Whether you are the type of tourist who enjoys exploring nature, seeking hidden treasures or prefer the flamboyant, bustling and hustling lifestyle, Nigeria is the right destination for you.
I wonder why the largest diversity of butterflies chooses to dwell in this country. Perhaps because it is so uniquely admirable?
Not only are the butterflies numerous, but so are the people living there.
With its enormous population of 160 million people it is crowned the most populated country in Africa. Well, this makes the country a melting-pot of ethnic groups, diverse traditions and many languages.
It definitely is also a medley of contrasting regions, including deserts, plains, swamps, mountains and moist jungles.
I remember as a child, my wish was to experience the beauty of nature. The sun woke me up every morning before 8 am. Back then I would play with my friends from dawn to dusk, swim in streams, play with mud, climb the trees and explore the beauty of the environment around me. Nature always had a calming effect on my soul.
But there is another side to Nigeria too. The country can also be flamboyant, bustling and hectic. A quiet moment is impossible to find on the streets. One is either interrupted by the horns of cars honking at each other, by wailing mothers looking for their lost children in the crowded streets, by bus conductors who never stop screaming from the top of their lungs in search of passengers or by young children hawking and trying to sell various things to the people in the cars passing by. Everyone is occupied by something.
I remember sitting in the backseat of my dad’s car – I was very excited about the day ahead as we were driving along the longest bridge I have ever seen, The Third Mainland Bridge, heading towards the largest trading centre in Africa.
When we finally arrived at the Trade Fair, the overcrowded aisle leading to various shops left me overwhelmed.
The aisle is full of people who are either looking to buy or to sell. Although online shopping seems to be in trend, the impression you attain at Alaba Trade Fair is not to be compared to anything else.
Forcing our way through the crowds I could feel the strong grip of my dad’s hand holding my wrist more firmly. People would push, toss and tug. While at the shopping centre, the concept of privacy is disregarded: Sellers will use every means possible to get you to buy their goods even if this means that they have to pull on your bags just to get your attention.
The two contrasting sides of Nigeria are always in juxtaposition. Abuja, the capital paradoxically offers travelers the chance to explore nature. The beautiful resorts are located in the heart of the city, so you are surrounded by trees, waterfalls and much more that nature has to offer. This allows you to experience the richness of nature and its beauty. On the other hand, if you visit Lagos, which is one of the most populated cities in Nigeria, you can enjoy the citified lifestyle with its flamboyance. You also experience the pain and anguish of the people, first hand. The trials and tribulations, the beautiful and the ugly all blend together into the melting-pot. You literally get the best of both worlds.
My stay in Nigeria lasted for just two weeks but my trip to Alaba Trade Fair taught me more about Nigeria than I could have imagined. It is the perfect embodiment of the African spirit of competition. There is a certain sense of strife in the atmosphere. You have to be bold, strong and you have to have the spirit of Africa in you to survive in Nigeria.