Vol 2. No 3, May/June 2017

Vol 2. No 3, May/June 2017

In this issue we note the ongoing celebration of Lagos @ 50 with a cover story by Kehinde Bamigbetan, Special Advisor on Communities and Communication, on how this has impacted on Surulere specifically. We also include an appreciation of Governor Ambode himself by the publisher, who writes here in his personal capacity. There is little doubt that Ambode has in many ways carried on the good work begun by his civilian predecessors, and that Lagos is in a much better place now than it was under the military, but then that is true of the country as a whole. Nonetheless, questions remain. The most egregious is the slate of waterfront slum clearances in defiance of court orders, which take us right back to the dark days of the military, but then poverty has always been a crime in this country. And, as with the earlier clearance of Maroko, which magically transformed into Victoria Island Extension, the intent is clear: to benefit the wealthy. PoorLivesMatter might be a suitable hashtag for this glaring injustice, poverty itself being an injustice – not to say an outrage – in a country otherwise described as too rich to be poor.

In a departure from her previous pieces, Femke van Zeijl, one of our regular contributors who famously wrote about the absence of decent akara in Surulere, tackles the vexed question of what it means to be casually called an ‘oyinbo’ in her adopted country. This is a topic that attracts little attention in the media generally, largely because Nigerians see it a term of affection when it isn’t simply neutral. I experience it myself all the time, invariably accompanied by a broad smile. But is it so neutral? Femke thinks not, although in her case it is further complicated by the average Nigerian male’s often derogatory attitudes towards women in general. This is doubtless a broad statement and many a Nigerian male will take exception, but try being a woman in a public space who is seen as available. Many Nigerian women put up with the harassment as a matter of course because it is so pervasive and because girls are taught from a young age to put up and shut up. At any rate, we took the opportunity to debate the issue here in the office, as you will see from the accompanying photos. The event itself was recorded and can be viewed on our website.

Surulere, of course, is also known as Sports City and no issue of the magazine can be complete without covering some aspect of sport. In previous issues we reported on a recent amputee football final at our dilapidated stadium (about which we have also written extensively), along with the paralympians who did us proud at the last Olympics (in contrast to our able-bodied athletes). In this issue we look at the recent boxing competition at the Brai Ayonote Boxing Gym at the National Stadium. We also cover the mixed netball tournament held for charity across the road at the Teslim Balogun Stadium which was held on Democracy Day.

Ditto entertainment. We all know that Surulere is the home of Nollywood and in this issue we take the opportunity to celebrate Gloria Young @ 50, born as she was in the same year as the state. Fittingly enough, her friends and fans organised a mixed football match, also at the stadium, to mark the occasion. We are pleased to say that the women won. At the other end of the spectrum, age-wise at least, we also feature the latest music sensation to come out of the ever-fecund Surulere: Didee Eta is a name that will soon be on everybody’s lips. You heard it here first.

And so, at last, to Ajegunle, where The Poet, bored with writing about Nnobi right (where we used to hang out in days gone by) took himself and his pen to unearth just why the Jungle City produces almost as many talented people as Surulere.

As usual, we look forward to your letters telling us what we have got right and what we have got wrong and how we can improve. This is your magazine. Use it!

Happy reading.

Adewale Maja-Pearce

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