Lagos city some say, is the city that never sleeps. If you ask me, they could not have put it any better. As Nigeria’s foremost metropolitan powerhouse,Lagos is considered equivalent (in terms of urban significance) to New York City and London, Tokyo and Jo’burg, Munich, etc. This makes sense as these are all cities that are inhabited by the bulk of the urban population in their various countries. However, the story is altered totally when these cities are weighed on the basis of urban superiority their nearness to the establishment of the ideal metropolis. In this case, Lagos is not a stone’s throw from say, New York City. Not even a pebble’s.
I believe the biggest problem in urban Nigeria is the inability of those concerned to draw-up effective, long-term solutions to the various drawbacks plaguing the urban area involved. Yes, we hear about vision this that and operation see saw, but we never get to experience these and even if we do, they don’t last long. Our maintenance culture is deplorable and quite simply, those urban area related, capital-intensive projects that should have been gotten running long ago are still waiting for the sound of the gun.
And still waiting.
I think it would be an amazing source of natural pride if Lagos was metamorphosed into an urban polity that would, by international standards, be rated one of the best places to live and work in the world. I think it would be lovely if there was an extensive railway network to combat that ‘headachy’ traffic (or if we can’t do rail, cable cars), if there was less waste thrown about recklessly, if non-erratic power supply did not exist, if the skyline became more ‘skyliney’, if the social dichotomy (the distinction between the rich and the poor) was not so apparent. All these would further enhance the liveliness and loveliness of Lagos today. The stuff that make a city are more than just stuff, they create an environment of urban magic where unlimited potential can be realized.
Times are changing and we should learn change with the times. Time to turn our jungles into concrete jungles of development.