Posts Tagged ‘Ikeja’

I’ve had a fabulous time in Lagos! Constant electricity, excellently paved roads, the works, Lagos is everything! Whoop, can’t wait to be back!

I can imagine you’re smiling at that.

Here’s what I really wanted to say – Lagos is not working. Lagos is not working. Lagos is NOT working.

Here’s why – on one of the days of this three-day trip, I went from Surulere to Ikeja, Oshodi to Lekki Phase 1, Victoria Island, and then back to Surulere. Bad roads. Scratch that, horrible roads. Even the so-called posh areas had horrible roads.

In August I went to Ikotun, somewhere after Lekki for film production. Slum. Capital slum. Matter of fact that area was chosen because the production was set in a slum. So I have one question, are these parts of the Lagos included in the “Lagos is working” bit?

Eight times out of ten I spend nights in Apapa when I’m in Lagos. Trailers that are yonks away from roadworthiness + horrible, potholed roads make the drive home excruciating each night. God help us if something (or someone) breaks down…

I have been at my bestie’s in Ojota at least twice this year, and the road to hers is paved with potholes as well.

Pray tell, which Lagos is working? Or is there another Lagos a few people (obviously excluding me) are privy to?

To be clear, this is more about questioning that absolute statement that is “Lagos is working”, than pointing fingers at what in my opinion (feel free to form yours in your mind or in the comments) is mediocrity at worst, and an inability to keep up the pace/deal with the issues at best.

It is about being able to query the rate/pace of development in a part of Nigeria, whether I am from that place or not, whether I am resident there or not. It is being able to do this without the discussion being reduced to “Lagos is better than all the other states in Nigeria”, “Lagos is overpopulated, or even worse, “the governor met the state in a really bad shape, you should have seen it before”. Excuses. Yuck.

So the indices for growth and development revolve around those? Really?

Are we happy to accept/grovel for crumbs when we can demand full, satisfying meals? Have we been so deprived that anything goes?

Again, to put this all in perspective, Lagos is touted as the only state in Nigeria that actually works, throw in Akwa Ibom and Anambra (we will question this gist about the current government buying 100 horses for 85 million naira later), and so I see no reason why we can’t hold it to higher standards. Let’s forget the fact that we are chopped and screwed that only 3 out of 36 states seem to have a handle on governance…let’s just forget that for now.

The entire discussion amused and saddened me to be honest – the responses I got, the arguments people put forward, and the fact that unfortunately we still haven’t come to a place where we can debate issues without either resorting to name-calling or making it about personalities.

My thinking? We can debate issues from here till doomsday – talk about overpopulation, Lagos being how many meters/years/continents/local governments below sea level, the current governors’ predecessors leaving a lot of work (and no money) for him, on and on and on. Let’s knock ourselves out with that if we must.

Why a government will abandon simpler, closer-to-the-people initiatives like sorting drainages within the town and its satellite towns and instead focus on sand filling a portion of the state that will be inaccessible to over 90% of the indigenes/residents is beyond me but let’s just leave that there. Please don’t query this particular sentence if you don’t own property around the area – you’re with me in the 90%.

While we’re at it though, let’s allow the still small voice within us that’s saying that the sooner we move away from the half-bread is better than none mentality and demand governance from the people we’ve elected to serve/lead us, the sooner we will glimpse the change we all talk about but do absolutely nothing else about.

I’ll say it one more time sha (cos this is my blog), Lagos is not working.

Easy Thursday evening; reading up on the requirements for one job I’ve been eyeing when I stray to Twitter (*sigh*) and see a link to an article by @BellaNaija titled, ‘N150 Daily Meal Allowance, 50 Recruits Sharing A Fish Head… More Sad Facts Emerge about the Nigerian Police College, Lagos‘. Convinced that @BellaNaija is determined to be a gossip blog this year, I click n the link. What I see is an official news report by Channels TV on the appalling, shameful living conditions of trainee Police Officers.

The video below is off the official news report, shot at the Police Training College in Ikeja, Lagos State, where the recruits are fed three N50 meals in a day, =N150.

A little perspective for you: about Christmas time the exchange rate was about one dollar to one hundred and sixty naira ($1 = N160), and one pound to between two hundred and fifty-eight and two hundred and sixty naira (£1 = N258 or N253). So that’s our government, feeding its potential security force on literally less than a dollar a day! A little more perspective; here’s what the President and his Vice have budgeted for their meals in the same 2013. The picture below was gotten off Punch Newspaper.


Do the math, keep dividing till you get to the cost of individual meals. And I intentionally left the feeding budget for dogs in.

And the Police Boss in the video had no scruples with saying, ‘N150 a day, it is very meagre’. No Sir, it’s not meagre, it’s an absolute disgrace! It is the reason the Police Force is a joke!

Christmas 2012 I was driving to an event, and I got to a Police checkpoint. The man said, ‘Madam anything for your boys, make I take buy indomie’. Noodles? I was shamed, and I gave him N500. So it’s degenerated from asking for ‘money for the weekend’ to asking for money for indomie noodles? How is that Police officer supposed to catch a thief? How won’t he subvert the law for the highest ‘indomie money giver’!!

Back to the video. How do we eat like mice and expect to poop like elephants? We grumble and cuss our Policemen for being below standard; after watching that video I’m even surprised we have Policemen at all!

The bit with the recruits huddled around the bucket where they were sharing fish brought tears to my eyes; was reminiscent of movies about slave trade. Sad. Very sad. Can I digress and say that if their training is as bad as their food (and what’s to say it’s not even worse) then we have the reason the Boko Haram insurgency hasn’t been quelled?

Decided to go beyond my ranting to see how much the Police Force gets from the Federal Budget. Massive respect to @BudgitNG for simplifying the budgets, and especially for the pictorial representation. Well done!

Take a look at the picture below:

The total sum allocated to the Police for 2013.

The total sum allocated to the Police for 2013 – N311, 148, 387, 312.

That figure is further broken into three categories, captured below as well:

Not much detail and I can't tell how much goes to the 6 Police Colleges from this.

Not much detail and I can’t tell how much goes to the 6 Police Colleges from this.

Decided to look at the 2012 budget, it has a little more detail. The total budget was N308, 474, 241, 153, some 3 billion less than the budget for 2013. This is a link to download (and read) the budget for yourself Police Formation and Command Budget 2012.

Thing is, sadly I didn’t find exact figures, and that’s kind of taken the wind out of my sails. Maybe not completely though, because I’m sure we could shave off monies from the N147, 100, 544 going to computer software acquisition (no comment), N44, 544, 722, 278 each for allowances and ‘non-regular allowances (what’s a non-regular allowance), N180, 000, 000 allocated to ‘non-tangible’ assets, (amongst many other funny looking figures) to provide respectable meals for the men training to serve and protect our great country.

Otherwise, can I announce that they are being bred to be corrupt, ill-mannered, inefficient, ineffective; and will function only so it won’t be said that Nigeria doesn’t have a Police Force.

Otherwise, we can put in applications (and early too) for super heroes (Thor, Hulk, Spiderman, Wolverine, take your pick) because we’ll definitely be needing them.

P:S – I didn’t mention GEJ’s visit to the Police College because I wasn’t impressed. I’m sorry.