If I were governor of Lagos State – an Introduction
I hereby commence a new series on mypenmypaper, titled: If I were governor of Lagos State.
Yes, I am interested in politics just for the purpose of making life easy, interesting, enjoyable, and worth living. I am interested in politics because I believe good leaders make good people. I am interested in leaders who use their position to make the environment a better place, and their influence to improve the lifestyle of those who voted them into office.
No, I am not saying I want to be governor of Lagos state. I am not even a Lagos state indigene, if this is a major requirement; however I am here living in, working in, and blogging from Lagos state. I prefer to be a Nigerian, big picture. Last year, I wrote a series of posts on Lagos state. I can’t say if the posts enjoyed / didn’t enjoy much readership by the number of comments gathered, but I nevertheless enjoyed putting myself to the task. Check them out here on the mypenmypaper series page.
I appreciate the 1-day child governor practice of the Lagos State government, and this has actually prompted this next series of posts, especially after reading about this year’s event, sometime last month.
Jun 2, 2008 – Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Monday hosted the One day Governor for 2008 Master Daniel Osunbor with a promise that the State Government would ensure the upgrade of all public schools in the state.
The One Day Governor, Master Sunday Osunbor commended the achievements already recorded by Governor Fashola since assuming office and listed programmes like the beautification exercise, the introduction of BRT Lite buses and activities of LASTMA for commendation.
He applauded the team spirit being displayed by the members of the cabinet of Lagos State Government, saying it has been responsible for the progressive strides it has recorded since it came on.
He called for an eradication of the incidence of child abuse, child trafficking as well as the provision of assistance to less privileged students and pupils to continue their education.
He said he has gone round all the ministries and commended the staffers for the job they are doing and asked that more efforts be deployed to achievements of expected goals.
Master Osunbor also called for a rehabilitation of his school, the Ilupeju Senior Secondary School with the provision of libraries and laboratories as well as the paying of greater attention to the welfare of teachers.
Governor Babatunde Fashola later presented gifts to the One Day Governor, his Deputy, the Speaker and other cabinet members.
The One Day Governor was accompanied by his Deputy- Miss Abioye Kunle Lawal, Speaker- Mr Oyebanjo Adejuwon, Hon Commissioner for Education- Miss Ajia Aisha, Information- Miss Yusuph Adenike, Youth- Oluwabuyide Olakunmi, Science and Technology- Akinbo Abiodun, Environment- Emegiuai Kanayor.
It isn’t just a step into nollywood, but could be one into a meaningful Nigerian politics for the kids involved, as such would develop interest to be leaders among their peers.
If I were governor of Lagos State.
Five (5) years ago, I met a U.S Citizen French man in Ghana at an international event. I’ll call him Mr. P for this discussion. He had observed during the ‘getting to know you sessions’ we had that some of us Nigerians had introduced ourselves as ‘living in / working in Lagos’ and he had picked interest. There were other Africans there too. After some days of observing that we weren’t as bad as what he read in ‘his book’, he had to call me aside for questioning. He asked me to tell him about Lagos State. The first thing that crossed my mind was: ‘why didn’t he ask about Nigeria, why Lagos’? I thought: what will I say? – That Lagos is the best place on earth? I decided to educate him. T’was like 5-minutes into my ‘information’, when he now asked me to wait. He reached into his bag, brought out a book, titled: ‘Guide to Africa’, and opened the page with information about Lagos, where he had stuck with a bookmark. He asked me to read, and the first line of what I read was: “Lagos State is among the most dangerous cities in Africa, and Nigeria”. That line etched into my brain immediately. I was like….what? The next couple of lines, I can’t remember ‘in quote’, went something like this:
Your flight to Nigeria would most likely be landing at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA). Kindly make necessary preparation before your arrival to have your American contact in Lagos, Nigeria or an American Embassy representative locate and pick you up immediately upon arriving at the MMIA airport.
Upon your arrival, call the telephone numbers <XXX-XXXX, YYY, YYYY or ZZZ-ZZZZ> to register your arrival. For information and assistance, contact Mr. ABC, Mr. DEF at the American Embassy liaison office inside the airport. Should telephone-contact be unavailable which is always the case in Nigeria, you are advised to stay inside the airport and not accept taxi favors from any Nigerian, from the airport to the American Embassy. Repeat: DO NOT ACCEPT FAVORS FROM ANY NIGERIAN, FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE AMERICAN EMBASSY. DO NOT DISEMBARK FROM YOUR AIRPLANE IF IN DOUBT OR IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION. Be advised that Americans traveling to Nigeria for the first time are doing so at a risk to their lives and property. The following information is applicable at all hours of the day…
The next couple of paragraphs made me to ask myself if this was the same Lagos I was coming from. From pick-pocketing to luggage stealing, identity theft, kidnapping, robbery, and ‘being stripped of one’s clothes and shoes right inside the airport’, all within ‘hours of your arrival at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos state, Nigeria’, I had to do a double check at the back of the book again to verify if it was a ‘guide to Africa’ or ‘threat to Africa’. Even Tarzan, king of the Jungle would have stopped in his tracks, thought things over before disembarking his flight to Lagos state.
It was his first visit to Africa, and Mr. P bought this ‘guide to Africa’ a day before his journey. Unfortunately, Mr. P, began reading the fearful ‘guide to Africa’ tale about Lagos state, just at the same time his flight touched down in transit at the MMIA, enroute to Accra. According to him, he was terribly scared, as he realized that he was in deed in the Lagos state he was reading about.
Yes, I laughed. I laughed so hard I had to call another Nigerian guy to come and read what I was reading. We ended up laughing, laughing ‘at first’. This ‘guide to Africa’ contained about 5-pages about Lagos state and twenty-six (26) info pages about Nigeria. There was no time to read the whole information, but what I read about Lagos state made me shake my head in wonder and disbelief as it appeared to me I was reading about a terrible terrorist camp in the heart of a cannibalized Africa.
I had to inform Mr. P that the author/s and publisher/s of this ‘guide to Africa’ were terribly wrong and had gone overboard with the information contained in the book, that Lagos state was not as bad as the painted picture, that it was a nice place and many Americans, English men, Asians etc., live in Lagos and have good stories to tell. I informed Mr. P that, Yes, he had to be very careful when traveling anywhere for a first time, and that this ‘careful attitude’ was not peculiar to visits to Africa, but even Africans have to be careful when traveling abroad.
‘They say’ If you can live in Lagos state, you can live anywhere in the world.
Lagos State, is daily burstling with all kinds of people from every corner of the world. If you call Lagos state the New York of Nigeria, you won’t be making a mistake. From the hoods in Mushin and Ajegunle to the high fenced walls on the Island, Nigerians, Africans, Europeans, Americans, Asians, Middle Easterns etc, name them; you’ll find them in Lagos.
One idea I like about Lagos state is calling people by what they do, where they come from etc. some examples from people I’ve met include:
Mama Calabar – this one needs no introduction for anyone who likes to eat.
Baba Ijebu – a driver,
Oyo – another driver,
Aunty Illorin – grocery store owner,
Ekiti – Toyota mechanic
Baba Eko – this guy is a Chinese man who has lived in Lagos for over 30 years. The guy’s Pidgin English is better than my own. His Yoruba is perfect.
Malam Kano, Malam Bauchi - yam sellers,
Kogi – an electrician in my area,
Fadeyi – a bus conductor,
Baba Maiduguri, baba Abuja Malam Katsina – roadside cigarette, candy sellers,
Note: I haven’t found any Eastern brother/sister living in Lagos, and referred to as aunty Anambra or Baba Enugu or Mama Imo. This is one of the reasons why I was asking<<>>>>Is this because all Easterners are usually from no where in particular, and just from the East? That’s why I was asking earlier on.
Kole kole – garbage packers,
Eleko – pap seller,
Kogbe kogbe – shit packers. These guys would open up your sockaway and deep their bare hands inside.
Elewa – beans seller,
NEPA – free lance electrician. He can reconnect any illegal connection and disconnect any legal connection. Just pay him his money.
Iya iresi – woman who sells rice,
Oyinbo, or yellow – anyone that is fare in complexion. It goes male and female.
Pastor – too much Bible and you become a pastor.
Alamala – amala seller,
Aunty moin moin – a woman who sells beans cake,
Badagry – a man who has his origins in badagry,
Young shall grow – this guy is four and a half feet tall, that’s why he’s called ‘young shall grow’.
MTN - living in my area, this guy is a roadside telephone operator, but the guy is going gaga as his shirt and trousers are all yellow, just because of MTN.
Charles Taylor – a great fan of Liberia,
Surulere – an okada man who doesn’t mind pulling off his shirt for a fight over 20-Naira,
Pirate – pirated CD seller at the computer village in Ikeja,
GSM – also at the computer village, ikeja, people say this guy can repair any kind of GSM,
Adedibu – security guard fan of Adedibu,
Fashola, Tinubu – these guys are area boys,
Canada – a 15year old in my area who loves wearing T-shirts with the inscription ‘canada’,
Agege – bus conductor,
Bombay – indian businessman at computer village, Ikeja,
The present governor of Lagos state is Governor Babatunde Fashola. He runs his show in his office and I’ll be running my own here. I said, if I were governor of Lagos state. Goodnaijagirl talks about Nigeria for Dummies, a for-dummies book that could help her know about Nigeria and its politrics. The reality is that ‘Nigeria’ and ‘Dummy/ies’ are not synonymous in Nature, they have nothing in common. ‘Lagos’ and ‘Dummies’ are not synonymous either. To live and flow in Lagos, you have to be smart and smart about your smartness. ‘Lagos for Dummies’ compiled by mypenmypaper, hhhmmmm, it could be worth the effort: writing a good guide to Lagos state book – for dummies.
So, here, your flight has landed in Lagos state. This time, we are not transiting anywhere, plis, pluz, please, pleeeeeeeeaaaaaseeeeeeeeeyyyyy, disembark from your plane’, don’t be scared, theres nothing to fear. You won’t be kidnapped, you won’t be stripped of your clothes and shoes, You have arrived in Lagos state, you are in Nigeria, you are in Africa. This is the place to be. I am going to assume I’m the governor and I’m taking you for a ride.