Update (07 November)
Thanks Waffy for 'reminding' me that actually, Lagos is no longer the capital of Nigeria.
Hey, folks, that was a (Freudian?) slip. I take all the responsibility for it.
Lagos stopped being the administrative capital of Nigeria in 1991, when the then President Babangida moved the seat of Government to Abuja (wiki)
But in a sense it remains the defacto commercial capital, and of course the most populated. And it's where I live. The (personal) question I get asked the most here is "So where in Nigeria do you live?" to which I answer, LAGOS. So somehow I must have answered the Kebab guy below with the same confidence, without thinking about what exactly it was he was asking me.
And then I went ahead to blog, still without thinking about it (Note to self: Do Not, Ever Again, Blog After Midnight!).
This error suddenly makes me feel like I'm Sarah Palin...
For the purposes of this blog, I think I might leave the exchange below as it is. But please, for the purposes of history and history lessons, Lagos is no longer the capital of Nigeria. It is only where I live...
I'm off to find the Kebab guy to admit my error...
I'm on the last lap of my tour of duty...
I don't want to think about it, about how much I'll miss this life, these cities, quaint Uppsala, big city Stockholm, how I'll miss getting lost in the midst of these people whose language I cannot speak, miss stopping people to ask for directions and having to quickly say "English, English" when they start talking to me in Swedish, miss the kebab joints and 'Chinese garden' and being stuck with BBC world...
But now's not the time to dwell on memories...
Yesterday evening I went to a kebab place. The guy at the counter, of Middle Eastern origin started to speak Swedish to me.
"English, English" I said. He complied. I made my order. Then he asked me where I was from.
Nigeria, I told him.
The capital of Nigeria is what?
Lagos.* (see Update)
...so are there both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria?
In equal numbers?
Well, there seem to be more Muslims than Christians, I say. (At least that's what I think)
But all your football players are Christian, eh?
(I want to explain that most of Nigeria's soccer superstars are Igbos, from South Eastern Nigeria, and that the Igbo are mostly Christians - Catholics to be precise. I want to further explain that I can't recall having ever met a Muslim Igbo, even though I'm sure they exist...)
But this is not seminar session on 'Religion, Geography and Soccer in Nigeria: A critical appraisal'
Then he starts to reel out names of Nigerian soccer players:
The usual suspects - Kanu Nwankwo, JJ Okocha ("the guy at Bolton" is what he says as he tries to recall the name), Julius Aghahowa, Sunday Oliseh, "Uche" (he's forgotten the surname)...
When he says 'Uche' I suggest 'Uche Okafor', which I think he hears as 'Kuffour' because he immediately tells me that Kuffour is from Ghana.
I marvel at his knowledge of Nigerian players, and he tells me that he's a fanatic, and even apologises that his knowledge has diminished over time...
It's somewhat refreshing to be away from literary circles for once, where the first question I am asked always has something to do with Chinua Achebe or Wole Soyinka.
Just before I leave (after eating) I walk up to him to ask where he's from.
He hesitates for a moment, then speaks.
"Let's talk later" he says "It's complicated"
Complicated? I leave almost scratching my head. How complicated can it be? As complicated as the "it's complicated" of Facebook?
I guess he's right. The Identity Question always manages to be one of the most complicated in the world... ask Barack Obama for further details...
9 years ago