Since the head of the Lagos ruling class, Bola Tinubu, “handed over” in 2007; his successors have been engaging in marathons of anti-people actions that have done two basic things: destroy the life of many, while a tiny few have become richer.
To analyse the whole of the anti-people actions would mean writing volumes. This effort will however, take a short look at both issues of mass evictions and ban on Okada (and tricycles this time).
The term “Mega City” is borne out of the urban renewal and development strategies that have been on the lips of the Jagabanist rulers. They, on paper, intend to turn Lagos to “African Dubai!”
To build the “African Dubai,” the mass of working people have been at the receiving end. Ancient and modern communities have been destroyed to give way to classified bourgeois estates. Q.dot; that Ibadan-born Afro-hip hop musician, once described these in a song that: “Idi-Ogede lo di Banana Island…” The crafty crooner tried showing this crooked urbanisation where peoples’ lands are taken over through undemocratic evictions and the land is name-changed and sold out to the highest bidders. Another of such is Otodo Gbame that was finally taken in 2017 and name-changed to Periwinkle Estate. Other communities also get stolen with the names retained like Ilubirin, Maroko and a good part of Makoko. This year alone, about six communities have been destroyed and taken over leaving the real occupants homeless and hopeless.
The real essence of land thefts and community seizures can be seen in the fact that Bola Tinubu is arguably the biggest Landlord in West Africa. He must be the characters in the dancing masquerade of Olamide’s “Omo Abulesowo.” That masquerade even boasted that “if anybody fuck up,” the person will be forcefully “put in dem place.” And truly, the Lagos state government has a department named “Landgrabbing.” This department, I personally witnessed, played key roles in Otodo Gbame, Ikorodu Market, and other cruel evictions under the Akin Ambode regime.
On Okada, the wanton ban and “unban” has become a ritual since the Babatunde Fasola regime. It must be suspect that the Mega city project usually attract mega loans (both foreign and local), so Fasola violently banned Okada after he famously rode on one of them round the city alongside thousands during electoral campaigns. Ambode also passed through same pattern of ritual.
What is suspect also, is that after these rituals under Fasola and Ambode, the same Okada that got violently banned rode back in as Skykada, Gokada, and Opay. Public opinions show that these bike outfits are investments of the same people who executed the actual bans.
As if this ritual would go to eternal bed with the Ambode era, Sanwo-Olu furthered the ban to include even tricycles. This has also deepened the dimensions.
Tricycles are safer. But the ban is largely connected to politics this time. While the Tinubu hegemony has taken full charge of the politics of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) that controls the yellow buses, the Tricycle Owners and Operator Association (TOOAN) are however different. Largely controlled by young minds, the union has been resisting the illegal and forceful external control by NURTW in lieu of the Tinubu hegemony. Though NURTW has taken over a larger part of the TOOAN and illegally subsume them under its control under the Agbede leadership, the political results has been more of forcing a horse to the river and not able to force it to drink. Reports have it that TOOAN members largely was not in for Sanwo-Olu at the last elections and this must be one of why the Tinubu hegemony almost lost Lagos at especially the 2019 presidential elections.
The Opay and Gokada riders have also decided never to join NURTW and this has forced the MC Oluomo leadership to force the Opay and Gokada management into an agreement that rides would be pay #500 daily. While the riders were managing to pay, the Oliver Twist asked for more! Riders began to pay nothing less than #1000 daily.
We must note that the NURTW is an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) while TOOAN is of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The Okada riders also have unions of their own. No labour law allows NURTW to force other unions as affiliates or take levies from them.
One must also warn, that NURTW members must solidarise with Okada and Keke operators as the koboko that was applied for the first wife is still kept ajar for the others. Uber and other car transporters must also show solidarity.
Glaringly, Lagosians must stand up to stop the pains and hardships the Tinubu hegemony is fostering on people severely. We must ask them to provide real jobs and not destroying self works. The false arguments of Okada being used for crimes are defeatist as it shows the unseriousness of the hegemony to make Lagos a Mega City.
A mega city deserve mega jobs, industries, education, healthcare, housing, transportation and such others. What Lagos portrays is a mega fraud in the pockets of minute megalomaniacs!
As the #OccupyLagos becomes popular all over, all oppressed peoples need to rise in a mega actions to defeat the mega oppressions of these mega thieving class. Lagos has no new higher institution, (not even a new technical college) since 1999 but have been creating universities of Awawa; One Million Boys; Ewure; Omo No Salary; and such other child cultist and gangster groups.
While the Tinubu hegemony is legendary for building the mega city really as propaganda but deepening massive exploitation, Lagosians must unite in their millions to join hands and hearts and organize a marathon of resistance to eternal freedom.