President Trump, please come to Lagos
President Trump, I like the freshness you have brought into American politics. You say exactly what you think and you have remained doggedly true to your campaign mantra of ‘America First’. You have refused to try and sound politically correct. You have remained consistent while not hiding your disdain for those you consider undesirable immigrants. You have been trying to implement your campaign promises with a level of determination we need to see in more African leaders. Some of your actions may be unpopular but I like you for trying to keep your campaign promises. In this regard I think our politicians have a thing or two to learn from you.
While our landscape may be littered with the corpses of broken promises, our nation is by no means the ‘shithole’ you think it is. Far from it. There is no basis for comparing Nigeria with Haiti or putting the two countries in the same category. I know, like most Americans, you ignorantly think Africa is one country. It isn’t. There are actually 53 countries on the African continent. Neither is America the perfect place many of us naively think it is. This is why I think you should come to Lagos. We shall be very glad to host you.
First, let me inform you that Lagos is the most populous city in Africa, with more than 21 million inhabitants. This is more than twice the population of New York, your most populous city. The fact that you haven’t built a property in Lagos doesn’t mean we do not have world class hotels here. We will lodge you at the magnificent Federal Palace Hotel where you will enjoy amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, or the breathtakingly beautiful Intercontinental Hotel. There is also the Excellent Radisson Blu Anchorage which overlooks the Cowry Creek. And of course, there is the Oriental from where you can catch a lovely night view of the beautiful Lekki Bridge.
Since you play golf, we will take you to Ikoyi Club, where you can tee off at the 18-Hole golf course, after which you can chill and enjoy some fresh fish pepper soup. In case you weren’t aware, the Williams sisters were at this same club a few years ago. Lagos is a coastal city and we have more than 100 kilometres of beaches here. Come to think of it! The world would love to see you in beach shorts for a change! And since we do not experience hurricanes, typhoons and tsunamis here, you can truly relax at our beaches anytime of the year. Besides, here we enjoy summer all year round! Our beaches are highly entertaining and vibrant. You will hear loud music and see people dancing to the racy beats of Naija Hip Hop. You will be enthralled by the way young ladies dance to Olamide’s ‘Wo’ and Small Doctor’s ‘Penalty’. You will be served spicy grilled fish and yam chips. Trust me, you won’t miss home!
We will take you to some bars and lounges later in the evening where you can relax with some drinks and your choice of our delicacies. You may try Nkwobi, Spicy Snail or Isi Ewu. There is Asun and goat meat pepper soup! And of course, our award winning jollof rice! It’s a long list Mr President. But as they say, a trial will convince you! Depending on what time of the month you are here, we will take you to Muri Okunola Park for the monthly Afropolitan Concert. You may not be able to resist the energetic African beats at this show. You will surely wiggle your waist Mr President.
You will notice that here in Lagos, we enjoy our bars and nightclubs without the fear that a lunatic would walk in with a semi-automatic rifle and start shooting. We go to the malls with our kids without even remotely considering the possibility that a gun man would appear from nowhere and start a genocide. We will drive you around Lagos by day and by night so you can feel the freedom we enjoy here. Your country may be a land of freedom, but trust me, we enjoy greater freedom here. Our cops don’t stop and shoot our men on our roads. You will see primary school kids actually walking to school in the morning. Yes, our streets are safe for kids to walk to school without the fear of being abducted by psychopaths or paedophiles. Our kids go to school and we do not worry too much about their safety. Their classmates won’t show up with their father’s guns and open fire in the classroom.
You will meet several people from your country who have made this city their home. Many of them don’t miss your country anymore. They will tell you why. Do you know that Mark Zuckerberg was here in Lagos and had a splendid time?
Since you are a real estate baron, we will take you to the futuristic Eko Atlantic City, where you will marvel at the vision and commitment that is driving the most ambitious real estate development project in Africa. This will certainly get you drooling with excitement and am sure you will want a piece of the action. Eko Atlantic City sits on 10 million square metres of reclaimed land on the Atlantic Ocean, and is protected by an 8.5kilometre long sea wall. When completed, it will be the size of Manhattan’s skyscraper district. You will be surprised by this technology and engineering feat, which is fast rising along the coast of West Africa.We will show you that independent reliable electricity, advanced fibre-optic telecoms and clean water utility services are already installed below street level. If you ever desire to have a Trump property in this part of the world, surely you will agree that this is the place to be.
I am happy you are not a huge fan of the media. By the time you have spent a few days in Lagos you will easily agree with me that all the negative stories they have been carrying about Nigeria is fake news. Since you don’t trust the media, I am sure you can easily discard and delete from your memory all the images they have shown you about Nigeria and Africa. If, like you, most Africans take everything your media publishes with a pinch of salt, they wouldn’t be trying to come and become American citizens. They will see and know better. They will understand that the freedom your nation offers is actually a ruse. For what freedom do you enjoy when you cannot walk freely on the streets, enjoy clubs, concerts, shopping malls and even schools without the fear of being massacred by the monsters created by your IRA? At the end of your visit, who knows, you may actually return to America thinking your country is actually the ‘shithole’.
• Muyiwa Kayode is CEO at USP Brand Management and author, The Seven Dimensions of Branding. Brand Nation is a platform for promoting national development based on the universal principles of branding.