Monday, April 24, 2017

Navigating Lagos, Africa's Largest Megacity, Part 1

How can one describe Lagos in one sentence to an upwardly mobile entrepreneur or tourist?
Lagos is like a combination of New York and California; for booming business and entertainment.

LAGOS in MOTION: A Photo Album of Africa's Largest Megacity (Volume 1), distributed by Amazon is a colourful travelogue on Lagos, called Ìlú Èkó in Yorùbá
The photo book from a new tourist documentary film, "LAGOS in MOTION: Sights and Sounds of Africa's Largest Megacity" shows different locations visited by a group of young men and women touring the city from the mainland to the island. They started from the Magodo axis where there is a monument of the statues of three white cap chiefs, known as "Idejo". The statues are 21 feet by 14 feet and standing on a 7 feet pedestal welcoming visitors to Lagos.
The tourists drive on to Ojota; Maryland Bus Stop to Ikeja Bus Stop and Oshodi Bus Stop; passing every bus stop along the long Ikorodu Road to Yaba with the famous Presbyterian Church; University of Lagos in Akoka; Onike with the popular Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Church and the Ayodele Awojobi Memorial Park; Sabo with Yaba Baptist Church near the Ozone Cinemas on Tos Benson Avenue and the Herbert Macaulay Memorial statue near the Union Bank facing the Sabo Market and Police Station; Ojuelegba Bus Stop; Barracks Bus Stop and National Stadium in Surulere on the Western Avenue to Costain with the Funso Williams Memorial statue; National Theatre; Eko Bridge to the Marina; CMS Bus Stop with the famous Lagos Cathedral; Tinubu Square with the famous Madam Tinubu monument at the fountain; Balogun Market and they moved on to Tafawa Balewa Square; Kings College with the nearby skyscrapers of the Independence Building, NITEL Building and Western House opposite the General Hospital;  the  National Museum beside the City Mall in Onikan leading to Obalende Bus Stop to Keffi in South West Ikoyi along the Awolowo Road to Falomo roundabout and the Bourdillon Road leading to the popular Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge; Ahmadu Bello Way to the Bar Beach and Ajose Adeogun roundabout on Victoria Island, location of Eko Atlantic City under construction; The Palms Shopping Mall and ended their tour at the Elegushi beach.
See clips from the documentary film on Screen Naija YouTube channel.

The earliest incarnation of Lagos was an Awori Yoruba fishing community located on the islands and peninsula that form the modern state. The area was inhabited by families who claimed a semi-mythical ancestry from a figure called Olofin.
The modern descendants of this figure are the contemporary nobility known as the Idejo or "white cap chiefs" of Lagos.
Lagos was declared a colony on  March 5, 1862 by the British Empire The colony and protectorate of Nigeria were incorporated into Southern Nigeria in February 1906, and Lagos became the capital of the protectorate of Nigeria in January 1914.

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, current Governor of Lagos State.

2017 is the Golden Jubilee year of Lagos state, because May 27 is the 50th anniversary of the establishment by the Federal Government of Nigeria on May 27, 1967 under the Creation and Transitional Provisions Decree No. 14 of 1967.
Lagos State is divided into five Administrative Divisions, which are further divided into twenty Local Government Areas, or LGAs. And the current Governor is Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of the national ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).

The state which is the smallest of the 36 states in Nigeria by land mass has become the most populous and the most prosperous.
Lagos was the federal capital of Nigeria before losing the status to Abuja in 1991, but has become one of the fastest growing cities in the world as the commercial capital of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and the continent's largest economy boosted by the rapid development of Lagos state with a population of more than 21 million people attracting both local and global investors to become the richest state in Nigeria and fifth biggest economy in Africa as the largest megacity with the highest GDP.
Lagos is also the heartbeat of the continent for entertainment with the phenomenal Nollywood, the second largest video film industry in the world after Bollywood of India and ahead of Hollywood in production of home videos.
The  GDP of Lagos alone exceeds that of Kenya, East Africa’s biggest  economy.
Lagos has more international five star hotels and multinational corporations than other countries in West Africa.

The Phenomenal Growth of Lagos Among Resilient Cities in West Africa:
Lagos, which sits in the southwestern corner of Nigeria, sprawled over a collection of islands and swampy coastlands, occupies the leading edge of this phenomenon. Today, its extraordinary growth is driving sweeping changes in a five-country region that stretches 500 miles westward along a band of palm-shaded seaboard all the way to Abidjan, capital of Cote d'Voire, a mushrooming city of perhaps six million people that has long been this region's other major economic and cultural pole.
In between them, in one of the busiest staging areas of the historic Atlantic slave trade; West Africa is laying the foundations of one of the world's biggest megalopolises, and in Lagos itself, the start of a potentially powerful new city-state.
The biggest challenge posed by the growth of Lagos and the consolidation of an enormous, sub-regional economic zone around it, however, is not to the city's minuscule neighbors. Rather, it is to Nigeria's continued existence as a unitary nation.
If present trends continue, in another decade or two, Lagos's economy will surpass the size of the rest of Nigeria.
What has held the country together in the past, however tenuously, is the redistribution of money earned from the country's oil exports. But this is changing fast, as Lagos booms and its dependence on this ever more thinly sliced revenue -- what Nigerian politicians call the "national cake" -- dwindles.
The immediate former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji ­Fashola, SAN, once dropped the following bombshell so calmly it would have been easy to miss: he believes the city’s optimum population is 40 million.
~ Fashola, The Man Who Transformed Lagos - Matthew Green Of Financial Times - Politics - Nigeria

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the current Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi said:
“As it stands today, Lagos’ role on the economic future of Nigeria is critical than what people think of the Niger Delta region.
He said the Federal Government can learn from Lagos policies formulation that boost business and attract investors; adding that the Lagos example can bail the country out of its economic woes.

Lagos State is developing new cities with the Eko Atlantic City already in progress and Lagos Smart City project on the drawing board.
Dangote Group is building the largest refinery in Africa in the state.
A new international airport and new seaport are also in progress in Lagos.

Lagos has attracted global business leaders, including billionaires Bill Gates and Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Cofounder and CEO of Facebook who visited the city in his first trip to sub Saharan Africa in August, 2016. He is investing in ICT startups in the technological ecosystem of Lagos.

The tourists will visit Ikorodu, Epe, Aja, Badagry, Festac Town, Apapa, Snake Island and the other towns in the outskirts of Lagos in the second and concluding part of their road tour.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,
Publisher/Editor of NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series is the producer/director of the "LAGOS in MOTION: Sights and Sounds of Africa's Largest Megacity" documentary film and author of the photo book.

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