Countless media sources highlight the bad, amoral and ugly Nigeria, so the good gets left behind. As a Nigerian now living out Western side, I know to take everything I see in the news about my country with a hemp of salt. I turn on what is this great, and virtually every headline I read about Nigeria goes like, “Nigeria in Crisis”, “Hundreds wiped out in Nigeria”, “Terror in Nigeria, inch and the extensive list of ugly and gloomy headers continue. However, the media doesn’t celebrate the people that do put in work to turn the country around; people who believe in their home and are willing to glorify it to whatever length it takes.
Nigeria as a country is far from its negative illustrations, and before scanning this, you should believe that too. Although, I cannot refute that to an extent, Nigeria is really not amongst the safest places to live. In fact, why would I leave my home and re-locate Western side if it were so safe, beautiful and generally positive? The truth is, just like every other country (but mostly developing countries), the people are tired of their tainted leaders and have decided to take the matters of success into their very hands. People have chosen from honourable societal norms of living, and initiated to do anything and everything to survive, crime included… file corruption, dismiss of human protection under the law, child time, and much more. So, I cannot sit here and refute the fact that Nigeria is definitely a land that breeds a bunch of offenses, and inhumane actions. But it is home; home for me; home for so many other people that are born into that system of success; home for some people that have no other option but to live a broken lifestyle; home for some people that have no choice but to survive.
So even if I sit in my posh chairs, and type freely and safely inside my laptop in public places, without any immediate fear for my general safety while drinking on a pretentious yet delicious drink from Starbucks out Western side, I cannot help but yearn for my home in the East. I yearn for my children, and hope that one day, Nigeria truly becomes a safe destination for all of the some people that have left. It is in my moments of shopping for my country that I ran across the incredible work of Devesh Uba (also known as Snap It Oga). In the past year, his name has diffused over all of social media. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, he is everywhere, and more important, he is everywhere because of the nature of his pictures.
In 2013, Uba, a street shooter from The indian subcontinent disregarded the many negative labels that propaganda media is partial to attaching to Nigeria, especially its commercial capital city, Lagos. This city is well regarded as the second fastest growing city in Photography equipment, and it is undoubtedly rich with diversity, culture, energy, vacation, as well as extreme over population. Uba ventured from his hometown in The indian subcontinent to the vibrant city life of Lagos — television with no fear from all of the negative information he previously previously heard about the country — journeyed to the city on his own to work and live for a year. top 13 reasons
“Before moving here, I spent a lot of time researching Lagos and Nigeria, just to be disheartened when i did not find any positive stories or pictures. However, when i finally arrived and begun to spend more time around the city, I realized there are several positive reasons for the culture that most media easily ignore. There is art everywhere you go… on Danfos, on streets, on shop signboards, on school walls and so on. The people of Lagos ‘hustle’ and do it with a smile. The colors of the markets are so vibrant and the ‘never say die’ spirit of men and women here is just so inspiring. The Nigerian love for food, football and music is just infectious”, Uba opens up about his immediate perception of the city life in Lagos in a feature interview for Spirited Pursuit (SP), a blog and social media center for travelling professional photographers.
With this overall surprise at how different Nigerians seemed personally, Uba launched his well regarded brand called Snap It Oga. However he also states in his SP interview that this name was not his brainchild but instead, “The first few people I photographed in Lagos would say ‘Snap it, Oga! ha when i was looking at them through my camera’s viewfinder; the name just stuck, so i just ran with it”, he explains. And for many Nigerians scanning this, we can all agree that Snap It Oga is definitely incredibly Nigerian and an invitation to the way of its people, as ‘Snap’ is a slang term (broken/pidgin English) for ‘take the photo’ and ‘Oga’ is typically a name fond of a foreigner, or any one that is considered superior in Nigeria.
Apart from Lagos state, Uba has journeyed everywhere you go in Nigeria from East to Western side, and his reactions about the inequality between the people he meets and the people he listens to about in the media generally seems to grow large with every day he uses on the streets capturing pictures. It is because of this difference in illustrations of the kinds of people that live in the country that inspired Uba to launch Snap It Oga, a blog space where he lists all of the pictures he captures, and shares it to his various social media accounts and to his followers, without any media filter.
In my opinion, Uba has the right formula. Experiencing Nigeria and its people should be very subjective, real, and without any judgment. I am not stating that there is no truth to the Nigeria you see in the media, all I’m saying is that like every country, Nigeria comprises people, and it is these people define the country. It is unfortunate that we’ve let our awareness of Nigeria be formed by the select few bad people, while ignoring the majority of great and genuinely kind Nigerians. Uba resonates with this too, as he states in his SP feature, “One of my worst memories as a shooter in Lagos was on the streets of Ajegunle when i was there to capture street art. The roads were pretty bad, so our car got stuck on a ball. Out of no place, ‘area boys’ encased us and started banging the car’s glass hysterically. Somehow my driver could calm them down by telling them his brother lives for a passing fancy street and runs a saloon in the local market. We were finally able to get some help from some sort people who stopped after all of the chaos ended. I can’t lie though; those were the most uncomfortable 20-25 minutes of my well being. Understandably negative experience, I have had many great and positive experiences through Lagos that make up for the bad ones”.
So even if all that comes to mind when you hear or think of Nigeria is danger, don’t allow that stop you from to be able to visit one of the most culturally diverse and successful nations in Photography equipment. Nigeria comprises deeply grounded traditionally and culturally rich elements that will shock and stimulate every keen and nonjudgmental explorer that has the opportunity to visit its land. From the beautiful clear blue waters, unrivaled ranches, incredible game supplies, warm springs, magnificent waterfalls, rich African-american history museums, and much more, Nigeria has it all. So, do yourself a give preference to, let down the telly, plan that trip out to Nigeria against all chances like Uba, and explore like nothing you’ve seen prior.