Abuja, the Capital city of Nigeria, is known for many things. Aside the fact that it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities that Nigeria boasts of, this ‘city of varieties’ remains the place to go when you’re NOT only interested in relieving stress but also in dire need of fine treats for body and soul. And not to also mention that just because you’ve decided to visit Abuja, you’re only a half ticket away from dining with the First Man in his very magnificent Aso Villa… (LOL!)
So, a while ago I visited this delightful city courtesy of the Association of Nigerian Authors’ 35th Anniversary International Convention – a four day event in celebration of Nigerian Authors, books and art. And you can guess that from the very moment I stepped into the city, all I wished was to stay for more than four days. If not for anything, at least to explore the very carefully planned city whose beautiful landscape I’ve only heard and read so much about. And so when it occurred to me that the program of event included an itinerary marked for the second day, I literally danced in the air and got my curiosity tools ready.
A fifteen minute drive from Garki, the main venue of the event was all it took to get to our first destination – the Writers’ Village at Mpape. And with the very large mass of land awaiting ultramodern residences for writers, well, let’s just say that the present and future days of Nigerian writers are glorious.
The second tour which was also my best experience was our visit to the Art & Crafts Village at Wuse. Here, there was much to feed the eyes on: baskets, raffia, sculptures, paintings, African textiles in different colourful shades of prints and patterns were all on display for sale and fancy. And since I wasn’t about to miss out of appreciating art the best way I could, I jumped to work without any caution. But unfortunately, I had barely started to click away when a familiar honk blared its signal to cart away its faithfuls, among whom I belonged.
“But we just got here!” I heard a woman scream to the air. She had sat behind me in the bus and had boasted to buy the entire Crafts Village to everyone who cared to listen. We both exchanged sad glances and as if choreographed, marched together to the symphony of another impatient blare.
Later that evening, while in a company of a colleague who never takes anything serious to heart, I lend my frustrations a voice.
“You won’t believe that I had barely taken two pictures when that driver honked for us to leave!”
“Take it easy girl. Count that one too all joy and part of your Abuja experience.”
With such a not so comforting comment, all I could do was frown into the night and swear at my notepad as I managed to write this post.