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Monday, 6 February 2017

Walking In Nigeria's Richest Ghetto

I have always felt Lekki is one huge farce. The pennisula is under threat from rising sea levels, yet no coherent building code and certainly no planning. There is no regard for the environment here. The affluent are usually eco-conscious, since the affluence here is not by honest income, the accompanying attitudes of the truly rich is ABSENT. The people here are thoroughly conceited and pedantic. They fancy themselves as being rich whereas their lifestyle and taste is totally down market. They are projectors; they drive expensive cars, live in big houses, their furniture has gold accents but they betray the class they struggle to belong in when they serve you food in chipped and cheap uncoordinated plates given at parties and spoons that can cut the tongue off. One sees refridgerator, chest freezer and aquarium where it shouldn't be. Everywhere has television and crowded furnishing. You will never see bookshelves! Where is the taste? Where is the class?
Lekki grew on cheap and stolen money for the most parts and its inhabitants are unusually pretentious and condescending. I could write a tome on Lekki. In the last one week I have taken to walking in the morning, I have seen what a huge infrastructural deficit gorge we are in. Lekki is an urban sprawl, a huge construction site without greenery. Only a few houses have character. Lekki and the adjoining areas called New Lagos are textbook examples of failure in urban planning. An example of how a people should not live. The open sewers do not lead anywhere and they are filled with stagnant, smelly water, sand and plastics. There are no recreational areas. It is one huge concrete jungle without a care, it is almost impossible to see a landscaped house here. There are no walkways, no kerbs and no provisions for pedestrians. One would think whoever lives here should have some decorum, nope! Only a few will yield to pedestrians. The drivers look down on people who are walking by while the Ogas being driven pretend to be busy at the back. Most often, to see an $80,000 car being driven on the kerb. Immediately you can make inferences about the kind of person or persons in the car. Some houses and construction sites have gun wielding mobile police. What for?

Being a pedestrian in Nigeria is a problem. You are at the mercy of drivers, Okada riders and the elements. Now I know why ost Nigerians have a permanent scowl on their faces. It is hard to stay cool when you are constantly under threat. This morning, one commercial bus faced oncoming traffic because he wanted to beat the traffic. I was aghast! While making the trek, I noticed the sellers of Shepe. People were drinking these psychotropic mixes as early as 7:00am on empty stomach. While making my way, I walked through one service lane where a lot of local food sellers were; the place reeked of Marijuana. I walked briskly past.

The last one week has been a journey through urban roots. I saw true affluence, pseudo affluence and mushrooming poverty living side by side. The number of young men sitting by, chatting away at 8:00am struck me too. We are a nation adrift. Everyone is looking for money but one thing is very clear. No more free money...many houses are empty. Free money is never coming back. Too many for sale and for lease signs. One thing is very clear to me, we will get a brain reset whether we like it or not.

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