It’s almost that time of year again. With December less than 1/12th of the sun’s orbit away, us tax-paying Lagos residents need to prepare ourselves for the temporary influx of IJGB warriors!
Let’s be honest, the past two years have been tumultuous and many have sought a means to escape from reality at some point. Hence why I am two minds about the resumption of the so-called ‘Detty December’; a phrase coined in anticipation of the ‘The Year of the Return’ in 2019. Maybe I’m a little too overprotective of this country I consider home, but the thought of outsiders passing-through the motherland for a mere few weeks, accumulating ten-second clips to show the rest of the diaspora what they’re missing out on rubs me the wrong way!
While COVID-19 anxieties have been seemingly pushed to the side, it appears diasporan-nigerian twitter have pulled out all the stops to ensure enjoying a Merry not-so-little Christmas with us this year. With our economy holding onto dear life, it’s no surprise to why the Nigerian government is so eager to welcome non-residents in the middle of a pandemic. Tourism in Lagos is a key contributor to Nigeria’s GDP, grossing an average of 2 billion dollars a year. So maybe this inevitable economic boost will also benefit the faithful citizens of our beloved country once the hype of the festive season has died down? (Laughs in Nigerian).
What does Detty December really mean for the typical IJGB?
If we are completely honest, the major reason for this temporary mass migration is the undeniable social culture our great country has to offer. The millennial IJGB (I-Just-Got-Back) community are likely to prepare for their return with a plethora of outfits that scream ‘dressed-to-impress’, for the main purpose of indulgence in parties, concerts, restaurants… and everything else we have offer. I know this sounds like great fun and liveliness to some, but all I can envision is traffic… lots of traffic, but what’s new?
The year 2020 saw a global reset and many craved for an adventurous time. With the globe struck with a somewhat novel virus, many countries were forced into lockdown to tackle the unknown. For most that meant no international travel, so I’m sure you can imagine what this means for the masses of people who missed out on the opportuning to indulge in the first ‘Year of the Return’. Lagos should prepare herself for a backlog of jaiye-anticipaters, only familiar with Ojuelegba due to Wizkid lyrics, who also believe Victoria Island is the only location fit for their residence.
As the country continues to experience its deepest recession in two decades over the 2 years, the resulting extravagant currency exchange-rates will be beneficial to visitors. This means a greater value to money and the consequent possibility of not needing to concern about the ridiculous cost of living we’re presently facing.
My worry is that, although this tourist period will only be for the purpose of enjoyment and family reunion for most, the diaspora may never understand the real cost required to be a resident-Lagosian.