When I imagined doing fieldwork in Lagos, I figured I would become best friends with P Square. They would invite me to their concerts and request ideas for a forthcoming album. (Potential song titles: “This one oyibo is different from the rest” and “Naija, no more air freshener,” the latter which would make air freshener forever uncool across Africa.)
This vision of Lagos has largely not come to pass. Except for last night, when a friend invited me to the Nollywood premier of “The Meeting,” (trailer here) a comedy about a businessman whose meeting with a minister keeps getting delayed, and the obstinate, corrupt secretary he has to deal with. The secretary, played by Rita Dominic, was so perfect, with the limited eye contact and passive aggressiveness. At one point she suddenly announced to the waiting room “I sell recharge cards.” One of the people waiting to the see the minister got up and bought a 400 Naira recharge card, giving her 2,000 and saying “it’s ok,” one of the only things that appeared to make the secretary happy.
At the VVIP tables (yes, this is a thing) sat the actors, Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, and the Rivers State Governor. 2Face arrived 5 hours late, but just in time for the film. Everyone got a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon when leaving.