Posts Tagged ‘Isaac John’

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.