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Buhari, Lagos And The Tragedy Of Connecting To The Centre By Ikenna Asomba


Sincerely, the exhilarating gaiety that rented the air across the 56 Council Areas in Lagos State, before and immediately after the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, at that ‘inglorious’ 2015 Presidential Elections, have waned terribly like a Flash in the pan.

Before and after that ‘inglorious’ 2015 elections, which saw President Muhammadu Buhari beating the incumbent President and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, certainly not without the help of the conglomeration of what Dr. Doyin Okupe, called “Strange Bed Fellows,” across the length and breadth of Lagos State, “SAI BABA” rented the air.

But two and half years later, across the Streets of Lagos, one could no longer hear the chants of “SAI BABA,” but the wailings of “CHAI BABA.”

Why Lagosians, the bourgeoisies and proletariats alike are now wailing “CHAI BABA,” just barely two and half years after chanting “SAI BABA,” Yours Truly can’t fathom.

Should I tell you the Bitter Truth, even the Bola Tinubus of this world, who promised Lagosians an Eldorado, in 2015, should they connect to the centre, is also feeling the heat.

Look, the number of mouths our own Jagaban Borgu fed before the emergence of this Rudderless Government at the centre, in May 2015, have multiplied astronomically. Jagaban Borgu and those who are very close to him know this.

Several APC Chieftains in Lagos, whom I know, are also feeling this Heat. In their closets, they are regrettably wailing “CHAI BABA.”

Even our own Engr. Joe Igbokwe, who still chants “SAI BABA” in the open, but shouts “CHAI BABA” in his closet, is also feeling the Heat of connecting to the centre.

I am not mocking Joe Igbokwe with this piece, but I know that his Newspaper, which was fairing better before the coming of this rudderless government at the centre, is now ‘gone under.’ Uncle Joe can no longer foot the astronomical costs of running the publication, even as journalists and other staff who worked for him are being owed backlogs of salary arrears. No thanks to the infamous “Lagos must connect to the centre.” Mind you, Uncle Joe is not the only one feeling this Heat, several other Newspapers, businesses, in Lagos are.

If the Lagos bourgeoisies are feeling the Heat of connecting to the centre, under this rudderless government, what of average Lagosians? Theirs is worst off.

Touring parts of Lagos, since May 2015, a discerning mind can’t see any presence of the Federal Government.

What then have Lagosians benefited connecting to the centre with this rudderless government? Is it the state of the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway? Is it the state of the access roads leading into the Tincan and Apapa Ports? Two and half years after, Lagosians are still regaled with “We are going to fix…”

Plying Lagos roads and particularly noting what Lagosians face daily, to and fro, just to eke a living, I begin to weep. If this is what it takes to connect to the centre under President Buhari, wouldn’t it have been better for Lagos to remain in the opposition?

In 2015, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, flagged-off a landmark grassroots project- the annual construction of 114 Roads across the 57 Council Areas of the State. After the Commissioning of the maiden phase of that Grassroots project in September 2016, nothing has been heard of the 2016, 2017 phases. 2018 is just some few weeks around the corner, Lagosians are yet to be told when the 2018 phase of that landmark projects would be flagged-off.

Many inner-city roads in Lagos are so debilitating that one is forced to ask, why then did Lagos and Lagosians connect to the centre, if two and half years after, there is little or nothing to show that Lagos and its good people are benefiting from that CONNECTION?

Yours Truly had on September 10, 2017, and even previously, brought to the attention of Nigerians, the debilitating state of the Tincan-Apapa Ports session of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

Pathetically, the 2015 Supplementary Budget; 2016 and 2017 Budgets have come and gone, yet little or nothing to show that connecting to the centre under this rudderless government had paid off for Lagos and Lagosians.

Just yesterday, the Senate decried the pathetic poor implementation performance of the 2017 Budget. The performance for Capital projects was at just some 20 per cent, while the entire Budget performance was just at a paltry 18 per cent.

This government prides itself as generating more revenues more than the last administration, owing to what it had always described as “the success of its fight against corruption,” but one is again forced to ask, why the poor performance of our budgets?

I wouldn’t want to go into the ‘One Day, One Scandal’ rocking this administration at the centre, but what irks me is that Lagos and Lagosians have benefited little or nothing connecting to the centre under President Buhari. When the perks and largesses of connecting to the centre would be manifested, Yours Truly knoweth not.

Just like the Tincan-Apapa Ports axis of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Yours Truly, today, stumbled on the debilitating state of Adeleye Street, an inner-city road in the Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, connecting to the ever-busy Lagos-Badagry Expressway on Orile Bus-Stop, as well as the popular Iganmu Road. Noting what the residents go through just to access their homes, I can’t but help to WEEP for them.

Residents of Adeleye Street, apparently voted massively for President Buhari in their bid to connect to the centre, but two and half years after, they are now gnashing their teeth in excruciating pains over the horrible state of the only access road into their community.

This road, perhaps is not a Federal road, but the moral of their story is that connecting to the centre has in little or no way improved their living standards. Photos attached show the debilitating state of the Adeleye Street- untared and with not drainage channel.

Residents of Adeleye Street are not the only people in this mess. Many a residents in Lagos also bear this brunt. Amid these, the Lagos Authorities at the state and local council levels, continue to complain about paucity of funds and the astronomical costs of construction materials.

By and large, one is forced to ask, has connecting to the centre not become a Tragedy for Lagos and Lagosians?

Indeed, for Lagos and Lagosians, it’s not yet UHURU.

Ikenna Asomba is a Social Commentator.______________________________________________
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