President Buhari’s Festac In Governor Ambode’s Lagos

By Adeola Aderounmu

(Images By Abiodun Popoola)

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402 Road by 4th Avenue, Festac Town. 

In the month of June 2016, I visited Nigeria. One of the most disgusting views in Lagos where l was resident was in Festac Town, the estate that everyone acknowledged had lost his glory.

In general l was appalled by the state of infrastructure in Festac Town.

It is hard to believe that Festac Town is home to the headquarters of  Amuwo Odofin Local Government. It is hard to believe that there are politicians in Festac Town. It is hard to believe that there is a state governor in Lagos State.

A lot of things are rotting away and Festac Town that used to be the pride of Nigeria and Africa is now a desolate, rotten town.

In truth l dedicated a page on my blog to the lost glory of Festac Town. The original glory of Festac Town may never be regained. Still it does not mean that the things that could still be fixed should be left undone.

 

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402 Road, Festac Town

Recently l wrote an article about the problem of sewage in Festac Town and the significance of the problem as a form of biological weapon against the people of Festac Town.

The article titled Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!  was published on July 25, 2016 both on the Nigeria Village Square and on my blog.

To ensure that the problem gains the attention it needed, l wrote the same article in the National Mirror Newspaper. It appeared on the back page on August 16 2016 under the banner Addressing Festac Town’s sewage menace.

Despite all the awareness that has been brought to the matter, it appears that the government (local, state and federal) did not get the message. A friend of mine visited Festac Town this November and the images that he brought back shows that no effort has been made to solve the problem.

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4th Avenue, By 402 Road

Let me restate that we will continue to highlight this problem for as long as it exists. In as much as we all agree that Festac Town is a federal government estate, we must also never forget that it is situated in Lagos State and there is a governor and there is a local government chairman.

Invariably, the sewage system is bad in many areas in Festac Town. The worst hit area is 402 Road. The residents are flushing their toilets directly to the streets because there are permanent blockages to the original paths created for the flow to flow away.

The residents of 402 Road in Festac Town are breathing unsafe air, they are walking on sewage water/mud to get into their various apartments. The health impacts are huge and children are vulnerable.

The governor of Lagos State is responsible for the welfare of the residents anywhere in Lagos. That insinuation and argument that Festac Town is a federal estate does not hold water. The governor needs to initiate the contact with the appropriate authority and call them out to action.

 

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402 Road, Market Place and Residential Area

Governor Ambode and the people running Lagos must know that Lagos is not Victoria Island and Ikoyi only. They need to look at other places and stop paying lip-service and eye-service to issues concerning maintenance and development.

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402 Road, Festac Town

Photograph/Images By Abiodun Popoola.

 

Footnotes

Again, l repeat that it is possible for the governor of Lagos State to look at this problem and instruct the appropriate authority (federal, state or local) to act.

As it sems right now, the people of Festac are in a dilemma. FHA is not going to come down to make their environment germ free. The Governor does not care if they die of diseases.

As l have stated before, l will continue to write about this particular problem for as long as it exists. I pray for the grace to keep reminding the rulers and conquerors of Nigeria of their negligences and lack of committment to the people and country.

This problem is a struggle and we will keep reminding the conquerors of Lagos/Nigeria that they must serve the people.

 

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Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!

The challenge before President Buhari and Governor Ambode is to order the immediate demolition of the illegally built houses and structures that have been used to block the underground sewage channels in Festac Town. That is the only and final solution.

We are citizens of Nigeria and they owe us this responsibility-to clean our environment. The government should stop killing us with biological weapons!

Governor  Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!

By Adeola Aderounmu (Sweden)

One of the most disgusting views in Lagos State is embedded in my local government area. On 4th Avenue, 402 Road in Festac Town is a deep river of sewage flowing like the River Nile.

The sewage accumulating and flowing on the streets is a source of death and therefore represents a biological warfare against the people of 402 Road in Festac Town. Is the Lagos state government or the federal government of Nigeria at war with the people?

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There are a number of theories on why faeces that are flushed from the toilets in this area of Festac now flows directly to the streets on which the people live.

No one can doubt that the plans for Festac Town were destroyed by the Federal Housing Authority when lands reserved for recreations and natural conservation were sold to some useless Nigerian millionaires by some useless government workers on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria.

The consequences and results of the deviation from the original, functional plans of Festac are what we are facing today. There are rivers of sewage scattered around in the estate. In addition, the estate is now over-congested and bastardly disorganised.

Once the pride of Africa, Festac town is now an area filled with shame and filth.

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The sad reality is that it is not only in Festac Town that the citizens of Nigeria sleep and wake up surrounded by sewage. But l’m staying with the Festac problem as that is my constituency.

 

The end of festac

[To watch the video, visit my Youtube channel-Adeola Aderounmu, or my facebook https://www.facebook.com/adeola ]

 

The most obvious danger ahead of the people of 402 Road is that an epidemic is imminent. That is if one is not already in progress because the people have been surrounded by this flowing sewage for several years.

I wish a student from a Department Medical Parasitology of the University of Lagos can understake a medical research project on 402 Road/4th Avenue area of Festac Town. The results will be useful in understanding the statuses of the health of the people in the area.

The probability that the inhabitants of this area are suffering from ill-health and infections like typhoid as a result of this crime committed by government, is high.

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One cannot rule out deaths related to this polluted and heavily stinking environment. Children and the elderly would have been particularlty susceptible.

If the useless government workers who sold land to the useless Nigerian millionaires had not sold the land area adjacent to, and surrounding the 402 Road area, the flow of sewage would not have been disrupted.

The greatest fear is that this river of sewage could be an accumulation of all the faeces flowing from the entire Festac Town estate. My hypothesis is based on my knowledge of the area.

There is a playground nearby which also houses the facility for recyling sewage waste from the estate.

It is the only place in Festac where l have seen the facility. When we played football those days, our football used to fall inside the facility. So we had some catchers whose job was to save the ball from falling into the sewage recycle facility.

I have not fully investigated if the recycling center is functional now but l saw that the area was inaccessible. Why would anyone make a fence around the center? Has someone bought and refilled the sewage recycle facility?

Faecal wastes and sewage are not flowing away from residential areas because the federal government of Nigeria sold the areas/lands where the sewage systems have been chanelled underground.

The foolish people and the useless millionaires who bought the land sealed off the sewage channels.

The challenge before President Buhari and Governor Ambode is to order the immediate demolition of the houses that have been built and used to block the underground sewage channel in Festac Town. That is the only and final solution.

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4th Avenue by 402 Road, Festac Town                  

There are a lot of messes in Festac Town that are now irreversible. But this particular one is reversible no matter how long the houses have stood. They are illegal structures. If those who sold the land on behalf of the federal government can be found alive, they should be rounded up and prosecuted.

There is a report that one colonel in the Nigerian army actually contributed to this problem. Like many people living on the sewage system and blocking the channels, he is alleged to have applied ”cement” on his side of the channels. That was his own permanent solution to the problem. The implication is that for all he cares ”all the people on 402 road can die of diseases”.

On this matter it is very important that the Lagos state government and the federal government do not apply the Nigerian solution. That would be the sucking away of the river of sewage with the full knowledge that the river will overflow again. We don’t want that!

Nigerians are in love with temporary solutions. They love cosmetic solutions. This is because they want the problem to persist so that someone or a contractor can always make money from the contracts of temporary solutions.

Have you ever wondered why Nigerian roads for example are never going to be of international standard? Go figure now.

Anyway, as for this river of sewage in Festac Town, no one should expect that this is the last time they will be reading about this especially if the state and federal government continue to pretend as if this problem does not exist.

This is now one of my struggles.

My intention is to inform the governor of Lagos State and in fact Mr. Buhari the president of Nigeria, about this danger and for them to act without any delay. There is no need for more paper work or talking on this matter. They should get up from their comfort zones and clear this nonsense.

We are citizens of Nigeria and they owe us this responsibility-to clean our environment. The government should stop killing us with biological weapons!

The people living in this area of Festac Town and people visiting them are exposed to diseases that could end their lives prematurely. They can all die of diseases because of the river of sewage. Invariably the government has been at a biological warfare with the people.

Again, if nothing is done soon, l will be reminding governor Akinwunmi Ambode of this problem. If the tenures of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode as Lagos state governor and Mr. Buhari as the president of Nigeria do not succeed in demolishing the houses that are blocking the flow of sewage out of Festac, we will carry the struggle to their respective successors.

Our people must not be left to die of diseases because of the carelessness of goverment workers-those who sold lands that are meant to be reserved and preserved.

It is obvious that the residents have done their best and got tired of writing letters of appeals to the local and state government. I can imagine hundreds of letters to the local government. I can just imagine thousands of letters to the Federal Housing Authority. I can imagine some whispers into the ears of former Governor Fashola about this problem.

My columns and my blog pages will not rest until this matter is solved.  We will remind the state and the federal  government about their wickedness and heartlessness.

How can any government allow her people to live under this condition for even 1 day out of life?

It is unacceptable and as a matter of fact, those who knew about this problem before now and refused to act have committed crimes against humanity.

By international standard, allowing people to die unjustly in the absence/presence of war is a criminal offence and that angle will also be pursued in due time.

I am sure that with time, we will find out those who knew about this problem and did nothing.

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                       402 Road, A Close, Festac Town                            

We are talking about the living conditions of humans here.

I am actually surprise that the people of 402 Road have not made a decision to close down the local govenrment through massive protests. They are faced with a biological warfare and in ignorance have chosen to die because they got tired of writing letters of appeal.

I hope they will find the courage one day to lock down the Amuwo Odofin Local Government so that the sole administrator or the chairman can report to the governor who should tackle the problem head-on or call on the Federal Minsitry of Works and Housing to remove all obstructions in the way of sewage flow in Festac.

We must combine all our efforts and unite in order to rescue ourselves from maladministration.

The people everywhere must move away from the era of writing letters of appeal to actually carrying out demonstrations that will shut down their local councils or even the state government if necessary.

The problems and challenges facing Nigeria are many but we must tarry and remain united in the fight for the good of all.

Evil will continue to rise in the land when all the good people remain silent

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, please go and clear Festac Town of the lingering biological warfare.

Mr. Mohammadu Buhari, please go and clear the messes left by the federal workers who planted biological warfare in Festac Town.

I stand with the people of 402 Road.

#Istandwith402road

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

[Story and All Images by Adeola Aderounmu]

50 Yards Of Death

By Adeola Aderounmu

My beloved Festac was thrown into mourning on Tuesday night. My passion and love for Festac Town meant that I have written about the glory and the fall of Festac Town, even here in the village square. If you lived in Festac Town from inception in 1977 or thereabout and get to see the decay and rot that has become of the city, you’ll weep if you are such a human with a caring heart.

A boat mishap claimed the lives of at least 13 people on the 12th of March 2014. Six people were reported missing and 5 survived the (avoidable) catastrophe. I felt an obligation to analyse the circumstances that may have led to the accident. I will suggest the possible ways forward and my ultimate goal will be to send a letter to the chairman of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government (AOLG) with head office at 41 Road in Festac Town. That much I owe my beloved city, Festac Town Island.

Stone field at 23 Road X close by 5th avenue H1 Close

Stone field at 23 Road X close by 5th avenue H1 Close

The distance (short-cut will be more appropriate in our language) between 4th Avenue and 6th Avenue on water according to newspaper reports is about 50 yards. This should be approximately 46 meters. What has not been reported is the depth of the water but since people have drowned in it, it may be close to 6 feet. It may also be deeper. The water may be swampy. We called this water body “canal” when I was a little boy. It flows around the town. I’m almost sure I have been in or about that water body several times as a teenager without the full knowledge of water safety.

We know that there was a wooden bridge that connected the two avenues. The bridge may have been constructed through the efforts of a church situated nearby but it does not exist anymore. Some people have complained about the negligence of the local government in building a more permanent bridge to connect these two areas over water. Many people are of the opinion that it is a waste of time to use another bridge that is about 2km away when their destination is just about 50 m ahead of them.

Apparently, unless the councillors and the leadership of the AOLG debate and agree on a pedestrian or a dual-purpose bridge, there is yet no binding obligation for the local council to build a bridge or walkways. People are frustrated because these same politicians must have voted several times on how to “steal” public funds and share loots. However, residents and pressure groups can make demands for the improvement of the infrastructure in their vicinity and environs. Who is listening?

This may sound like medicine after death but those of us who thought the extended area of Festac Town were gross anomalies can also add that while people are quick to buy land and build houses in the extension areas, there has not been a corresponding development of infrastructure in the area. We must not forget that the extension area of Festac was that zone where natural reserves (wildlife and beautiful aquatic existence) were wiped away and replaced with houses.

Mainstream Festac was itself never maintained. It seemed that the Federal Government through the Federal Housing Authority found pleasure in quickly converting mainstream Festac from a paradise to a slump in one swoop. The History of the destructive “deconstruction” of Festac Town has been well established. Nigeria has a rich history of maladministration and extremely bad management. Public administration in Nigeria is mostly a source of misery.

As I was saying, on this black Tuesday in Festac Town, it took 3 hours 20 minutes before a distress call reached the National Emergency Management Agency-NEMA according to the reports in Premium Times online news. Is there any record of how long it took to reach the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA)? Reaching these agencies should not have taken more than 5 to 10 minutes especially as it appeared that the operators of the canoe services are “locals” as we call them.

They are people “hustling” and trying to make ends meet. Were they ignorant of what to do in cases of emergencies? Access to emergency services for them ought to be quicker. Was the telephone network busy for more than 3 hours? Were the roads from NEMA to the canal so bad that at first, one may think that NEMA is located in another country? 3hours and 20 minutes after! Do LASEMA / NEMA have offices in Festac Town or a place in AOLG area?

I can actually ask one thousand questions regarding this single unfortunate incident. Does Festac Town lack accidents and emergency units within its locality in the year 2014? Why is the boat carrying 24 passengers instead of 13 or 14 passengers? Was the champions’ league game so crucial that the canoe operator had to ignore safety procedures or was it the passengers who bent the rules and headed to death on a 50 yard stretch of water?

If the reports in the Premium Times are anything to go by, then it appeared that the passengers ignored the warning of a young girl who raised an alarm about a possible drowning scenario and that she would swim to safety. She did and numbered among the survivors! One survivor also narrated how he had to do away with his heavy bag of tools so he could reach the shore safely. The fact that they “pushed” the canoe to start the journey was definitely an adequate warning that all the passengers ignored!

I think all adult humans at one point or the other have experienced the sadness that come with bereavement. We can sympathise with the families of the deceased. We can cry and we can be worried about many things connected to this tragedy including the trauma of the survivors. Some young people burnt the canoe. That’s how best they could reason, in their state of anger.

What will be more important is the way forward. It’s always important to take the lessons from every situation and try to avoid repetitions of tragedies along the same line/pattern. In so many ways and with uncountable examples, one can illustrate how tragedies have repeated themselves in Nigeria with precision, and the same hypocritical reactions.

The Festac tragedy should not be allowed to repeat itself.

The little girl swam to safety. What are our attitudes towards acquiring life skills? I’m not stating with pride that I still need more swimming lessons to be sure about my survival in water. In Nigeria, many of our parents discouraged us from swimming when we were growing up. Lagos is lined by the Atlantic Ocean and there are lagoons and rivers around us. We never referred to Festac Town as Festac Town Island whereas it is in every sense.

Why was it not a compulsory part of our education to learn how to swim? I can’t remember any physical education lesson that was dedicated to swimming. The Amuwo Odofin Local Government should make haste to construct swimming pools where children and adults will be taught how to swim. It’s a life skill. The boats capsized somewhere between 2 locations that are 46 meters apart. My skill in mathematics tells me the tragedy occurred at a point less than 24 meters to land. The probability that the boat capsized at a distance 10-15 meters to land also exists. This tragedy was avoidable, even if the morning rain increased the volume of the canal and the canal is swampy in nature.

Road construction work in Festac 2014

Road construction work in Festac 2014

Nigerians need to know that there are reasons for rules and that safety procedures should never be relegated at the altar of profit or unwarranted compassions. If the canoe operator had not allowed the boat to be overloaded, or if the passengers did not beg to be squeezed on board, they would probably have travelled safely. Tuesday the 12th would have ended on a different note and the N150 motorcycle ride on bad roads would have been probably one of the cheapest costs of saving life in the history of man.

Were there life jackets on board the ill-fated canoe? It was possible that no one thought that life jackets are needed on a 50 yards “death” stretch. Non-swimmers go on this trip without any guarantee! The cost of a life jacket may also take the profits off the “locals”. Water transport business is not a joke or a trial and error endeavour. If this mode of transportation must persist along this canal, then the local government should either take over the business with state of the art ferry system or award the contract to a reliable water transport company. It is not enough to deploy council guards after the accident. It is definitely not enough to lock off an access road to the river.

Road construction work in Festac 2014

Road construction work in Festac 2014

A certified transport company would have stations on both sides of the canal. In an ideal situation there would be departure times and arrival times. When it is dark or getting late, it would be inappropriate to run the canoe because of the level of underdevelopment or bad state of infrastructure in several parts of Nigeria. It would probably have been easier to report a mishap had the operations being under licensed authorities. How well do we care about lives in Nigeria? What value do we place on our existences?

When shall we get there in Nigeria? Why were we taught that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well? This tenet and other moral guiding principles were handed to us early in life. What went wrong? How did we get to the situation where our senses of purpose and direction are malformed or dysfunctional? If the transport system over water will not be safe, then it should be totally abolished.

Road constructions, repairs and maintenance are not favours from the councils. These are parts of their obligations. The road network in Festac needs to be improved so that transportation within the estate can be safe and cheap. It’s good to hear and see some efforts in that direction.

Our bicycle tracks in Festac Town should be reinstated and new ones built. People should be encouraged to ride bicycles. This is common in all developed countries. Bicycles are the commonest means of transportation when people want to go from one place to another around their vicinity or local areas. What makes us different species in Nigeria? Isn’t it time to make such an environmental friendly mode of transportation readily available, acceptable and popular? People need to own bicycles without being subjected to ridicule and laughter.

Road construction work in Festac 2014

Road construction work in Festac 2014

When the reports about the tragedy on 50 yards of water in Festac Town went to press on Wednesday it was still impossible to reach the chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government for his comments/reactions. That is the common attitude of Nigerian politicians; they are arrogant and lack simple and common sense that governs public administration. People have died and the chief security officer of the council made no appearance and no comment. That is also a tragedy on its own.

When he does show his face, someone should remind the chairman Mr. Ayodele Adewale that these deaths on a 50 yard stretch is a big time wake up call at his domain. He can’t pretend that nothing happened. Mr. Ayodele must make haste to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the possibility of sustaining or eradicating boat services between 4th Avenue and 6th Avenue

Burning canoes or boats is not the way to forget the dead. Meanwhile if you ever forget them, they have died in vain. The residents of Festac Town owe it to their community not to allow this sad event to be swept under the carpets. Though sad, this is one of those moments in history that is opportunistic. Demands should be made for more bridges and good roads, for standard and safe ferry services. Why not for world class bicycle and pedestrian paths?

Nigerians deserve the good things of life too. Any of these proposed projects can be dedicated to the memories of the departed. May they find peace in transit.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Comrade Oluwafisayo Ogunjimi (Pheesayor@hotmail.com) for useful information about the boat services in Festac Town and some useful ideas that went into this article.

Images by Adeola Aderounmu (Thy Glory O’Nigeria) and Comrade Oluwafisayo Ogunjimi (Watching Lagos, http://www.watchinglagos.com)

The People Who Shaped My Life

Adeola Aderounmu

The People Who Made Me

I attended Festac Grammar School from 1984 to 1989. These are the names of some of my teachers in secondary school. I intend to write another story about my primary school teachers. All these teachers and my parents made me who I am today. Thank you so much.

Mr. Famuyisan was my class teacher in class one and my father met him many times. I’m sad that I don’t remember much about him but I knew he was helpful to form my first year in high school.
Mr. Ezennadi taught me geography. It was through Mr. Ezennadi that I learnt about the Land of the Midnight Sun. I live there today.

Mr. Ezennadi promoted the use of the school badge and I thought he was a wicked man. But now I realized it was about our common identity. He wanted me to be proud of my school and to understand that it will come to shape and define my future.

I remember Mr. Olatunji my physics teacher. This man was a walking textbook. A civil engineer by qualification and a teacher by profession Mr. Olatunji inspired me in the field of science. He told me that ordinarily as an engineer he should be sitting at the top floor of a high-rise somewhere. But he was happy with the way he carried on with his job. I think he later left for the Ministry of Works. Thank you for the years you gave me.

Mrs. Kalejaiye went the extra mile to explain integrated science. She told me never to go about with my mouth open. She said I should instead open my eyes and observe things. Her words were enough for me.

Mrs. Faleti taught me Biology but she skipped many lessons. That was not a good attitude from a teacher but biology was my favourite subjects when I left class 5. Somehow her slackness became the source of my strength because I had to form my notes and study extra hard to pass my tests and exams. Thank you Mrs. Faleti! Your master’s degree in those days was not common and it was part of my inspiration.

I also remembered that it was you Mrs. Faleti that backed my nomination for the position of the laboratory prefect because you knew I’d been excellent as one of the longest serving class captains at that time. You also backed my nomination and selection as the school’s best behaved student in 1987. You knew me, and you shocked my father who thought I was a bit stubborn at home.

Mrs. Bashorun, you spoke softly. You are beautiful and elegant. You were also brilliant. In simple ways, you taught me chemistry with near perfection.

Mrs. Ayodele you made an early impact as my fine art teacher but there was another fine art teacher who taught me more practical things that I was able to put up an advert sign on my mother’s kiosk. I’m sad not to remember the name of my second art teacher.

Mr. Akomas also taught fine art but at that time I’d dropped the subjects for core sciences. Mr. Akomas, I saw you from a distance but I learnt from you all the same. You didn’t tolerate laziness and you were strict in a good way. I saw that!

Mrs. Olayomi, thank you for teaching me business studies and commerce. The best thing I remembered about you was the positive feedback you gave me in 1987 when you combined class 3E and 3F. You made me feel like a star when you said: the thing you like about me was that I was always clear when I answered your questions or give my opinion during class contributions.

To this day, people listen when I talk in meetings and gatherings and this is because you made me realized the importance of being clear and straightforward. You don’t know this but I think about that positive feedback anytime I’m heading for any meeting or interview. I have to be clear, I always tell myself. Thank you Mrs. Olayomi!

Mrs. Enwerem taught me Accounts in class 3. She made it one of my best subjects. I could write a cash book and double column books of account and other stuffs like that. And I could balance the account for all the sales trading companies. I love accounts back then.

Too bad I don’t remember the name of my economics teacher but I can still hear the echoes of demand and supply, advantages and disadvantages of international trade and money as a legal tender. In fact trade by barter made sense. My economics teacher was a woman who was fond of saying: come what, what may and ceteris paribus.

Mr. Osuoyah was my history teacher. He told me the story of Wolof-Jolof. He also told me the stories of many empires of the Old Days. I always think about the story of the bastard and legitimate states and the story of the cripple who fought and won battles.

Mr. Osuoyah frightened me with the story of people who were eating lizards and seeking permission to eat humans. I have not been able to verify if he was speaking of Lebanon or another country at war.

Mr. Osuoyah was on the list of the “wicked” teacher. He was a disciplinarian I would say and I did all I could to escape his numerous judgments and punishments. It means I don’t go late to school, I don’t come late to lessons, I don’t fly the school fence, I come to lessons prepared and I am neat and well dressed.

Mr. Nwaowoma was my vice principal. Baba goes round the school to see that everything was in order. You can tell that he was trained to be both a teacher and administrator. He was smart and articulate. In you Mr. Nwaowoma I saw true dedication and the zeal to help others succeed. You were never tired and you never gave up that all students could be taught the right things.

Mrs. Jekami taught Home Economics. I did Agricultural science but still our paths crossed. I was frequent to the teachers’ staff rooms to say: we have you now to the other teachers. You knew me and always call out Aderounmu. From you and the teachers who never taught me directly I learnt to pay attention to the things around me. It’s a rare quality for a true leader. I learnt it well. I lead well.

Alhaja Quadri taught Arabic and Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK). I don’t remember so many things about her. She was soft spoken, easy going but she can sting if you cross her path as a disobedient student

Alhaja Fasasi taught IRK as well. She was the mother of Baba D and Sound Sultan. Alhaja Fasasi was strict. I remembered one day that she flogged all the students from class 1A to 1F. It was not funny. Where did she get the energy to do that? But I respect her. I learnt she inspired many students through music about Islam.

Mrs. Talabi was my year tutor in class one. She taught fine art, I think. She was among the senior teachers and very well respected.

Mr olanrewaju was a teacher for a brief time in FGS. He was my class teacher in class 2 and he taught me mathematics. I don’t think I will remember him if I run into him in a public place. He was probably a youth corper during his time at FGS. He was young, handsome and had a good handwriting. He left an impression.

Yetunde Olabisi Alli was my class teacher in class 5. She taught government which means she didn’t get the chance to teach me any subject. But she wanted me to be class captain again in class 5 and I accepted. From that day, her work became lighter because I held on to the class register and marked who was absent or present. I reported to her regularly.

We had good contact even after 1989. I sent her a letter in 1996 during my service year at IITA Ibadan and she replied all the way from her new home in New Jersey. I wonder where you are now but I hope life is treating you kind Yetunde Alli. You have no idea how much I learnt from you: strength of character, independent mind and the determination to always forge ahead. You should know that you were called the Iron Lady back in the days.

Mr. Akinlade taught Yoruba in the senior classes when I started at FGS. He left at some point and then returned again. Was he on sabbatical? Mr. Akinlade became a principal in the 90s at one of these schools in the Lagos riverine area. Sir, I just want to say thank you for calling on me to lead the assembly prayer that fateful day in 1987. When I add that one chance to all the privileges as a class captain, it boosted my self-confidence forever. I wondered now if you had been listening to the morning bells and prayers from our flat. You lived close and we were prayer warriors!

Mr. Aregbesola taught me B.K but I dumped the subject after class 3. You were really good sir and I remembered how you paid attention to every details and how you read between the lines to make sure that I had done the correct thing. All of these have contributed to making me who I am.

Mrs. Osobu taught me Agricultural science in class 4 and 5. She built on the foundation that was laid by Mr. Dada who had taught me earlier from class 1 to 3. Mr. Dada taught me both theory and practical stuffs. I made farm diaries, worked in our famous poultry, collected and named different plants and weeds. I remember Festac Market women queuing to buy eggs from our school poultry! Gone are those days! Thank you Mrs. Osobu and Mr. Dada!

Mrs. Okolo was one of my English teachers. I spoke with Mrs. Okolo several times on the way to school and sometimes on the way back. I remember one of our conversations and I kept it in my heart to this day. She was concerned by the falling standard of education way back in the late 80s. I would like to ask her for her opinion now that public schools have suffered a near extinction in Nigeria.

Mrs. Emordi taught English language too. I remember I had to make a presentation in the classroom about any interesting news item. Mike Tyson was hot so I spoke about how he became the youngest heavyweight champion. The project was like delivering NTA news in the classroom except that it wasn’t propaganda.

Literature teacher, class 3. I can’t remember her name now. She taught us from the book EFURU. It was a wonderful story book. EFURU as I remembered was a young and extremely beautiful woman. We read EFURU in such a way that we could almost touch the beautiful woman in the story.

It’s not a good indication that I don’t remember the name of all my literature teachers. We also read WITHOUT A SILVER SPOON, THE LION AND THE JEWEL and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. We read lullabies. A heart to hate you is as far as the moon, a heart to love you is as near as he door. For me, these books went on to add to the definitions of my struggles and shaped my lives.

Mrs. S.K.Y. Faloye was my principal at FGS. I can’t remember the exact years of her reign. She was strict. I remember she started the concept of class captain keeping records of teachers’ attendance and the topic done for each day. She goes through all the records at the end of day and we-the class captains picked them up against the next day. SKY Faloye must have helped me to be a person who makes plan and keeps order with things. I have a feeling that having a time for almost everything and everyone were traits I unconsciously got from this woman.

Mr. Asagbra taught physics. He was teaching the senior students when I started in form 1. I may have encountered him as a member of the JETS club. JETS=Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists. There was another science teacher whom I noticed at that time. I don’t remember his name but he was quite huge and he led the JETS meeting a few times. These teachers left before I got to class 3 but they left marks as huge as they were.

Mrs. Akpata taught commercial subjects and typewriting. You will always find her in the typing pool with all the typing machines and happy students who had no idea that the machines were about to become obsolete. I don’t remember having more than one lesson of typewriting and I can’t remember if I’d used the machine for fun or during a real lesson. But just thinking about the typing pool now gives me that nostalgic feeling that I knew when I started at FGS that I was going to learn a lot before my graduation. I did.

Mrs. Ajibolade taught me Almighty formula of the quadratic equations and I can’t forget the simultaneous equations. The substitution methods among many other topics in mathematics remain useful until this day. She was my third maths teacher in secondary school. What a great mathematician! What a mentor!

Mrs. Ibigbami was my P.H.E teacher. It was hard for me to learn other sports because I was too addicted to football and table tennis. But she tried; the volleyball court was mounted on top of our second football field right in front of my classroom-1E so I was compelled to play volleyball.

FGS also had a special handball posts. I mean on the main football pitch, we played football competitions with handball goal posts because they were permanently fixed. You can imagine why I became a prolific scorer. If you trained with handball goal posts, normal football goal posts will become a bonanza.

Unfortunately I don’t remember the names of all of my teachers. However I must add that I returned to FGS in 1992 and worked there at various times until 2000. That ensured that I worked with some of these teachers listed above and other newer teachers. The experiences of those years as a student, as a voluntary teacher and later as PTA teacher remain the defining moments of my life. Not even the times I spent as a GA at CMUL can compare to those years at FGS.

aderounmu@gmail.com

Festac Town- A Symbol Of A Failed Society

By Adeola Aderounmu

In a number of my articles published in 2007 at various places on the internet I wrote about the Rise and Fall of Festac Town Parts 1 & 2.

21 Road Festac Town

21 Road Festac Town

I went to Festac 15th Dec 2010 and I am not ready to change my stories. Generally Governor Fashola has ensured that the presence of the Police on Lagos road is now more significant. Therefore even though there are still criminal activities in Lagos, they are not as rampant as they were in 2005/ 2006 when Tinubu was the alaye.

Festac therefore remains a relatively safe environment, a sort of enclave.

My observations about the management of Festac Town indicate that the Amuwo Odofin Local Council is a very unserious one. Several Roads in Festac are bad and un-motorable. Generally the roads in other parts of the local area are bad. I almost drove into a ditch near Oluti.

Fashola is not a magician and Lagosians need to be told that Local Governments also have responsibilities and obligations. I intend to write about this in another piece.

21 Road in Festac is a dead-end. In fact my car got spoilt just before Emem Hospital. The 2 valleys on that road were filled with water and it was impossible to know how deep the gullies were. I should have turned back. I was driving a friend whose son was on admission at the Hospital and I wanted to be nice to him. We went to see his wife and son-who was responding well to treatment.

When we got to 21/31 junction, I parked my car and my cousin did a routine check on the car. We managed to drive away in one bit.

21 Road is a disaster. The people of Festac should start asking for the contracts that have been awarded on roads in Festac in recent years. It is common knowledge that budgets are made annually to cater for construction and repair of roads. Where have the monies allocated for Festac roads disappeared to?

21 Road Festac Town


On 72 road just before you enter 721 approaching from 7th avenue, you will find a terribly deep gully. Pity I couldn’t take the pictures of that road. While approaching, you will be forced to stop because it looks like a bottomless pit. At the tip of the gully, you will then find out that it is possible to navigate down and up again. Does Amuwo Odofin have a local government chairman? Does he drive on Festac Roads? Oh my…!

On 24 Road approaching from 71 Road the story is the same. The roads are so bad they rank among the worst roads in the world. I have no doubts in my mind that Nigerian roads are among the worst roads in the world. That I would drive on such roads in my own locality in Festac Town is worrying.

On Christmas Day there was a terrible accident on 5th avenue. A salon Rover car collided with a HIACE bus near the A close end of 5th Avenue. One of the cars was avoiding a pot hole and the other one probably was claiming right of way. 5th Avenue is not a very bad road as such but the small pot hole was tangible enough to cause an accident.

Bad roads and careless driving makes a dangerous blend. This combination is partly responsible for the high accident rates and deaths on Nigerian roads.

I am impressed though that the Amuwo Odofin Local Government was able to save and preserve the stone field on 23 Road X close/ 5th Avenue H1 close. There is a fence around it now and competitions are organized regularly. Football and Basketball thrives still on that ground. For these I am glad.

Stone Field, 23 road X close

Stone Field, 23 road X close


It’s just still sad though that the general problems in Nigeria add twists to every story of disappointment. Lack of electricity, lack of pipe-borne water, dilapidation/near extinction of public schools and other social-economic problems add up to the problems of neglect by local authorities. Therefore people are living under hard and harsh conditions. Nigerians are suffering.

One of my former students just asked me: who will be the change? Well, we have been told to look into the mirror and be the change we want to see in the world. But when evil is more than good or when good is quiet as evil rises, the world cannot be a better place.

No one (except Jesus) has been reported to be capable of saving the world. If we do the right thing in our niches, we will build a viable ecosystem. We may not save the world, but we will make our world a better place for everyone.

Festac Town, Very Dirty Place.

Festac Town, Very Dirty Place.


The Amuwo Odofin Local Government Chairman and all the local legislators should rise up and live up to the promises they made to the residents of the area. Save Festac from total collapse!

Festac Town Residents, NEPA and a Very Wicked Government

By Adeola Aderounmu

The Festac Town Resident Association (FTRA) has sent out a circular in which the body instructed residents of Festac Town not to pay the NEPA/PHCN* bills starting from May 2008. The reasons stated for this line of action are as follows:

* Lack of electric meter reading by NEPA

* Extortion through estimated coded and crazy bills

* Epileptic power supply

* Refusal of NEPA to install pre-paid meter to Festac Town Residents

* Failure of Festac Town NEPA District Business Manager to improve on the power supply and to facilitate the installation of pre-paid meter to Festac Town Residents as promised by him

* Failure of NEPA to respond to the letter written by the Resident Association to Eko Zone Chief Operation Officer for dialogue

The Resident Association thereby advised Festac Town Resident not to pay NEPA bills with effect from May 2008 until further notice.

 

The problem of power supply in Nigeria is now a national embarrassment. Nigeria generates exceedingly less power that she needs. Almost every home and business in Nigeria now thrives on the use of own power generators and various types of loud machines contributing endlessly to both noise and air pollution. In a nut shell, the power situation in Nigeria is a monumental disaster.

Rather than finding ways to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses in this area of gross social neglect, successive (and disruptive) regimes in Nigeria have done almost nothing in the positive direction to take the bull by the horns. Instead, the power sector in Nigeria has prevailed as one of the most corruption-ridden segments of the society.

One year after Umaru was illegitimately bundled to the realm of political power, the electric power situation has gone from worse to worst. The scenario clearly indicates that Umaru and his gangs have no idea of what the electric power sector in Nigerian entails. Indeed, almost 365 days since this wrong government emerged, there are no clear indications of its vision or mission.

Festac Town residents are not alone in this suffering; all the masses in Nigeria are experiencing similar fate. Endless blackouts and extreme frustration is the order of the day. The neglect in the power sector affects us at home and it also plays a significant role in the unemployment situation.

In present day Festac Town, it seems that the availability of electric power is almost entirely reduced to personal generators. This means that the power supply from NEPA is virtually non-existent. It is true that cockroaches now thrive in units that are supposed to serve as refrigerators and freezers. It also cost more than N6 000 per month to procure fuel to run your power generating unit if you live in a 2-bedroom flat.

It is not clear if this struggle by the FTRA will succeed or not. In Nigeria the masses have been rendered powerless and voiceless. Indeed, they always end up suffering more in the end than at the beginning of the struggle. In a persistent fashion, one can pessimistically predict that in the end, NEPA will make Festac residents to crawl on their knees. It always happens like that at the individual level.

It is not a secret that salaries of NEPA workers are paid from the estimated and crooked bills that they extort from their fellow Nigerians. But if all the residents of Festac (the common people that is) find a common rhythm this time and if everyone plays to the tune/ dictate of the Residents’ Association, there might just be a chance to change the pattern. A change must always begin from somewhere or someone.

But how long can the people go without paying bills? Would they not end up accumulating unpaid bills in the end? If the power situation improves, how will reconciliation of the billing system and the severed relationship with the district NEPA be mended?

I still have hope in Nigeria but I have a problem on whom to address my suggestions. Almost all the politicians in Nigerian got to power through crooked means and they remain unaccountable to the people. Many of them are very busy every weekend jumping from one wedding to another. Several of them simply do not comprehend what serving the people entails. They preferred to be served. In general, governance in Nigeria remains at a level simply devoid of purpose.

A few days ago, some Nigerians were almost in tears as they expressed fears and anxiety over the announcement by the Umaru led government that the tariff on electricity will be increased. As one citizen puts it, “we are paying for electricity that we don’t use and still they want to increase the tariff, it is wickedness”. Indeed, it is only a wicked and a heartless government that will increase the cost of what is not available!

*The use of NEPA instead of PHCN is deliberate.

 

Acknowledgement: Useful information from Abayomi Efosa Omoruyi.

Thy Glory O’ Nigeria…!

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

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