I got to go home to Nigeria this summer. As usual, the week before I left, I was hit with the realization of how much I missed being home and all the stuff I could have in Nigeria that I couldn’t have in the US and was just beyond excited to be heading home. With that in mind, I endured the 7hour flight to London, then the 6 hour flight to Lagos. Never mind how much I hate those long flights, way worth it for the month in Nigeria, right? And then I landed.
You probably know this landing if you travel into Nigeria at all, you get out of the plane and are hit by the HEAT. It’s way different from just about any airport I’ve ever been to but it wouldn’t be Nigeria without it. Things seemed to be going exactly the same and then…rain…INSIDE the airport; a puddle of rain water, inside the airport! The roof in the International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria was leaking in the middle of rainy season.
Why are we like this? I just can’t imagine this happening anywhere else. Surely with all the rain Nigeria gets in July, they must have known the roof might leak. This is the first impression that tourists or investors get of the country. Is it really too much to ask that one not need an umbrella inside a building?
A leak in a roof is not a big deal in and of itself, it’s actually a sign of a greater issue I believe we must tackle in Nigeria, as Nigerians- a lack of maintenance culture. Just about every public building, in Lagos at least, is in disrepair and I truly don’t understand why. In addition, I was heartbroken to see BRT buses with broken windows. ‘This is why we can’t have nice things’, I thought to myself.
As a further example, while in Nigeria I also took driving classes at AA driving school and boy oh boy- the cars! Speedometer- not working, rearview mirror- non-existent, and I’m not talking about just one lesson, this was for 2 weeks straight. The car broke down at least twice while I was driving. This from one of the best driving schools in Lagos, how is that even ok? Now I don’t mean this as a bash-fest. I really want to know how do we as Nigerians change this issue? I believe the change will come from learning to take ownership, particularly on the job. Fine, you don’t own the company you work at, but you can treat things carefully and if something is damaged then make sure it gets fixed.
The way I see it, whatever I see in your organization, whether you’re the cleaner or the CEO, reflects on you. I really believe that if one of the instructors at AA had taken ownership of keeping the car maintained, I would have had a speedometer while driving (really though, how does a speedometer even break? Lol).
However, regardless of how much ownership we take, there are limitations. For example, no matter how much ownership I take, I can’t fix the roof at Murtala Muhammed Airport (or can I? Maybe I’ll keep y’all posted :p).
So which way? Am I the only one that’s noticed this issue? And how do you all think we can tackle it?