My faithful four-wheel, hundred-liter suitcase has followed me through five countries but I leave it behind as I head to Nigeria. It's too big to pass as hand luggage and I've heard enough stories of hours of delays and worse to know to avoid baggage reclaim in Lagos. Everyone on board had the same idea. The overhead lockers are jammed with cases and Harrods bags.
I last visited Nigeria a decade ago for a gathering of Commonwealth heads of state. The airport arrivals process hasn't got any quicker – 1½ hours waiting for one immigration officer to check through all foreigners. But it does seem more orderly. People didn't used to queue. I remember having to push my way through a crowd and then watching and praying as someone wearing a uniform snatched my passport and disappeared for a few minutes.
When the Commonwealth conference was over, my arduous reporting task was to find out why Guinness sales were going through the roof in Africa to the point where they overtook the core market in the UK and Ireland. It turned out the stout was gaining a reputation in Nigeria as some kind of aphrodisiac. My favorite quote came from a Lagos taxi driver. “It makes me feel powerful,” Rasheed Adegbite had said. “If I have three stouts, my wife knows she had better watch out. I have energy in my body.”
Now back again in Lagos, I'm excited to find it's Rasheed's ...