My Visit To The National Museum, Lagos
konknaijaboy | On 20, Jan 2014
I visited the National Museum Onikan, Lagos on Sunday, the 5th of January 2014. The shame that is Nigeria was on total display.
Being an arts enthusiast who has visited many museums in different places, it was a trip that I had eagerly awaited. I just couldn’t wait to get to Onikan.
My first observation was a differential gate fee category for foreigners. There were three categories of entry tickets for children, adults and foreigners. This is needless in a museum in a country like Nigeria that is trying to promote tourism. Categorising tickets for children and adult should suffice. Moreso, when citizens don’t really have effective IDs, how could they be sure of one’s nationality.
I could also observe that the environment was typically unkempt and the whole place appeared totally abandoned. The walls could certainly do with some paintings.
While there, I was pressed but I certainly could not garner enough courage to ask to use the rest room.
The staff, although not very professional but were extremely friendly with or without intent. With intent, the junior staff and securitymen were somewhat beggerly in their friendliness.
Some books can be read from the cover, obviously one could tell what was inside the museum from its look outside!
Given the much touted Nigeria’s “rich cultural diversity,” what was on display looked too scanty for a National Museum; they were more like a private collection of an individual; quite unbecoming of what the “Giant of Africa” should put out in its National museum.
The art collections were inadequately protected, some were in some funny looking plastics, crying to be stolen.
The staff urged me to quickly make the “tour” of the displayed artefacts housed inside, as I was apparently taking my time to soak in what was displayed in the lounge. Their concern was that a power cut or blackout will make viewing the items inside almost impossible. It is unacceptable that there is no functional standby generator in such a place of national importance.
I have heard excuses like broken down generator or shortage of diesel or in the worst case, the absence of the generator operator in some public places, could this be the case here? No one was ready to give a definite answer.
How many Museums are there in Nigeria? How many are in the same, better or worse states? I can not but wonder what has been stolen over the years, money meant for maintenance and improvement.
I saw the car in which Gen. Murtala Mohammed was when he was assassinated and I wonder if the man is not turning in his grave. Our lack of maintenance culture was boldly displayed.
We seem to have lost it and there is nothing left. No sense of shame, no culture to espouse and indeed there is no country anymore! Or should I just say ‘there was a country’
I weep for Motherland!
If well managed, cultural tourism is a growing aspect of tourism which attracts millions of people to throng to some countries to observe their cultural facilities including museums.
Oladokun Olayinka Writes
Source: Transparency for Nigeria