By HENRY AKUBUIRO
The reality has finally dawned on us that nobody can tell the Nigerian story more than Nigerians themselves. Overseas, the image of Nigeria the world is fed with is rather bleak. If it isn’t Nigerian conmen swindling unsuspecting foreigners, it is sex trafficking or the Boko Haram enacting a macabre dance in northern Nigeria.
Enough is enough! Dayo Adedayo seems to be saying with his latest whopper, Nigeria 2.0, which was presented last Saturday at the Quintessence Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos. It is a photographic account of the beautiful country called Nigeria, the pride of the black race. The book is a product of eleven years of painstaking journeys across the length and breadth of the country.
“There is nothing like this in Nigeria,” he said to an enthusiastic crowd who had gathered to see his pictorial documentation of Nigerian culture, tourist attractions and historical monuments. “There are no images of Nigeria on the internet,” he lamented, which made him to take the risk of snapping the memorable pictures he has in the book.
Tell you what: here is one patriotic Nigerian who will go at any length to restore the battered image of the country. He said, “For me, I see challenges as opportunities. Nigerians like talking down on ourselves and our politicians.” But his is a positive approach to counter the Nigerian stereotype.
Foreigners hear bad stories about Nigeria abroad, but when they get in, it is a different experience altogether, he echoed. “We don’t have money, but we are happy, even though there is a recent case of somebody committing suicide, something unheard of in Nigeria before now,” he noted.
The book, he added, is a tale of his love for Nigeria, the country of his birth. “It is not the beginning that matters,” he said. The bottom line, according to the photographer, is that we can rise from the nadir of our hope to sing aloud the song of glory.
Excerpts from the book of photographs were read by the radio presenter, Titi Oyesan, who moderated the event. She informed that Adedayo’s amazing shots were taken and produced without photoshopping.
The photographer regretted that Nigerian leaders were used to living in their comfort zones, and not wishing photographers to gain assess into these places for documentation purposes. Getting permission, he said, to shoot Aso Rock, was a daunting task before he succeeded.
The same could not be said of government houses elsewhere. Citing example of the American White House, he said several documentations and movies had been done on it without any backlash. He lamented that Nigerian journalists had not been doing their jobs effectively when it came to scrutinising political appointments in Nigeria, for there were so many people in government who had no business being there. “The younger generation has a lot of work to do,” he said.
Responding to questions during an ensuing interactive session, he reiterated that he had a passion for Nigeria. Regardless of being locked up on several occasions in the course of producing the book by security agents and escaping an accident, he soldiered on till the end.
Having visited the Ojukwu bunker built during the Nigeria civil war, he said the 29- feet deep edifice was a reminder of the Nigerian ingenuity. Given the successes recorded by the Igbo in different facets of life and everywhere they have domiciled, he prayed Nigerians to eschew ethnicity to give the Igbo a pride of place to transform the fortune of the country.