It is freezing cold here.
It is a far cry from the temperate climate I left on Sunday afternoon in Jos to return to the sweltering megapolis of Lagos. I am aware that many people are waiting for the report of my trip to Tin City for my school’s reunion last weekend. Not to worry, that story will come in full soon, but I must first report that I have moved on to the United Kingdom since I left Jos. That’s why I report of freezing cold.
It is Thursday morning in the most accommodating and liberal city in the West – London. When we landed at Heathrow airport on Tuesday morning it was -1 degree centigrade, that is, a degree below freezing point. Even now, on this much warmer day, I am shivering to my marrow, despite wearing a vest, a shirt, a sweater, and a leather jacket underneath a woolen overcoat over Jeans trousers. I am missing Jos and its temperate weather like a young man would miss his first girlfriend. It dawns on me that we do not appreciate the value of what we have until we have lost it. When I left Jos in 1970 I did not realise what treasures I was leaving behind. Now I do. Jos and its surroundings are some of Nigeria’s richest trove of rare minerals. As soon as I arrive their home in Peckham Rye, I mischievously ask my sister, Toyin, what city has the best climate in the world. I also give her a hint – a place that is neither too hot nor too cold for 9 to 10 months of every year. She thinks about it for a while, looks at me to try to unfathom the twist or catch in my enquiry. She is smart. She sees through my excited look.
I am just realising it myself, in the freezing cold of London, as she loudly and excitedly declares: ‘Jos’.
Right. Jos. That small city located in the heart of Nigeria, lying high up on a plateau some 4250 feet above sea level, in a crater-like trough scooped out from the earth probably by an asteroid on a visit from space several millennia ago. That may be the best city to live in the whole world.
Ask anyone that has ever visited Tin city and et them share their experience. Let them compare that with any other they know and have experienced. They are likely to come to the same conclusion that I came to in London. Beyond the incomparable weather there are many other things about Jos that are truly unique, fascinating and beautiful. I am reminded about thèm all on this my return to the city last week – clean, cool and fresh air, beautiful and diverse flora and fauna, variety of tasty, fresh and very organic fruits and vegetables, superb network of major roads around the town, unique rock formations ringing the town, springs and water falls in the outskirts, the only city wild life park in Nigeria, the largest museum, museum of traditional architecture and zoo in West Africa, some of the best tourist sites in Nigeria, and childhood friends that the unending internecine crisis that have rocked the State for decades could not displace! The single most important issue from my journey to Jos is my short conversation with my childhood friend and classmate at St. Murumba College, Lati Adebesin in his home as I prepare to go to catch my return flight to Lagos on Sunday. It is a mind blowing revelation that will shake Nigeria with its significance. By the way Lati is one of Nigeria’s foremost forensic mineralogists. That conversation shall be reported on the www:mathematical7.com website soon.
The St. Murumba College reunion in Jos is superb. 5 of the original 17 in the Class of 1970 were in Jos for the series of events. We spend the first day in Lati Adebesin’s beautiful home, to celebrate his birthday. On the second day I am a special guest at novelty football and basketball matches played between alumni and All-Stars teams from Jos. We go on a tour round the school. The school is bigger now with residential facilities for students. Its facilities are rundown and can do with some upgrading and renovation. The traditions of the school have been maintained from during our time in the school. The dinner event is excellent. It starts one hour late but runs smoothly. Over 400 alumni, some family members, invited friends and special guests assemble for an evening of entertainment. There were great music, cultural dances, spirit lifting speeches, with plenty of food and drinks. I get to know that P Square and Ice Prince, two of Nigeria’s current international musical giants, are alumni of St. Murumba College too. The school is churning out entertainers and artists as it has been producing footballers. There must be something in the DNA of SMC that is responsible for this interesting development. Time flies quickly like a meteor. Sunday arrives like a thief in the dark.
Believe me when I report that at 12:50pm on Sunday, I am inside an Arik Air plane taxing to take off for my return to Lagos.
The advertised time of departure is 12:50pm! When they do well, we have a responsibility to report airlines performances too. On this day, Arik does well. I arrive Lagos Sunday afternoon and spend the rest of the day finalising arrangements to travel the following day to London for my severally postponed and even cancelled medical checkup appointments. I have to go to London to do the checks because healthcare in Nigeria exists only in the imagination of our leaders, and in the realms of hope and expectations. It is too expensive to be sick and cheaper to die in Nigeria. As I ‘enjoy’ the cold of London, my conversation with Lati Adebesin is seriously on my mind.
Watch out for it…soon.
I have also confirmed a visit to the headquarters of the English Premier League, EPL for Monday. That should be something interesting to look forward to.
Finally, I have joined the family of OPERA NEWS.
Watch out for my reports on that media platform also from Monday.
Meanwhile, please leave your comments on which city you think has the best climate in the world!