Every small thing in this Lagos, government officials will justify with “it is not befitting of our megacity status”. Is it by mouth and mantra that a city adds mega to its name? Or they assume that simply because Nigeria has been so terribly structured and hence population is centred heavily in Lagos, it has become megacity just like that? Fa fa fa foul.
There are a few pressing problems megacities solve to attain that status and we are not even on the first rung of the ladder for most of them.
1. Sewage: Se the Romans figured this out millenia ago? How come in megacity Lagos, there is no central sewer system. We still have to call those agbepo trucks to come and evacuate our soakaways. L.O.L
2. Waste Management: Closely linked and for the same reasons as the first point is this one. Humans produce a lot of waste and this waste grows exponentially once they are massed in an area. It’s one of the ways archeologists establish settlements in a place. Megacities have well developed waste management systems. Lagos has L.O.L
3. Mass Transport: We spend notoriously long in traffic in Lagos. Most of the measures government has taken to enable us move around have not scratched the surface. Inner roads are bad. Most areas have one road in and out. They would be a nightmare in an emergency. No functioning rail. Water transport is not happening at any major scale. All the current government wants to do to solve this problem is ban danfos and bring in buses befitting our megacity status. Again L.O.L
4. Security: Virtually everywhere in Lagos, the rich people pay for private security outfits to guard them while the poorer ones pay OPC for the same purpose. The current admin has introduced the neighbourhood watch. Let us be observing if people will have enough confidence in them.
5. Housing: No need to write much on this one. Jakande figured this out and made investments that are still visible till today. The governments we’ve had since 1999 don’t get it or don’t care to get it.
There are a couple of others but let’s even start with these five. Megacity status is not by building fine empty markets in place of thriving disorganised ones. It’s not about banning things that though haphazard serve a purpose, without having a replacement. It is not about cruelly displacing people from their slums for private developers to build expensive houses. It’s not about Atlantic cities. And it is not a blanket justification for any and every government action.