Bush Civility

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In some circles, being described as a “bush man” is regarded as an insult. Familiarity with city life is regarded as more refined and sophisticated. This attitude is certainly prevalent in Nigeria, the land of my forbears.

When I last visited Nigeria however, I couldn’t noticing that the way of life felt more civilised, the further I got away from Lagos – the mega city which many Nigerians regard as the prime location of cosmopolitan activity.

Ibadan is second in rank to Lagos as a major metropolis in the South Western region of Nigeria. I have always regarded Ibadan as having a lugubrious and suburban energy, but I had to admit when I was last there that the citizens were generally more genteel in their social interactions than Lagosians are.

A family bereavement took me to Orile Owu – the small town where my father was born. Again, I was struck by the clean streets and orderliness that I found there. I mentioned to my siblings that the home town was more civilised than Lagos and they vehemently disagreed with me.

In global terms, is it possible that life in rural areas could be the way forward for many of us, if we could move some of the exciting enterprise and culture out of the big cities?