The new face of Lagos
Home of the yellow and black danfo and molue buses, crowded markets that overflow into surrounding streets, people of different tribes and social status working and living together, home to Eyo and the entertainment capital of Nigeria. The infectious energy and enthusiastic drive of Lagosians is another reason people visit this city. But Lagos is rapidly changing – the aesthetics, I mean.
With the celebration of the 50 years of existence of Lagos as a state, a lot of the old is giving way to a lot of new, prominent of which is the graffiti and paintings that are springing up on almost every available wall. Artworks and sculptures celebrating life and Lagos State can be found at strategic locations and spaces all over the city, notable bridges and structures are being repaired and repainted, even new BRT bus terminals are being built and are wearing some of these paintings and artworks.
In the near past, a drive through Lagos would be forgettable save for the hectic traffic. But now, a drive from Berger will reveal artistic graffiti on the new Ojota Pedestrian Bridge, up to five blocks of statues celebrating the people of Lagos at the Maryland Junction, and more beautiful paintings under the Mobolaji Bank Anthony bridge.
The facelift is not restricted to Lagos Mainland. A further drive to the Island will reveal different paintings that not only celebrates the rich cultural heritage and people of Lagos, but of Nigeria as a whole on the walls of the Port that spans the entire Leventis Bus-stop to CMS. Artworks and statues scattered all across the Lagos Island, especially those at the Tafawa Balewa Square, adjacent the Army Barracks close to the MUSON, the Zenith Bank Roundabout on Ajose Adeogun, walls of The Nigerian Law School and especially that first half of the popular Keke Napep.
These are more showings that Lagos has come a long way from the ancient British Colony that it was, with its old buildings, streets and structures. It is now blooming into a creative hub for technology, agriculture, entertainment, fashion, art, and more. All of these changes are not just uplifting the look of the city, they are inspiring and educating the people about things around them, building a beautiful citizenry of inspired, educated and disciplined people. The face of Lagos is changing but how much has it changed the people?
More work is needed and a good majority of Lagosians aren’t even asking for much: basic amenities such as water and power, security, and a chance to bloom without heavy government taxation. Lots of resources are being lost on ventures like The Voice Nigeria and Big Brother Nigeria that may have been shot in Nigeria if there had been constant power supply. With the abundance of talents in Lagos, there is so much that can be done for the different industries that call Lagos home to help them achieve their greatest potential through creation of policies and enabling environment for businesses to thrive. And, while we are on the subject of policies, a policy that would protect the citizens and their businesses from the negative impact of ‘area boys’ and ‘omo onile’ would be greatly appreciated.