Vol 2: N0 1, September/October 2016

Vol 2: N0 1, September/October 2016

edi2A people without a past do not have a future, a simple enough statement but one that applies to Nigeria. We remember that history as a subject was effectively removed from the school syllabus (and recently reinstated after an outcry) on the grounds that graduates in that subject find it difficult to gain employment. In these pages, we step outside Surulere for the first time to cover the outrage that was the demolition of Casa do Fernandez – ostensibly a national monument – on Lagos Island. As Femke van Zeijl remarks, what stops the same happening to all the other so-called national monuments? Of course, we here at Surulere Now! are much exercised with unearthing the past, which is why we continue with our Know Your History column. In this issue we feature Sir Anthony Bolaji Oni. Who he, you ask? Read on.

 Our centre-spread this issue focuses on the Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, whose mission includes ‘developing the potential of each child through highly specialized learning techniques’ and inculcating in the pupils ‘a true spirit of independence and self-reliance that will enable them to grow up as self-actualised citizens of our great nation’. One couldn’t help but be impressed by the dedication of the staff to the well-being of the wards but, as with all such initiatives, the school is dependent on well-wishers anxious to play their part in what should always be a community initiative. As we point out in the appropriate pages, any help is welcome, either in cash or in kind.

Early next year – February, to be precise – Surulere will be holding local government elections. Perhaps you didn’t know that. It has often been argued – correctly in our opinion – that local government is the bedrock of any decent democracy. Unfortunately, local government in Nigeria is the least regarded of the three tiers. Moreover, we also deem it a sacrilege that we operate a system whereby independent candidates must do so under the umbrella of one of the registered parties. This is against the very spirit of democracy. However, that said, we aim to feature your candidates vying for office. In this issue we present Lekan Abegunde, who is aspiring to be your next chairperson.

A certain amount of controversy appears to surround the new Tejuosho Market on the boundary with Yaba. It seems that the cost of the shops is considered exorbitant. Whether many traders will be able to afford them remains to be seen; meanwhile, Chydy Njere, who appears in these pages for the first time (but by no means the last), took it upon herself to do some exploratory legwork.

Talking of traders, Maxim Uzoatu highlights the example of a Nigerian who had ‘made it’ in Abroad (as we like to say) but decided to return to his fatherland to add his own quota to national development. He has taken a shop in the equally expensive Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Complex, where he sells designer clothes bought directly from the US at affordable prices. As he himself says in the course of the article, beware of fake. Buy the original and pose with confidence.

Our arts’ coverage continues with two highlights. The first is the Women and Youth Art Foundation run by Dr Peju Layiwola located at Bank Olemoh Close, off Akerele Road. This initiative, which was opened in 2004, has as its mission ‘to use art as a form of economic empowerment and focuses on training both males and females, particularly young girls and women’. The second feature is on Segun Taylor, whose photographic exhibition, Little Angles, the third in the series, opened on 11 November at the National Museum, Onikan. Perhaps next time we can convince her to hold it here in Surulere.

As usual, we trust you enjoy this, our seventh issue since we began as a bi-monthly last year. We do hope to go monthly in the near future but much depends on your patronage. We did receive some support from the Lagos State Government, whose 4-page community outreach is also included in this edition. We are currently in talks with the local government but not much is likely to happen on that from until after the February elections. Watch this space!

As always, happy reading.

Adewale Maja-Pearce


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