Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Nigerians??? (Visa wahala)

I haven't had access to my laptop and the internet for 2 weeks and so happy that my frustrations of days past can be typed out in this post. I went to China for about 10days and as much as I loved the place, the people, the desire to develop and overtake the West, the fact that without democracy they have made the most economic growth of any 3rd world country and honestly, the China I stayed in was 1st world, more developed than the London, I've been to.

And to think that we Nigerians abroad brag about Lagos and Abuja being developed. I concluded that both ciies are slums (another post to come!) in comparison to what I saw. All the ASA (African Students Association) African week is just an ttempt to hide the truth. I started African week in my school and returned from Asia wondering what it is about being African that I love: mostly (though not totally) corrupt govts, rigged election, poor healthcare, NEPA (never had 24hrs power before), desperate attempt to be everything Western (Nollywood, Koko mansion and Ashionye's accent, lol!) and the long list of BS.

China made me curse my citizenship. I am extremely pro-Nigerian, carry my visa-filled green passport with pride(2 passports and even for 4hrs in frankfurt airport, I had to apply two weeks in advance for a visa) , and struggle with maintaining my accent: Hausa preferably. I intern in Nigeria not Rockefella centre, NY, addicted to Bellanaija, Thisday online, and Mimi magazine (for the sake of knowing what progress is being made on our continent), and unlike most of my friends, I wear traditional ankara pretty often to class.

Everyone in my school who was going to China just had to fill a form and send their passport to the travel agent who did all the runs. I did the same but got an email asking me to send my bank statement as well as two letters from China. Wait oh, this was a study abroad program and out of a group of 21 students, only one had to look for Chinese people to write a letter plus bank statement loaded with Naira and dollars. My father is just an honest civil servant and I am on a full schorlarship. Honest money doesn't mean loaded bank accounts.

My professor went through the trouble of getting the letters with the help of my Chinese friend, while I had to send a statement that had a decent amount of money BEFORE I paid for the trip. Note, NOBODY ELSE went through the extra jara.

I had to call and text all my relatives to join hands in prayer for my visa. At this point all, I needed those London churches I used to make fun of for praying for 'papers.' Trust my mother, she shared the issue in church and Elders added to the prayer dose.

Nothing made me sadder, when my professor handed everybody else's passport on the first day of the summer program. ALL but mine. The second Asian country that we were heading to after China didn't require visas for everyone oh wait, EXCEPT ME! The Nigerian. I was too embarassed and sometimes sat in my corner in the bus just to cry while forgetting the lyrics to our national anthem.

Lemme just say I got my passport two days before the trip and I couldn't even finish the trip because the agent forgot that I needed a visa for the 3rd country that the group was visiting. I stayed in China alone for two days which I didn't mind: it was Radisson, a five-star so I was being a diva/ African princess but sad that I was forced to be there because I was and am NIGERIAN.

I ran out of excuses to be patriotic. One black guy even joked about my getting a US Passport (that was like insult upon injury to my green passport, plus I have issues with being an immigrant in America). I could have slapped him but he was right, after three years of trying to prove to Americans that I rock, and 'Naija for Life,' 'Naija until I die,' tshirts, music, African week, and facebook profiles of patriotism, I broke down and cried on the 500thread count sheets of our five star hotel while everyone went to GT Banana Club, Beijing to party it out American style.

Democracy day (May 29th) was during my trip and I was in a Communist country, mesmerized by the awesomeness/ advancement of the place and wondering why the heck people overate democracy. 10 years with nothing to show, and my passport need a visa and its wahala plus public prayers every time I want to fulfill my wishes of travelling the world.

I love my country but it could really need some UNSUCKING!

18 comments:

mehn! those are the chronicles of being Nigerian. i think democrazy day is actually the 29th

I feel your pain honestly. Sometimes it is really hard being Nigerian especially when you are out of the Country. People hear the name "Nigeria" and questions start to fly out..some assume you have 419 ties and tendencies. That green passport does not help matters . I love Nigeria don't get me wrong but sometimes I think we are like a naked woman who walks on the street but lies to herself that she is dressed up in designers.

Yep. That is what we go through! I don't even care anymore. Take it or leave it I am a Nigerian.

It's funny you wrote this post. because before last yr. I had no problems traveling because I am Nigerian-American I have the green and the blue passport. It wasn't until a close friend of mine tried to come to yankee last summer and was rejected twice, honest money and a good background doesn't mean ish sometimes. All frustrated I told my pops. he shrugged and said it is their country they can do as they please, and Nigerians behavior and corruption has made it worse. My friend sadly told me "Welcome to my World." In short I am proud to be Nigerian, but love the choice. E go betta one day sha.
Ag

I totally understand how you feel. I have been going to Europe for a while with my Nigerian passport and they will question me for about 10mins each time on why i was there etc BUT i recently got my American passport and the difference is CLEAR! It only took me a min to go through customs! no silly questions.. no nothing! I tell you eh I just couldn't believe it afterwards.

Ooh! blogger! (It wiped my message, and this is not the firsttime!). Ok, thank Go you are ok.It's been a while. Then, sorry you had to go thru all that because of our nation's carelessness (i wanted tosay uselessness).
Keep repesenting though. Your actions are appreciated. The vey best.

I totally understand sha. I went on a study abroad program and when the others could travel to the neighboring countries I could not case I did not have a visa. I wasn't that disappointed sha. I just take the whole thing in stride. Such is life. Well such is my life as a Nigerian and even if I eliminated all of my visa wahala by getting another passport, life will still throw you lemons now and then. If it's not visa wahala then it's some other type of wahala- health issues, family issues, financial issues e.t.c.- So you just have to look at the big picture.

Furthermore, I'm at a stage where I realize that I don't need to convince others about why my country is great. I don't need others to validate my person or my nationality and I don't need to convince others to love me or love my country or anything of that sort. If dem wan give visa ok, if dem no wan give, na dem sabi I go visit another country where dem go give me visa or where I don't need a visa ( Senegal anyone?)

Canada better do gimme my own oh!
Traveling with my cousins is no fun. Everyone goes swiftly like say them get American express, when it reaches chayoma's turn, my green passport causes holdup, with downright "what-the-heck-r-u-doing-here stares" as the cherry on top.
But i still love my country......

I wont be surprised if Ghana will ask us soon to have visa to get to thier country!

I am really ashamed of how our name has being dragged into the mud by corrupt practise at high and low levels.

And see China, their population is so much and they keep developing!

I wont be surprised if Ghana will ask us soon to have visa to get to thier country!

I am really ashamed of how our name has being dragged into the mud by corrupt practise at high and low levels.

And see China, their population is so much and they keep developing!

'tis sad, very sad; but, we simply cannot compromise our country or give 'em yankees that Nigeria(ns) have to be 'yankeeised' to thrive.

This too shall pass.

my sista, "the pride and pain of Nigerian citizenship". We love the country dearly, rep it desperately but get heart broken from time to time.

So sorry you had to go through the madness on account of citizenship.

I love Nigeria, agreed.
But I am definitely not proud to be a Nigerian.
Do not ask why!

Originally you said China is more developed than the United Kingdom? Interesting. How much of China did you see exactly? And how much London have you seen? Have you seen all the horrible bits too? Have you seen enough to conclude something like that?

True True. Sowee though. I feel ur pain

oh i feel your pain. it is really frustrating to have to apply for visas to go to almost any other country. and furthermore i have noticed that in certain embassies where there is always a notice exclaiming how certain passports take longer to process, Nigeria is almost always on that list along with countries such as Iran and Pakistan.

i will tell anyone who asks me where i'm from without blinking. i may even tell them a thing or two about Nigerian cultures and histories. however i'm not proud to be Nigerian and my love is not given away so easily.

totally feel you on this

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