Vol 1, No 6, July/August 2016


       Adewale Maja-Pearce

We were intrigued to discover that F.C. Barcelona is set to run a football academy based at the Teslim Balogun Stadium here in Surulere. One only wonders what took them so long. Nigerians, of course, have excelled in the beautiful game the world over, leaving the world wondering why our own league here back home remains so lacklustre. As with football so with sports generally – as we can see in the ongoing Rio Olympics. We are now witnessing what one internet commentator called the Bahrain Drain, that is, athletes who have opted to represent a nation in dire need of our multiple talents and is not afraid to pay for the privilege we so carelessly squander (as we do with so much else). According to the writer:
“If it were one athlete, one could dismiss their case as an isolated incident. However, with up to five Nigerian-born Athletes at the World U20 Championships for Bahrain, and seven of them set to represent Bahrain at the Rio Olympics, it is high time that Nigerians awoke to the fact that there is virtually no functioning athletics development structure in Nigeria currently. This worrying trend of athletes leaving Nigeria will continue without some kind of urgent, drastic intervention in Nigerian Athletics.

In fact the trend will only increase – the sudden success of the likes Femi Ogunode for Qatar and that of Kemi Adekoya and now Ofonime Odiong for Bahrain will not have gone unnoticed by the thousands of youth still trapped in a country completely devoid of any kind silver lining for Athletes. If we refuse to look after our best talents somebody else will, in a Kingdom far far away”.
That said, we do have a few local initiatives that we will endeavour to cover in your favourite community magazine. In the last issue, we featured the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame, also situated here in the heart of Surulere. In this issue, we feature Nicholas Ukadike, the former Nigerian international who now trains young hopefuls at the National Stadium.
‘Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink,’ as the famous saying has it. Fresh from her sojourn in her native Holland, from where she wrote for the last issue on how she suddenly found herself homesick for her adopted Surulere, she may now have cause to rethink her position. Specifically, she returned ‘home’ only to be confronted with dry taps and the sight of water gushing into the street from a neighbour’s burst pipe. Being Dutch, she promptly phoned Lagos State Water. The rest you can read for yourself.
Sports apart, Surulere has also excelled in the arts, Nollywood most notably but also in literature. In a previous issue we celebrated the upcoming A, Igoni Barrett, whose first novel, Blackass, is continuing to make waves far beyond our shores, along with Onuora Nzekwu of Eze Goes to School fame. In this issue, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu looks back on the prolific career of the



late Cyprian Ekwensi, who lived until his death on Itire Rd near the ever-busy Ojuelegba, once immortalised by the equally late, great Fela Kuti. We are still waiting for the movie version of his best-known novel, Jagua Nana. One only wonders that no Nollywood producer has stepped up the challenge.
Talking of Nollywood, we publish here a brief obituary on Bukky Ajayi, who died earlier this year at the great age of 82 after a glittering career first as a broadcaster with the Nigerian Television Authority before making the leap into acting. She starred in many movies but will probably be best remembered for two of the country’s most popular soaps: Village Headmaster in the 1970s and Checkmate in the 1990s.
This issue’s centre-spread is on the unlikely farm at Tejuosho. Although in existence for over four decades, we here at Surulere Now! only became aware of its existence following a casual comment from one of our many supporters anxious that we cover all aspects of life in our sprawling local government area. At a time of high unemployment with all too many youths walking the streets with nothing to do, this is the kind of initiative that might well be duplicated on any of the ‘abandoned’ federal lands in the metropolis.
As always, we still remain committed to covering the activities of our local police force but for their reluctance to speak with clearance from Oga at the Top. This will involve a trip to their press office in Ikeja, which we plan to do in time to report back in the next issue. We remain hopeful that they will agree with us when we point out that interacting with the local community can only be to the advantage of both parties.
As for our other obsession – electricity – we are yet to get a response from our demand in the last issue that customers still without prepaid meters should be spared the scam known as estimated bills for services not delivered. Whether one should actually pay for those prepaid meters remains a moot point. There seems to be some confusion over which of the privatised companies gives them away for free and which don’t but confusion, alas, is the Nigerian way.
Finally, we look forward to your letters telling us where we have gone wrong and where we have gone right and what we might do to improve. As we keep saying, this is your magazine. Use it.
As always, happy reading. – Editor

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