Friday, April 23, 2010

Here are the remaining parts for Part 2 of the above titled documentary.

A link for Part 3 is available below.

Part 3 is available here.

12 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Dojaa said...

I know some Nigerians will be angry about this series but I am actually finding it very interesting. I am proud to be a Nigerian and I think there is nothing to be ashamed of when one sees fellow Nigerians who are hard working and happy in the face of obstacles.

Anengiyefa said...

Ah, so the video eventually became
available on YouTube. As Doja has said, what has been depicted in the series is the actuality of life for a certain segment of the population of Lagos. And it is clear that the emphasis is on the doggedness of the individuals and their positive outlook on life, as they pursue their lives in adverse conditions and in a very hostile environment too.

But the BBC is known for its balanced reporting on issues and it has failed so far to portray Nigeria as anything other than a country whose inhabitants live in extremely harsh conditions. The BBC has not emphasised the fact that the stories and the people depicted reflect the reality for only a minority of the Nigerian population. Quite unlike many other African countries, Nigeria has a substantial middle-class and it is into this category that a huge proportion of Nigeria's population falls.

Anonymous said...

I loved the human angle aspect of the story but it did leave a bitter after taste. It’s a shame that it took bbc to show what is a reality for a large segment of Nigerians. I was thoroughly humbled and inspired by the hard work and the 'never say die' spirit of our people. I also loved that Nigerians were not shown as crooks and 419ners. That stereotype has been so ingrained in the minds of people anything to dispel that notion is welcome. We are a hardworking and resourceful people and our ingenuity has never been in doubt, it’s just that the 419ners have been used to define us. We as a people (and our leaders) have a lot of work to do and we must never rest on the few laurels that we have neither should we bury our heads in the sand, it’s a shame that our greatest asset; a hardworking and vibrant work force is so neglected.

But I was irked at the lack of balance. I would like to ask those who refuse to see anything wrong with the one sided portrayal a question; would they feel the same way if it was done by South Africa or maybe Ghana?

The argument that the bbc has done no wrong; some say “yes, it is the reality of Nigeria” (notice I'm not saying it isn’t or shouldn’t be aired just that there be fairness, balance and context), others insist, “go on bbc show the world”, “yes! It is the fault of our leaders” etc. Here’s my question: Was it not a reality before it was aired? What exactly will the world do once they see the one-sidedness? Were our leaders not bad before 'welcome to Lagos'? What in particular do you think Britain is going to do about our slums? Notice that we (Nigerians) the subjects were not even shown the documentary in Nigeria; it’s left to those of us who chase it about on the Internet! It keeps getting pulled once they become aware of the copyright violations). Those who say let the world see only our dirt and our filth think it's ok for bbc to do so without any context or the hard work (at least fashola) some individuals have done to bring an improvement (It is not enough I know but it should be acknowledged). And when we say show other parts we don’t mean they should show the display of wealth of thieving leaders; after all not all those who live outside Olusosun and Makoko are thieving rogues). There are countless stories of other Josephs and Erics who by dint of hard work, courage and determination have pulled themselves out of the ghetto, do their stories no longer matter because they no longer live in the slums?

There is no knight in shining armor who will come from outside our shores to rescue us; not bbc, not Britain not 'the world'! We are the architects of our destiny; same way the Britons and others in Western Europe centuries ago paid with blood to hold their royals/leaders to account. For those who see only the beauty, this story (notice that the target audience is the British; it's open only to UK viewers, at least via iPlayer) is what conditions a people to continually feel to a sense of superiority over others. It tells a single story (thanks Chimamanda). What would happen if the bbc does a documentary as riveting: the subject? The wealth stolen by our leaders in Nigeria sitting snuggly in the British economy and other western countries and they skew it heavily against the British. But they wouldn't. Why? Because the British are a fair lot and they would begin to put undue pressure on their Government to change things. Yes the thief and the handler are both guilty before the law! The monies stolen would have helped the Vocal Slenders and the children in the Ebutte Metta saw mills.

I know my people, if Ghana had done this documentary, the same people who see nothing wrong would begin to ask for balance. Yes we gree say our house no dey perfect, we should work to fix things and only allow those who genuinely love and respect us and would provide solutions the kind of liberty bbc was given. Ask the Chinese, there are more poor people in China than in Africa but you would never know given the amount of bad press Africa gets.

joicee said...

Thank you for this...I thoroughly enjoyed it. If the BBC´s plan was to make me as a nigerian shocked, appalled or ashamed to be a nigerian, then I say that they failed woefully. What I saw is the resilence and hardwork and ingeniuity and the "despite all odds" spirit of the nigerian people. Was it a balanced depiction of lagos? heck no...If they titled the documentary Welcome to lagos, then show lagos in its entirety;its elite, the middle class, the slum dwellers try and fit everysphere in, I think the documentary could have been named "Welcome to the slums of lagos" because so far that is all we have seen. I´ll waiting patiently for the part three.

The thing is I am not surprised that the BBC will take on such a project at this time anyway. Their econonmy is struggling, having just barely crawled out of a recession, they are battling high unemployment rate and the mood right now is not so great. So to up the morale of their people, they run a series to remind ourselves that they really aren´t doing that bad afterall.

Beauty said...

The future belongs to story tellers, especially those that do not need to make them up. Just look around you, they have always been there. How to love those colorful characters is perhaps the missing point here. Congratulations to the BBC, it has done a great service for humanity.

Remi Martins said...

@Anonymous 4:16
This is how the BBC described the programme from the onset 'Three part observational documentary series which explores life at the sharp end of one of the most extreme urban environments in the world: Lagos, Nigeria'
The aim was always to tell the story of neglected of Lagos, so what's this issue of balance? I don't think you know that there are over a million Nigerians in the UK or that we pay for the BBC to make programmes and that's why programmes are only available in the UK or on iPlayer. How dare your think that the BBC should show the programme in Nigeria before showing it in the UK. What ignorance?!

At the slightest problem, Nigerians will call for the North to be separated from the South but when Gadaffi says it Nigerians call him a mad man.

Nollywood produces a mass of stereotypical nonsense which is celebrated in Nigeria yet when foreigners produce District 9 or Welcome to Lagos everyone makes a fuss.

Nigerians wish to hold foreigners to standards they don’t uphold themselves.

Is the London based Nigerian-owned BEN Television not afforded the same international platform as the BBC or CNN, yet they waste it promoting government propaganda and charging guests to appear on substandard shows? I almost vomited when Henry Bonsu (formerly of the BBC) asked Alistair Soyode (owner of BEN Television and member of the rebranding Nigeria committee)during a TV interview to mention some of the places to visit in Nigeria, his response was that Nigeria has the best to offer in Africa but that he couldn’t mention any right now.

Are the BBC or CNN meant to serve as media tools for Nigeria? NO
Has Welcome to Lagos fabricated the slums? NO.

The documentary is a story of poor and neglected Nigerians who have chosen hardwork and innovation over 419. This should be an opportunity for Nigerians to reach out and work towards addressing some of the problems these men and women face, their efforts should be celebrated and I applaud the BBC for amplifying the voices of those who’ll never be able to afford to pay to feature on BEN TV or NTA or the other Nigerian TV platforms who won't invest the money and skill in making Nigerian documentaries.

Anonymous said...

Let the Brits put it down in their history books of how they demonized Nigeria to distract people from the real issues of their first ever prime ministerial debate. It is obvious that the debate feature serious issues that are not so gratifying to the populace but to make out Nigeria as a political ping pong for the feel-good-factor for people in the UK as set a tone they international politics.

The die seem to have been cast; the Israelis used forged UK passport to impersonate the assassins that executed one of the Hamas leaders in Dubai and now the UK government uses Nigeria to soak up the terrible feeling of the doom and gloom emanating from the prime ministerial debate. If this is the new turn that international politics is taking, then we are set for some showdown in the 21st century.

Chic Therapy said...

@ Anengiyefa i do agree with you, you cant help but respect the hustle of these people. However, a huge population of Nigerians do not fall into the middle class. That is far from the truth. A lot of us, alongside our relatives & friends who fall into this socio economic group think that everyone lives this type of life, we are only the lucky ones. Even along the streets of Ikoyi, Surulere, Ikeja, Isolo ,
Okota, are people living in shanties and abject poverty.

I suppose it'd be nice to see a documentary on the other segment of the population,the Elite & Middle class that is.I however, dont know what purpose that documentary will serve.Is it going to make us all strive to create a better Lagos for everyone? Or are we only going to be happy that Westerners can see that we too are "living the life"?

Anonymous said...

@Remy Martins (from Anon 4:16), it is not ignorance to point out that the program was only available on iPlayer, it was not a call to air it Nigeria but a statement showing that the target audience is 'UK residents' and not Nigerians.

The criticism about balance is because of this, the target audience gets a lot of programming stereotyping Africans as poor and dirty. This is another episode confirming that view. No one is saying Africans aren't poor and dirty but the BBC missed an opportunity once again for the upteenth time to INCLUDE the other side. The producer did say in a review that 'welcome to Lagos' is a celebration of the lives and the spirit of the people he met. All well and good that he gave us the phenomenal Vocal slender, indomitable Esther and the inspirational Joseph. But he made a conscious effort to EXCLUDE all the others who did not resemble the above when it came to economics. The above qualifiers 'phenomenal, indomitable and inspirational' are a uniquely Nigerian characteristic and it cuts across every strata of society irrespective of the wealth or lack of it. It is curious that he refused to acknowledge those who were not 'poor or dirty' knowing that there is a deficit of those stories. One can only conclude that he did not want to disabuse his target audience 'the UK viewers' of this widely held stereotypical belief. He missed a chance to educate his viewers that they exist. He owed them that responsibility knowing there is a dearth of any such stories about Africa in UK public discourse.

I have every right like you to have an opinion as I am one of the million Nigerians you talk about.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:16 here again

I have watched all 3 episodes and I think the 3rd one shows a slightly wider view . It did show people working on enviromenta according to Esther :) keeping their neighbourhoods and streets clean as well some beautification projects by Fashola which is a positive. It was also good that it was acknowledged that some area boys had been employed maintaining the gardens and some had left to find work. The high handedness clearing the slum was difficult watching but that is another story. I'm wondering what happens to people who get chased from one slum to the other? What are other states doing to keep their own? The statement the stall holder who had her shop destroyed made tells us that they all came from somewhere, their villages. The failure to invest in our villages and revive agriculture etc has put enormous pressure on Lagos; it simply cannot be sustained. Lagos will forever be attractive for those who want the Nigerian dream, Esther left a comfortable home to sleep on the floor on the beach her dreams of tomorrow held tight. For her and millions of others, our thieving leaders must be made to change their ways. I also think the solution to our problems in Nigeria go beyond the government. While we must hold them to task about our issues, I believe a lot of the answers lie in charities. The UK has a vast system that we can emulate and adapt to our unique situations. They cater to so many needs and ordinary citizens who want to help can contribute. If there is a system that ensures the charities are accountable and working for set goals, it will be a mighty force in providing the basics like shelter, skills acquisition, scholarships, resources for farmers in our villages etc, the list is endless and one can be innovative. Many people already help by paying fees, rents, small businesses etc for relatives but the vision for our communities have to be wider and there is strength in numbers.

All in all, a good one with a dodgy title, the slums of Lagos would have been more apt given his thrust and finished product. Looking forward to the day when we no longer depend on the mainstream media to define us as a people.

Anengiyefa said...

@ Chic Therapy, I think you probably missed my point, which I think was that compared to most other sub-Saharan African countries, Nigeria has a substantial middle class. And because ours is the country with the largest population, the middle class is actually quite huge in numerical terms.

Furthermore, there are many poor people in Nigeria, but not all of them are living in the utterly squalid conditions in the shanty towns of Lagos and other cities. There are millions of rural Nigerians who are poor maybe, but who do not live "on the edge" as depicted in the Welcome to Lagos show.

Nina said...

Glad that they showed a different (better) side of hardworking Nigerians. The only thing people think of Nigerian, they automatically attach the word "SCAM".

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