When I was growing up, Heaven and Lagos were neighboring cities.
Lagos was the abroad, and I always had butterflies rumbling in my belly whenever I had to travel to Lagos for any reason.
I thought Lagos was the canaanland. — Maybe I thought wrong.
In the eighteenth century, there was a man by the name, Lagelu. He was a hunter. His settlement was at an area which is present day Eleyele. Then, his usual dinner was oro, snail shell and eko. Thus, the common saying used to describe Ibadan — “Ibadan Omo aj’oro sun, omo a fi karahun fo’ri mu”.
Today, instead of eating snail shell as dinner, we can choose pizza or visit ones of the many sophisticated eateries in the city. That is what I call growth.
In 1952, the population of Ibadan was about 120,000. Today, we are scratching 5million; Growth.
Back then when we had to travel out of Ibadan just to see a movie, now we several options to choose from; Growth.
We used to be stuck with Radio Nigeria and BCOS. Now there is an explosion of radio stations in the city; Growth.
So I woke up one morning in search of a greener pasture, having lived in Ibadan for over a decade; a greener pasture to me was no other place than Lagos. So I moved. Lagos for me was an experience of the good, the bad, the ugly and the very ugly. Few years after, I returned to Ibadan and my eyes were open to gross opportunities hidden under those brown-roofs.
I will not dwell solely on what they call ‘past glories’ — the first skyscraper in Nigeria, the first university, the first television station, the first teaching hospital, et cetera being in Ibadan. All these are just to confirm the truth of Ibadan setting the pace.
Despite the stigma, racism and misconception, Ibadan, the 187 year old city is now gaining spotlights. The days of having to travel to see movies, buy designer wears, have fun in parks, enjoy Chinese delicacies, get lucrative jobs, meet amazing people and attend standard events is gradually going extinct. Ibadan is no more what they thought it is.
Ladies and gentlemen living and working Ibadan, You are not local champions.