In the midst of an impending lockdown threat, I visited one of my dream territories in Nigeria, Abuja.
While I wondered how to have fun there, the thought of having levity at tourist attractions with the advent of coronavirus was way disappointing.
However, as an art and literary person who found himself amongst a coterie of artists in Abuja for an art exhibition of their works against irregular migration in Nigeria, I discovered four safe ways to have maximum fun in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which is safe, cost reductive, and would give tourists an epicurean fun
(1) Stare at Artworks: Visiting Abuja as art or literary person is never fun until you stare. Yes, stare at some street artwork. During my frequent solitary walks, while looking for an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in Gwarimpa, I saw some paintings displayed right beside the road and some clothes peddler whose clothing had some mural on the jeans.
You don’t need to get close to those paintings nor to the painter, all you needed to do was to just admire them and fill your eyes with admiration, unless you are intrigued to buy, then you approach for a bargain. But if not, by just staring, you are maintaining a physical distance while at the same feeding your eyes with the beauty of art. However, this is not to say that you must wander around the city of Abuja looking for artwork to stare at when you can easily check out a gallery to see lots of artwork.
(2) Talk to artists/Visit a gallery: The VIOREMEN/NLACC Art Exhibition brought me to Abuja and it was an opportunity to meet like-minded people, amongst which are: Ola Baale, Ver Ikeseh, Abdul, Urunwa, Doofan, and others. These wonderful folks reside in Abuja and they are doing pretty well.
Yes, visiting Abuja as an art and literary person won’t be complete without talking to some Abuja based artists or a visit to a gallery.
Urunwa of Urunwa_Art took her time in mentioning a few galleries in Abuja which are: “African Heritage Gallery, Thought Pyramid, Mosheen Art Gallery, etc”. I am definitely sure these galleries will be fun to visit, costless, and there is a guarantee of adherence to COVID-19 precautionary measures.
(2) Buy a piece of art or Literature: One of the gifts you can bequeath yourself as art or literary person during COVID-19 in Abuja is the gift of literature or art. The second wave of lockdown will disrupt a lot of touring activities as it did in the first, yet, for anyone who might be visiting Abuja soon and will not have the opportunity to tour those parks, lakes, and other tourist sites because of the restriction, buying a book at any book store instead is a lot of fun. Right towards the lane of Desco Guest Inn where I lodged, I saw a book shop and after perusing their shelves for about 10 minutes, I finally settled on two books and a journal. And I must note that the attendant gave me the leverage of checking through his shelf without follow-around as he buried his head in some book. It was worth it, searching and selecting for myself since I did not have any particular book in mind.
The moment spent before I saw two books by two African authors was refreshing, and the mere fact that there were not too many customers who were coming in to buy books gave me enough time and the choice for selection. When you visit a book store, I am sure you will have ample time to carefully select your choice of genre.
Visiting the parks and lakes are super cool, yet, I would suggest your visit to Abuja should be dedicated to buying any book genre you love or an art piece. I bought those books at the De Law impact book shop. They deal in all kinds of stationary books.
(4) Trek some street: Yes, trek! Trekking is a simple form of activity that seemed cathartic for me in the sedated city. I trekked the tarred roads -didn’t notice any untarred route – and wandered in the mini POP market, The War College Estate, and yes, this was the time used to adore the architecture in Abuja. And guess what, it is a costless way to have fun.
By Seye Fakinlede.