Lagos state is the New York of Nigeria (more like New York is the Lagos of USA). Like it or not, it is one of the most successful states in the country. With an internally generated revenue of N76 billion within the first quarter of 2016 and only N7 billion received from statutory allocation at the time, it’s said Lagos’ economy rivals that of countries like Kenya.
However, as successful Lagos state seems with all its achievements and brilliant methods of generating revenue, there are still issues obstructing the complete growth of the state and its inhabitants. Since a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest links, these problems pose a significant threat to the veneer of prosperity Lagos State shows the world.
Below are five issues and problems no Lagos state Governor has been able to solve till date.
Like is or not, Lagos is not completely safe to live in. With all the bruhaha of its teeming population and the ever increasing weight of recession bearing down on everyone, the crime rate has extended from the high-risk zones like Ajegunle and its slums to more residential areas like Surulere, Cele/Ijesha, Orile, Mile 2. The problem of Insecurity is a major issue in Lagos even with vigilante groups forming everywhere and street gates and other security measures implemented by residents and it remains a problem especially because the state has left a large part of residential areas to its dwellers to handle.
It is such a norm that people get robbed in when it’s still daylight while others pass by minding their own business as if seeing someone get robbed is as uninteresting as watching a woman sell “akara” by the roadside.
The richest state also has the most active criminals?
The average “Lagosian” does not see him or herself living elsewhere. However, inhabitants not used to the buzzing life of Lagos,find it hard to move down to taste the “Good”life because of the traffic.
The Ajah-Lekki traffic sometimes takes as much as 4 hours to navigate. That along Awolowo way in Ikeja is a living nightmare. Let’s not even speak of the other which makes living Apapa feel like living in another state entirely. Or Third Mainland bridge in the evenings on weekdays?
Development is Lagos is high, but to what purpose is this development if it remains an issue to navigate, enjoying these benefits? Other parts of Lagos experience traffic to the point where it becomes a problem having a car, and wiser to patronize the Okada riders who have all but been banned everywhere.
Lagos might be the business capital of Nigeria, but its road networking system is so bad it is the worst nightmare of any motorist in Nigeria.
3. The Agberos (touts) and Omo-oniles
Traffic is the bane of Motorists, Agbero the bane of most commercial drivers and motorcyclists, while omo–onile is the bane of prospective land buyers and home owners. No one is safe!!
Agberos or touts as they are called, are responsible for the hike in transport fares in Lagos as they tax the commercial drivers at will, who will in turn tax the passengers and masses. The anarchy involved in carrying out this procedure is so bad that passengers are sometimes the indirect recipients of the hostility of the touts.
This issue of touts might be a norm in all states of Nigeria, but Lagos is known for having the worst of the worst as its members. Seeing how taxing the commercial drivers and cyclists could be properly structured, instead of given to the undesirables of society, Lagos has adamantly maintained a history of supporting touts who make becoming a commercial driver a very unhappy job.
No shout-outs to the Government for wanting to employ graduates as conductors and drivers.
4. Certain members of the Police and other Uniformed Officials
This is a major problem in Nigeria but Lagos faces the bite because of its large population.
Our able-bodied law enforcement agents are a remarkable force. However, the number of times they create issues rather than solve them is a discomfort almost every Lagosian has dealt with since time immemorial.
Ranging from the unnecessary checkpoints they set up to extort commercial drivers, cyclists, and private motorists, to how they abuse these same people, including the innocent civilian who ends up on their wrong side, many policemen and women have slowly turned the black uniform from a symbol of law and order, into an epitome of bribery and oppression.
Some time ago, a man who was just robbed on the streets of Sanya, rushed into the Police station to make his complaint. A casually dressed man sat outside, making a call, the victim greeted and rushed in to do his civic duty. Upon calling for attention at the empty counter, the bellow of the man outside demanding his presence made him forget his mission. On getting outside, the man who turned out to be a policeman was more concerned about the victim not waiting for him to finish his call and attend to him, than the actual problem, a case of robbery on the street their station was. It took the intervention of a passerby to calm the policeman else he would have brutalized the victim of a robbery, adding salt to injury.
The point is, hardly do we find a policeman or woman in Lagos who isn’t so high-minded that they focus solely on protecting life and property as they were employed to do.Many policemen and women are so busy setting up checkpoints and entering free rides that they have no idea how to solve an actual crime when it happens, treating case files like paper meant to wrap suya.
No Governor has made Lagos uncomfortable for incompetent men of the law.
Yes, Lagos has one of the smallest land masses among states in Nigeria, but no, it is no excuse for the consistent inability to handle the problem of housing.
More than just demolishing buildings and erecting high-rise apartments, the government has not really been able to make housing affordable to a lot of people, even upping the prices of the few houses they build to rival those of capitalists.
Aside from the expensive housing system which the government has not been able to tackle, the whole idea of taking two years rent in advance from tenants is still an issue, especially on Lagos Mainland. In areas like Surulere, Yaba, Ikeja, and others, most landlords take two years at first from tenants or one and half years at least.
This boosts the prices of renting a decent one room self-contain to up to three hundred thousand Naira per year. In an age when the average fresh graduate earns around sixty to eighty thousand nNaira per month, it would take them nearly two years to save up rent enough for decent lodgings.
It is so bad that no room for grace is given when rents expire, thus putting to shame the impression of hospitability and peace that Governor Ambode gave the world when he spoke on a TVC commercial, advertising Lagos state.
Lagos has a lot of issues to sort out before it can be ranked among even some middle-class cities in the world. Until these issues are sorted, it is not alright to sit down and remain comfortable in it, and no Governor can say his tenure was a success.