The past few days, at least for me, hold a lot of aces and memories. I began the week with an opportunity-turned-sour involving a Presidential Youth Forum that was eventually turned into a circus of political psychopancy — and a show of shame of what unbriddled tongues and shemeless minds without an eye for the future can display. Morale of the story: I have decided to join forces with other progressive young Nigerians to rescue the National Youth Council from the destructive path its towing at the moment — wish us the best 😉 Tuesday and Wednesday was better spent at the UNESCO Dialogue of Civilizations and Abuja office of Junior Achievement of Nigeria.
With the last flight into Lagos on Wednesday, I was able to brace up for the hectic pace of Thursday which included the wonderful meeting of the Nigeria Internet Group on the relationship between Internet Service Providers and the Unified Licensing Regime as announced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (who were the sponsors of the event). Friday began with the announcement on British Airway’s cancelled morning flights out of Lagos, and towed that line all day long.
That didn’t prevent me from co-hosting the Civil Society Forum on ICT4D Strategic Plan and Internet Governance (where I spoke about the role of the Nigerian Civil Society actors within the ongoing global Internet Governance discussions). But the next stop was at Junior Achievement of Nigeria where I had a defining meeting with the Executive Director. I will say more about the outcomes of that meeting in the days to come, but the outcomes will form a core of my activities over the next few months. Then, the news: my flight to Vancouver had been changed to Friday night! That was 7 hours off the time I thought wasn’t there…
Somehow, I managed to survive the rush and arrived Heathrow airport at about 7am. Fortunately, I spotted the President of the Nigerian Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (“Egbon Biyi”) at the Lagos airport so we spent some time discussing on arrival at Heathrow. After some time, left for his onward flight to New York and I got bored! I had started checking for Internet access as soon as we arrived a few hours of discussions, but was only able to get the usual wireless leak that only supports Yahoo! Messenger and Skype — while my need was more of eMail, news and online search. After a few minutes, I took a walk away from the spot I had spent quite some time at, in search of free or paid-up Internet access — and I did find, just that it started with what I thought was a coincidence.
This certain young man kept looking in my direction and if I were a lady, my walk style would have gone closer to that of a cat. After a while, I politely smiled back, but he wouldn’t stop looking, as if he was saying, “I know you now, bros, you no recognize me?” He was right… Oh, my God! Its getting more difficult to hide. A few days ago at the State House in Abuja, it was the Security Service guy who’d said, “I know you, I see you on TV, please keep up the good work and keep doing what we can’t do”. Then the night before I left Lagos, the airline staff smiled as I approached (and I haven’t flown BA for a while — partly protesting the ban on young Nigerians in respect of UK visas) and he said, “I know you… Funmi Iyanda and Patito’s Gang!” When does he have time to watch TV… and now its at Heathrow… Well, there are many good sides to it, you know. After my inability to get a card for my access, the young man (who’s on his way back home to Nigeria after completing his MSc, to work for an oil major) bought swiped his card for 24 hours of broadband access (does this still qualify as free like my Dubai encounters?) After I hooked up to T-Mobile, time flew past and it was suddenly time to board. I thought I had about 5 hours to myself, but it was like 5 minutes.
And either my friends believe it or not, I watched the first half of the Saturday encounter between Germany and Sweden (this had better be right) on my laptop, and even continued until the wireless access sneaked into the corners of the airport as I took my exit. You can ask Edward Popoola, he’ll confirm that 😉 I have been told that my new-found love for football would melt away after the World Cup finals, but lets wait and see. While on the queue, one of the the airline staff at the check-in counter asked me to join the other queue (yeah, right… he didn’t even know my name — just be patient) and it was only when I was asked to take my seat at the upper deck of the plane that I understood that what he did was to upgrade me to the Club Class 😉 Not bad for a tired young man who would love to blog at over 37,000 feet. As I write this, the lady and gentleman on this level have been doing what they know best — making me feel like a temporal king… you know what I mean. I have promised myself to donate some of the few hours to sleep since I’ll be going straight into a meeting when I arrive in Vancouver, so I won’t be tempted to power up this laptop noting that its already at 7% (time to shut down).
I should blog more over the next few days…