Friday, October 01, 2010

Fifty's Eve

After the party, we all drove to the building site renamed as Millennium Tower for the day – a wasteland of concrete and ditches near the National Mosque with huge columns testifying to something quarter-built.  We arrived just after midnight – and had apparently missed the fireworks. Some said they had cost a million dollars, although those that had seen them said they didn’t last long.

As we drew near, men in suits waved us on hurriedly, not allowing us to park. Gleaming SUVs parked behind them. Up above, a palm tree of searchlights, reaching into the night for an answer. Eventually we found a parking place, and climbed a ramp to get as near as possible.  Tall metal fences rimmed with razor wire kept us from getting close.  There was no way in.  Nigerians in their hundreds sat on walls or stood and watched from afar.  Across the way, beyond the ditch, a silhouette of a bank of seats from behind.

An MC was talking, praising the concealed dignitaries: I caught mention of Madam First Lady, David Mark. The Nigeria at 50 song was played – a curiously old fashioned number which sounded like highlife on the cusp of juju.  Then, a rumbling powerful bass sound, and a North Korean formation of dancers with Star Wars magic wands.  We could just glimpse all of this in the space beneath the shadow of the bank of Great Nigerians.

A short while later, a crane lowered four dancers bathed in neon from an impossible height. There was vaguely Chinese music playing as the four pink swans descended into the space.  The future was arriving.

And then the whole thing puttered out, with a few seconds of green laser arabesques cast onto the neighbouring buildings and two or three fireworks exploding into the night.

As we made our way home, hundreds more people, standing, hoping to see something more when nothing would come.  The fence and the razor wire stayed with me as home drew close. 


babatunde 6:26 am  

the fireworks were pretty ok actually, (I've watched fireworks at the Thames numerous times) the show was scheduled to start at 8pm we got there at 10 and when we went in the place was half empty, there were only a couple of 1000 seats which would explain why they were not letting people in and one entrance/exit, (H&S, whats that...)
We came out about 11.30 because we had kids with us wanted to avoid the leaving rush, watched the firewoks from one of the bridges.

babatunde 6:28 am  

oh and no we didn't have tickets, there were 2 seating areas, one outside where I sat and a tent for the VIPs...

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