Nigerians Don’t Just Make Friends With Strangers Expect They Want Something From Them – Says Uche Ogbodo
Nollywood actress Uche Ogbodo recently shares her fond memories of her trip to Spain. In an exclusive chat with Joy Marcus, the single mother of one praised Spanish People for their friendly nature as she takes swipe at Nigerians.
See excerpts of the interview below:
What is the most memorable place you have travelled to?
That would be Spain. I love the country so much and I travel there frequently to enjoy myself.
Why did you travel there?
I travelled for vacation and I had a very great experience because I had so much fun in Spain.
Did you eat any of their local dishes?
I didn’t really try any of their local dishes because I am not adventurous when it comes to food. I prefer to eat what I am familiar with in order not to upset my stomach. In fact, I prefer to eat Nigerian food.
What was your initial impression of Spain?
Spain seemed like home to me because the country has a lot of similarities with Nigeria. The structures in Spain have some semblance to what we have in Nigeria and Spaniards, like Lagosians, are a very busy people.
Were the people friendly towards you?
They are nice and hospitable people but I met a few of them who weren’t that nice; that didn’t stop me from enjoying my trip.
How would you compare the hospitality in Spain to what is obtainable in Nigeria?
I don’t think Nigerians are hospitable except it has to do with their personal interest. Nigerians don’t just become friends with strangers except they want something from you. In most European countries like Spain, someone can just like you and wish to be your friend without any hidden agenda. They are very free and fun to be with.
How would you rate the country’s security?
We can’t compare Spain and Nigeria because Nigeria is still learning. I remember I was at a beach in Malaga till about 3am and I was safe. I still walked down from the beach to my apartment and there was no reason for me to become scared. In Nigeria, nobody tries that because the country is not safe. I think security in Spain is top-notch unlike what obtains in Nigeria where only a few areas are safe and the other areas are extremely dangerous. I love Nigeria but there is so much to be afraid of in this country.
What did you see in Spain that reminded you about Nigeria?
Their architectural designs are more like what we have in Nigeria. Everything about the country made me feel as if I was at home and Spain is a religious country like Nigeria.
What do you think Nigeria can learn from Spain?
I think there is a lot Nigeria can learn from the western world in terms of development and growth. But generally, Nigeria is a good place and we are doing well for ourselves despite the odds and challenges. I believe that if we fix the country, by the time we become as old as Spain, we would do exploits or even better than them.
During your trip, did you buy anything?
No, I didn’t buy anything spectacular. I just bought some designer clothes, shoes and bags. I didn’t buy any Spanish artefact but I think I will buy a few when next I visit.
What is your dream travel experience?
I want to travel to Ibiza; I have never been to the place before and I heard it is fun. I am thinking of travelling to the island for my next birthday which is in two weeks time because I want to have a memorable celebration.
What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to travel?
Travel around the world and come back home. Don’t stay in another man’s country and say that country is better than your own country because there is no place that will be like your home no matter how beautiful that place is. Instead of living in poverty in another country, why don’t you stay in your country and work hard with the little money you have. Don’t run away because you will never be as free as you will be in your own country. Get your visa and document ready, travel the world and enjoy yourself but come back home. Nigeria is blessed and we should recognise that. Remember that no matter how long you stay in any country; you will always be a visitor.
Were there any downsides to your trip?
Yes, I had some problems with the travel agency. I lost about one million naira last December when I was about to travel and they didn’t return the money. It was a big loss and I had to buy another ticket. It was very painful but I am okay now.