Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ijebuman in lagos 4

My love affair with Lagos is over.
When we returned to naija in the 70s we lived in Kaduna, then my dad relocated to Lagos and we had to move down south. Kaduna was a great town back then and my sister and i were really sad about leaving. We arrived in Lagos and i completely forgot about Kaduna.
Everything about Lagos was fascinating, the bridges, ikorodu road, Victoria island, bar beach etc.

Fascination is not a word i will use in describing Lagos now.
Lagos is in a state of Anomie. The term is attributed to nineteenth century French pioneer sociologist, Émile Durkheim. Anomie is a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values. (i knew my degree in sociology will come handy someday...)

Durkheim believed that anomie is common when the surrounding society has undergone significant changes in its economic fortunes, whether for good or for worse and, more generally, when there is a significant discrepancy between the ideological theories and values commonly professed and what was actually achievable in everyday life.

Distinguished American sociologist, Robert King Merton also adopted the idea of anomie to develop Strain Theory, defining it as the discrepancy between common social goals and the legitimate means to attain those goals. In other words, an individual suffering from anomie would strive to attain the common goals of a specific society yet would not be able to reach these goals legitimately because of the structural limitations in society. As a result the individual would exhibit deviant behaviour.
from wiki

But enough of the sociological analysis. Here's the bottomline, Lagos sucks, it's like a car crash waiting to happen. The warning signs are there but no one cares.

The relationship Lagosians have with Lagos is like a woman in an abusive relationship, the type that justifies the partner's violence and remains in the relationship until the guy almost kills her.

Ijebuman in lagos 3

I've always found the third mainland bridge fascinating, its my favourite route to the island. I
can still remember the first time we used the bridge in the early eighties, my dad was taking us to VI. I'm a bit of a geography geek so i noticed he was going through Herbert Macaulay way, rather than the usual route, i.e. through western avenue via Eko bridge. I knew we couldn't be heading towards Carter bridge because my dad never used it because of the traffic hold up at idumota.

Anyway he was going down Herbert Macaulay and i was still trying to figure out where he was going, then he turned left and there it was, the 3rd mainland bridge, Shagari had done the official opening the week before.
I can't remember our destination but i will always remember that journey across the bridge.

I was still in Lagos when IBB finally completed the Oworonshoki end of the bridge, linking it up with Apapa/Oshodi expressway and the Lagos/Ibadan expressway in the early 90s.

I had heard a lot of things about the current condition of the bridge, but i had to see it myself. The oworonshoki end was ok but then we got to the older sections, starting from the herbert macaulay end, and its as if an earth tremor had occurred and realigned the bridge. Several sections of the bridge has moved, so the road is no longer smooth and it felt as if the car was actually bouncing on the road.

I still find the bridge fascinating but i also have a very bad feeling about it...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ijebuman in lagos 2

Lagosians deserve a medal of honour for surviving in this urban jungle. I've been driving around Lagos and my 'Lagos driving skills' is seriously out of date, its like i'm still on windows 95 while everyone is on XP.
But the things that pass for roads in Lagos these days na wah o. I don't know what that guy with the big eyes (Tinubu) is doing.
Federal roads too are no better, even the express road to Baba Iyabo's farm at Otta, that i thought he would have finished repairing by now, is still not finished. I hear the man uses a helicopter to travel from Lagos to Otta. We go see wetin he go use after 2007..

I've decided next time i visit naija i won't be spending a lot of time in Lagos, not even that south african shopping mall (the palms) will tempt me to stay. Can you imagine that Lekki beach has been taken over by area boys. I was there on tuesday, had to pay to get in, pay for car parking and then pay protection money to some hooligans so they won't vandalise the car.To make matters worse the beach was littered with rubbish. No wonder no one goes to the beach, my brother joked that rather than go to the beach, everyone goes to the palms..

Ibadan kini show??
I take back all the jokes I’ve made about ibadan, i spent a day there and i did not want to return to Lagos. It may not have a lot going economically but at least its residents are not raving lunatics..

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

ijebuman in lagos 1

oh the joys of dial up, finally got online no thanks to multilinks.
Their customer service is complete crap, I wanted to buy a spare battery for our LSP-3000 phone as i noticed the phone was only keeping its charge for a short time.
The conversation went along these lines:
me: do you sell the rechargable batteries for the LSP-3000
multilinks woman: yes we do, it costs 2500 naira
me: ok can i buy one
multilinks woman: where is the phone?
me: its at home but i just need the batteries
multilinks woman: we can't sell you the battery without seeing the phone as there could be a fault with it
me: no there's no fault with it i just need to buy the batteries
multilinks woman: no you have to see our technician
me: but i just want to buy the batteries, God this place has turned into Nitel

At this point i speak to someone who looks fairly intelligent
me: can i buy the batteries for the LSP-3000

multilinks engineer: yes it costs 2500 naira
me: i know
multilinks engineer: where's the phone?
me: its not here i just need the batteries.
multilinks engineer: eh
Quickly realising that the conversation was going along the same lines, i changed my approach

me: ok i need spare batteries for my LSP-3000, the current one is fine but i'll like to buy a spare one.
multilinks engineer: eh ok, you need to pay 2500 naira to the cashier, take a copy of the receipt to that guy over there and wait...
me: ok
multilinks engineer: can you fit it?
me: well i'll try but if i can't, i have a trained monkey who can definitely do it

And that my peeps is an example of what Nigerians have to go through everyday while dealing with government organisations, private organisations, churches etc.
The simple things have been turned into some complicated bureacratic mess. No wonder everyone seems to have given up

Friday, October 13, 2006

Destination: Lagos

I'm off to Nigeria this weekend, its been 2 years since my last visit so i'm looking forward to observing the many changes that has happened since 04.

I know there'll be a few things i'll be irritated about, you see i can handle everything naija throws at me but there's one thing that will always ruffle my feathers.
I hear there's now a church close to where we live. I tire o.. its bad enough that religion will be shoved down my throat everywhere i go (on the TV, radio, billboards etc) but when i can't sleep peacefully in my own house, na yah be dat o.

a great response to the question 'Why Is Nigeria Not Working?'
I had to grab this off a forum i check out occasionally and it was in response to the question: Why Is Nigeria Not Working?
Birdman posted:

I think we blame our leaders too much. Our leaders did not drop out of the sky. These people are from among us, they lived among us and they reflect what we as Nigerians have become. Our problem isn't oil, roads, food, Our problem is us. The way we think is twisted, and we refuse to love ourselves enough to change.

You have probably heard several stories of how patients in critical conditions die at hospitals because of no electricity. If we loved ourselves, we would demand without rest and make sure that all hospitals have reliable backups, because one day, someone we love may very well be in critical condition in a hospital.

We attend "all-night" prayer sessions binding all manner of spirits, gyrating as though by our loud speaking we can make God do 'jara' for us. As Yorubas will say, this is "oju-aiye" (pretense). How can a christian who has enough faith to bind some supposed principality not have enough faith to make a lasting change at his/her workplace. We keep invoking God's name in everything but our actions towards ourselves and fellow Nigerians show we really are not serious about anything. The words we speak outside of church contradicts our prayers 80% of the time.

Finally, you all remember the poll that placed Nigerians as the most happy people on the earth? Some think this is a good thing. It isn't. You might think it implies resilience. I think it points instead to our laziness and careless attitude. Rather than change things, we are content to sit by and look, hoping some mugu will risk his life to make things better while the rest of us enjoy.

Only a madman does the same thing over and over again, and expects a different result. I personally have little faith in the current generation ruling us (these guys were in power from when we had independence, through our first coup, until now). They remind me of the first israelites who left Egypt. Their minds have been warped and all we can do is wait for them to die out or get too old to rule (or maybe amadioha strikes the lot of them down Tongue) so that new blood can come in (Utomi, Duke, Dora I am looking at you )

"The eyes of the future are looking back at us and praying for us to look beyond our own time"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I love your smile

Jr is growing so fast its hard to keep up, hard to imagine that he is a little over 2 months old.
Its not easy interacting with a baby at this stage, the interaction is usually one-way, as they don't really respond apart from crying.
But it’s amazing what you learn about them from the few clues they provide. For instance he hates his Moses basket and has stopped sleeping in it (shame we can't send it back to mothercare). He loves, correction; demands attention (typical Leo) and he 'prefers' that you walk around when you carry him in your arms. (you are not allowed to sit down and do anything else).
Failure to adhere to the above instructions will result in a loud noise that may result in the council issuing a noise abatement order…

But I digress...
And then the other day it happened, he responded, our little boy started smiling and its the most beautiful smile i've ever seen…