Three Roads To Tomorrow is a 23 minutes coloured film shot in Nigeria in 1958 by BP (British Petroleum) Film. The film is about three Nigerian students from different corners of Nigeria who come to Ibadan University
Three Nigerian students from different corners of Nigeria come to Ibadan University. While they sit talking in a dance club, the film traces back each of their journeys to the university. Scenes of their homes give a new impression of an old country, and we come to understand how a modern network of communications – all dependent on oil and petrol – has opened up what was not so long ago inaccessible territory’ (Monthly Film Bulletin, 1961, 14).
Over a map of Nigeria, the British commentator introduces the film. ‘This is a short tale of three long journeys which changed three lives’, he begins. ‘Modern transport and oil power have changed the lives of all Nigeria and that is part of our theme. The rest of our theme is where these journeys lead.’ The film shows young students in a dancing club on the campus of Ibadan University.
The commentator then introduces three of these students and recalls their journeys here. First, Reuben, an Ibo. After saying farewell to his father – who runs a motorboat – and friends, he sets off on a BP lorry, and then on a bus, before finally crossing the water and reaching the University. Next is Moyo, a Yoruba, cycling through the streets of Lagos and returning home to say goodbye to his family. He travels by train and on his arrival at the University meets Reuben.
Finally, Ado, a Hausa, who invites his new friends to travel by plane to visit his family in the North. Ado’s father is an Emir, and the film shows the traditional festival – the salah – which greets them. The film concludes with further shots of celebration – including a re-enactment by weapon-brandishing horsemen – as these three men, ‘fellow students and fellow citizens of a nation of tomorrow’, smile and laugh together.
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