A Letter to Lagosians

Teniola
3 min readMar 13, 2023
Lekki Tollgate during the EndSARS Protests in 2020 (image is courtesy of BBC)

Dear Lagosians,

It isn’t often people from multiple generations in a community come to a common realization and make deliberate steps to actualize an achievable goal. It is something rarely seen throughout history and the outcomes have been varied if I can speak honestly.

The French & Russian Revolutions, the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, June 12, the Arab Spring and EndSARS are a handful I can point to.

The EndSARS movement brought about the raising of voices among people ranging from 18–39 years of age in Nigeria, a group of people who have grown up at the dawn of the information age and have become connected to their counterparts across the world in a far more seamless way.

People who came of age or were born in a period when faith in democracy was renewed, and they have grown up listening to people refer to their country as the fabled giant of Africa. It has been with this larger-than-life belief that this generation has engaged the world, never afraid to identify or represent via their nationality and/or heritage. But the unfortunate fact is Nigeria has barely lived up to all of this to this generation.

When did it become normal to say “Nigeria will happen to you.” or “This is Nigeria, anything you see, take it like that.”. In this generation we have watched hundreds of girls get kidnapped by terrorists and only a handful of them have been able to make it back home. Imagine there are hundreds of young women who were taken against their will as teenage girls when all they wanted to do was learn so that they could be able to create a certain future for themselves.

After more than 60 years of existing as a country, one would hope that despite our diversity and multi-ethnic differences we would be well ahead of identifying the common threads that bind us together as a nation, but in 2023 we find ourselves fighting off bigots and selfish political interests whose only weapon is division and hatred.

In the early days of the 4th Republic Lagos was an ignored eyesore, a city constantly struggling to cope with a daily influx of people seeking opportunities, security, sanitation and economic rejuvenation. The election of a Tinubu and subsequently Fashola coincided with the influx of new investment and new interest in Lagos, but as the Tinubu-led AC/APC sought to expand their domination beyond the South West they discarded every democratic norm and process which had brought them into power.

Ever since the Fashola years Lagos has been bereft of anything resembling visionary leadership. The city has gradually slipped back into a state of hopelessness and is literally drowning in its own mess. In the background, the politicians of Lagos have resorted to sharing up the spoils of Lagos’ famed IGR, divvying up vital funds, assets and plush jobs meant to be spent on improving the lives of the citizenry amongst themselves. From a centre of excellence, Lagos has become a city-state of mediocrity, where the only way to get ahead is via political patronage and violence.

The voting populace of Lagos sent out a clear message on the 25th of February. Despite voter suppression and violence, people still came out to show their displeasure while demanding for change. This brings up the forthcoming gubernatorial elections now scheduled to hold on the 18th of March. I will not openly endorse a candidate for the office of Governor of Lagos, but I earnestly encourage you to go out and vote. It is far more important for a majority of the citizenry to exercise their right to vote than for any candidate to win, and I feel this is very key to enshrining and establishing the institution of democracy in Nigeria. Let us not be caught up in these imagined political dynasties of a handful of people who have fed fat on public funds and are now way out of touch to listen to the plight of the people.

Ultimately, my wish is that we create a Nigerian society that we and our children can be proud of. One where Nigeria happening to you will hold a most positive connotation as opposed to one of negativity and grief.

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Teniola

Entrepreneur, Humanist, dreamer & thought provocateur INDIE GRIFFIN