours?

In the end, got into my car and some how got to my host by 9;15am. Did i tell you Ileft my house by 10mins to 6am. I apologized to the person I was meeting that I was stuck in the usual Lagos traffic (don't know if he believe me though),

I just did not tell him about my Muson experience but at least am glad that the I was caught up in traffic for once!. Please let me know what you think and if have any similar experience, please share it with me. Xman

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So what happens when there is an Emergency?

So what happens when there is an Emergency?

Let’s be honest, you probably have not bother to ask yourself this question of late, and the reasons most probable are that; you are too busy (ummh that phrase again), you just don’t care (you would not believe it ,but some people don’t just care!) or you just have not really given it a thought!

If you are like me, the first and third reasons rank high amongst my own reasons but if you don’t have any, you are not alone; your decision to read this blog may start you thinking about it. However an event two weeks ago changed all that for me. It taught me that, I was not prepared mentally, physically and even strategically to do anything during an emergency.

So you can imagine my rude shock two weeks ago at the hospital. Me and my wife had gone to pay my brother-in-law’s wife a visit in the hospital. She had just put to bed. I had also in one breath,wanted to see the doctor because I was not feeling very well.

When we got to the Hospital that evening, it was total chaos, nurses we running helter sketcher, hospital attendants where shuffling up and down. You may ask what is the responsible for this pandemonium. Well look no further, it’s a gentleman huddle in an ambulance outside the hospital premises, writhing in pain, blood splattered everywhere, half of his body burnt, yes let me say it again: HALF OF HIS BODY BURNT!

Immediately we saw him, we were overwhelmed with emotions, immediately the malaria I thought I had, just evaporated; they told us that we could not see the doctor. It suddenly struck us that the hospital had only one doctor on duty that evening (just imagine that!).

On further investigation, we discovered that the gentleman is a staff of Guinness Nigeria Plc and had just been involved in a Plant accident. For almost 30 minutes, the staff of the hospital and those of Guinness were just running up and down. My heart bled for the victim and the nation as a whole, many questions rushed through my mind

Q1. when the accident happened, didn’t Guinness not call ahead to tell the hospital that they were coming. This accident was in their Ikeja plant and the hospital we are talking about is also in Ikeja! (Just 30-45mins drive away). So what other notice did they need. The hospital was on a retainership!

Q2. How come only one doctor and 3 Nurses where attending to him (You need see how they were struggling with the patient)

Q3. The patient had lost blood and was in pain, we could hear his cry and nothing it seems could be done (The medical team was just out of their breath (or should i say depth), this incident took place on a Friday evening, I am not sure they could even get an emergency (visa/evacuation) order to take him out the country or to Abuja National Hospital?

Before we get all religious (“God forbid” as is always our first response to this type of incidents) what are you going to do? What could you have been done, should you find yourself in that situation or some loved one?, These are questions I believe must running through your mind too.

Let me ask you, how do you feel when you are watching a home video and someone faints or collapses from a hit or gunshot and you see their family, friends or by standers are just screaming, shouting “ Mo gbe o!,” Chineke me” or other forms of ethnic exclamation of shock or surprise. Angry? Speechless….

Please do not say it cannot happen to you or someone you know, remember the Ikeja Bomb Blast! (Strange coincidence; I was in Maryland that day too).

How prepared are you for emergency? That is the question for today. How prepared is your family? When there is an emergency? Do you just scream or do you call a doctor, do you call a friend, do you call police. If the answer is YES to any of these questions, then do you have the names & numbers handy? Who and what numbers do our children call?

I know Econet (GSM provider) some years back were involved in a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of some sought in this area but am not sure they are doing it anymore? Can Gov. Fashola take this up in Lagos again? Lastly, how prepared is our country for emergency?.

Why don’t we discuss these type of issues in Churches and Mosques? Or are our priorities so high up there we don’t have time for these earthly things anymore, If it can happen to Guinness Staff and in Lagos, what about ordinary citizen? Please let me have your comments.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My First Blogging Experience

How things have change! Before now, i always wandered what it would be like to put up an article in a Nigerian newspaper?. Would the editor consider my article or letter worthy to be published or would it be amongst the numerous correspondences he/she received daily that would always end up in the trash can?.

I guess like every ordinary citizen, i was just afraid how i might come across (grammatically) around the globe. I cringed that the day my article would be printed, friends and even other readers may not receive it very well. Who knows whether i would be out of town, outside the country or may not be able to afford to buy the correct newspaper before i my article is published. There were just too many questions....

But thanks to new innovation in technology, i need not worry myself sick about it anymore. Blogging is the new way out of the log jam expressed above. Blogging for me is a whole new experience, it has opened up a new horizon for me and my generation to be heard (I cross boundaries) .

Within minutes i can comment about any topic on earth that interest me. My audience now covers a wide spectrum of people (not limited by age, time, sex or demographics) and i can not wait to share my thoughts with them.

Let's be honest, how many people still read newspaper articles in Nigeria? except of course people that are rich (that it is a status symbol for them), okay may be retirees that have "nothing" to do but need to find something to occupy their time.

Why bother reading reading newspapers when all you read is doom and gloom. You end up angry at happenings in Nigeria and Africa as whole. By and large newspaper is left for automobile and telecom advertisers and the long legion of applicants who scan for job vacancies daily and sport enthusiasts that read only the sport column (of which 80% of the story is about football!), who then read newspaper articles in Nigeria except of course Politicians to further their own end.

Blogging am willing to wager was developed for ordinary guy like me (not all of us are as crowd pulling like Dele Momodu or Reuben Abati), Blogging basically puts you and me on the map. If you are reading this article or just happen to stumble on it; Let me say welcome to my blog; i have quite a lot of things to offer you. For one i consider myself to be young, urban, ready to communicate.

My blog would basically share my day to day experience ( Though i would from time to time tie some of my experiences to my christian faith), a diary of my travel experiences (which are not many but would be soon) and a small dose of politics (it is actually difficult for many us to continue to claim we are apolitical) and whatever comes to my mind that i believe is worth sharing.

In my later life, i hope to be a writer and a public speaker, writing blog for me is my first step towards actualising those goals.

Please join me for the adventure, it may be bumpy but it would be an exciting experience all the same.

Please let me know what you think about my blogs, i am currently trying to decide what type of face lift i would give this page to keep you glued. So if you consider it bland right now (I would not take offense), not to worry all that will change by the end of this month.

Till i hear from you stay blessed.

This is wishing you and your loved one, Happy Independence

Suleiman Shaibu (Xman)