by Tolu Omoyeni
In the second week of August, the 2016 Global Liveability Index report was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Lagos still holds a spot at the bottom of the list. According to the ranking, Lagos is the 3rd worst city to live in the world, after Tripoli and Damascus. It is disheartening that our Lagos is placed next to war-torn cities. They say “continued threats from groups like Boko Haram act as a constraint to improving stability in Lagos”. Those of us who live in Lagos know that this is far from the truth and our city does not deserve to continue to be at the bottom of that uninformed list. We doubt if anyone from the EIU has been to Lagos recently to see the transformation going on here.
Some of us cannot be moved by your list and where you place our city but we’d like to prove that today’s Lagos is deserving of applause and commendation. Here’s why:
- The Infrastructural development project is in full force: The EIU index rated Lagos high for infrastructure because it’s tough to deny what the Lagos state government is doing with roads and housing. The capital expenditure for 2016 was put at N383,678 billion and governor Akinwunmi Ambode had pledged at the beginning of the year to embark on a strategic upgrade of infrastructure. Forget what you’re told, step on to the streets and see for yourself. There are ongoing road and flyover construction projects in almost every part of the city and the existing ones are well maintained by officials of the state government. Thumbs up to the street sweepers who work tirelessly to keep the major roads clean and LAWMA for keeping to their Monday morning waste removal appointments in my neighbourhood.
- Traffic Control and security: It’s no news that traffic jams in Lagos have eased up over time. We’re experiencing a gradual decline in gridlocks on most of our roads, some of which were notorious for heavy traffic. These things take time and in few years, we’ll get there. Every major commercial city in the world just like Lagos is bound to face this traffic palava but traffic officers in Lagos do their best to manage it. LASTMA guys are working fine (though in our opinion, that organisation needs a complete overhaul), KAI officers are doing a good job of helping Lagosians use the pedestrian bridges more and traffic lights in most parts are in good condition. Recently, the state government announced that 13000 CCTV cameras and 6000 traffic lights will be installed across the city to improve on security and reduce traffic to a bare minimum. The CCTV cameras will help mobile patrol officers to reach crime scenes faster…
- Influx of immigrants into the city: Though it’s a growing concern to the Lagos state government but there has been consistent rise in immigrants coming into Lagos from other cities in the country and neighbouring countries to seek for a better life. There is a visible urbanisation project going on in Lagos and people who are residents in other cities crave to enjoy it. Also recently, we’ve witnessed Nigerians in the diaspora moving back to Lagos to be part of the transformation and most of them have contributed to the arts and entertainment industry in the state.
- The entertainment hub of Nigeria: How can a city that never sleeps but parties all night be the 3rd worst in the world? Lagos is the world capital of Afropop and is responsible for the most part of Nigeria’s thriving music industry. Sold out concerts, weekend owambe parties and night club scenes are part of what makes Lagos a place to settle in. In an article for Playboy Magazine, Adam Skolnick said: “Lagos is the laboratory and loudspeaker, conjuring and blaring Africa’s continental soundtrack to all 54 countries of the motherland.” People in an “unstable” city do not party. Our Lagos is not like Tripoli or Damascus and we pray that they find peace. Here, we party and rock all day and all night.
- Lagos is moving ahead of Nigeria: How do we know this? Speaking on Wednesday, Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to emulate Lagos. In his words, “Lagos’ role on the economic future of Nigeria is critical than what people think of the Niger-Delta region”. Lagos is attracting investors and the economy of the state is advancing compared to what is applicable in the rest of the country. Lagos has just recently earned the status of an oil producing state as the federal government approved four oil wells in the state. This amounts to a boost in the economy of the state and the country’s.
And you still think Lagos is one of the worst cities to live in?