Vol: 2, No. 2, November/December 2016

Vol: 2, No. 2,   November/December 2016
‘…public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough.’ – Society of Professional Journalists.

We devote this issue almost exclusively to the athletes who did us proud in Rio in 2016. We won 12 medals. No less than eight of them came from power lifting, six of them gold, of which four broke the World Record. It was an astonishing feat and Nigerians celebrated them for it.

In that spirit, Surulere Now! visited the National Stadium to meet with some of the athletes, although we didn’t have the privilege of meeting them all. Most conspicuously absent was Lucy Ekija, the captain of the Paralympics team, who led the way in breaking three successive World Records (along with the Paralymipcs’ Record). This was because she was an indigene of Enugu State, to where she returned after her triumph, to be rewarded by the state governor. Most of the rest had to do with a forty thousand-naira handshake from the minister (who recently insulted the Falcons) to help them return to Lagos. Perhaps he had ‘spended’ all the money earmarked for them. It would hardly be the first time.

But this is an old story in Nigeria: not seeing the gold for the dross. In the meantime (and as we pointed out in our previous editorial), foreign countries are snapping up any available talent, complete with a house and school fees. One of our featured Paralympians, Bose Omolayo, who appears on the cover page, told us how the Brazilian who took the silver to her gold couldn’t be consoled. In between sobs, she explained about the house and the school fess she had just missed out on, to say nothing of the bonus in setting the World Record.

We were also fortunate enough to witness the final of the amputee football tournament, the line-up of which is also featured on the front cover. There was apparently a time when our national team’s Ghanaian counterparts offered to pay our dues we had neglected to do for the four years until 2016 but let us not keep going down that road. Read for yourself.

For all the doom and gloom it seems that foreigners still like us. You will recall from an earlier issue (vol. 1, no 4, May/June 2016) our local Dutch contributor, Sanne Steemers, and her chocolate factory. Yes, she wants to open a chocolate factory here in Surulere! She is now to be observed dancing the salsa at some joint on Bode Thomas (see p, 19) with her Dutch sister, Femke van Zeijl, another contributor to your community magazine who also seems enamoured of Surulere. Anyway, Sanne’s mother, Antoinette, intrigued as to why her daughter – and Femke – should choose to set up camp in what she had believed was a ‘very dangerous city, with noisy and unfriendly people, traffic jams, irregular supply of water and electricity, and a high rate of violence,’ graced us with her presence, as you can read in what follows (p. 17). Suffice it to say: Reader, she was charmed!

Not so Diran Aina and his three friends out for an after-work drink when they were pounced upon by Area C Police Command in a Rambo-style operation which resulted in one fatality and several serious injuries. We always have cause to write about the police and that is as it should be. They are there to protect us and in the process guarantee that they also enjoy a secure enjoyment where we are all free to relax after the day’s battle. The problem seems to be a lack of communication between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Perhaps we should consider a liaison committee, or perhaps such a creature already exists. If so, we would love to hear about it.

As in our previous issue, we present one of the chairmanship candidates for the forthcoming local government elections. We believe – he states it – that he is contesting under the banner of the current ruling party. We wish him luck, as we do all the others. We are not partisan. Indeed, we have our doubts about the politics we play, in Surulere no less than in the nation as a whole, for the very reason that local government (the bedrock of any pretensions to democracy, after all), remains hostage to the state government and the godfather who pulls its levers.

But enough! We have already strayed too far from our brief. Surulere is our self-imposed constituency and, as usual, we hope you enjoy these pages as we celebrate another New Year. In that spirit, Surulere Now! takes this opportunity to wish all our supporters – and you have been many over the past twelve months – all the best for 2017.

Adewale Maja-Pearce

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