Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Travelers of the African continent

Last Thursday I finally met in person Chioma Ogwuegbu of who alongside her sister Oluchi have been traveling across Africa by road since July. We met up at Accra Mall's Rhapsody's before setting out for Baze Lounge where an underground artists society thrives every Thursday night.

Both ladies have been doing something which many Africans haven't been doing, not because they haven't thought about it but because of a fear of the unknown. They have both traveled across 12 countries in the West Afican region on their first round of a continent-wide tour. They regaled me with a lot of stories about ancient African cities like Timbuktu, Mopti, Ouaga, and Freetown as they experienced it on their journey. They hope that many other young Africans will begin to find time to explore the beauty of the continent.

"Africa's people are its greatest asset" Chioma told me. For Oluchi, the women of Senegal are the most elegant in the world.

Check out their website for some photos and read their blog. They plan to embark on a second leg of their journey next year. This time round will see them going to East and southern Africa.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Do not despise them

It is election season in Ghana where I am at the moment and anything can happen during campaigns. This is just an example.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our Obama moment

In the office yesterday, we didn't pop champagne, but we had our Obama moment serving some coke round in the library and generally discussing the new world order which America has set in motion. At once, everyone felt like an American, even though most of us had never been inside an American embassy to apply for a visa not to talk of visiting America.

So I suggested to the other guys that we pose for a picture with the day's papers to etch that day in memory and history. It is the result of today's post. Our vintage Obama moment.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Three Elders of Lagos

In Yoruba, Agba Meta, the Three Elders of Lagos are always on hand to welcome every visitor to Lagos along the Lagos-Benin Expressway. The statues are replicas of the traditional Lagos White Cap chiefs and the stand more than 12 feet high.

According to popular folklore, they each have a different message for everyone coming into the metropolis: O gbodo ridin (thou shalt not be stupid), O gbodo suegbe (thou shalt not be slow), O gbodo ya mugun l'Eko (thou shalt not allow thyself to be taken for a fool) in Lagos.

Lagos is a place for the strong, hence, the poignant words of advice.,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No hangar here!

This seems like installed art but this is exactly how I found this set up opposite my work place. It had been left there by some dump men.

Amusing isn't it? Now who's ready for the flight?

Passengers on Flight MS2/11 from Lagos to Cairo boarding at Gate Five!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


One of the more popular books in Lagos these days is Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope. I got my hardback a couple of months ago and only feel it necessary to flaunt it here on a book-themed day like this.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Eko Hotel and Suites

I thought about yesterday's post and said why not show an indigenous hotel today? Eko Hotel is a five star set up by the Lagos government in the 1970s. It is located on Victoria Island. It is now in private hands, though.

Interestingly, when I went there last week, one of its more popular guests at that moment was Sean Kingston, the Jamaican-born singer who had come to do a couple of shows in Lagos and Abuja.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

House of Assembly

Welcome to the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa Ikeja. Hope you have a nice time around our lawmaking agency.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Teslim Balogun Stadium

Right opposite the National Stadium is the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere. It is one of the venues that will play host to the FIFA U-17 Youth Championships next year, if Nigeria agrees to host after all as the government is claiming that the cost of hosting the tournament is too high.

It is named in honour of Teslim "Thunder" Balogun, a man whose mythical history is larger than life. It was said that he wore a ring on one of the fingers of his left leg and that he once kicked a ball with that leg which resulted in the disemboweling of a goalkeeper. Myth more than fact anyway. Many young Nigerians grew up listening to such stories about him.

Teslim Balogun was the first Nigerian to play in the English league with Peterborough in 1955. The Observer of London describes him as man with a "powerful shot".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

National Stadium

The National Stadium in Surulere was the scene of Nigeria's victory in the 1980 African Cup of Nations football championships. In that final match, Nigeria triumphed 3-0 over Algeria. Some of the major actors that day are still very much around. Segun Odegbami, Christian Chukwu, all greats of Nigerian football.

20 years later in 2000, Nigeria could not repeat the same feat as we lost to Cameroon on the same ground via penalties in the final. It was the third time Cameroon were beating us in the final of the tournament.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lagos shops

This house on the Lagos Island has been branded by consumer brands. There are many of them like this on the stretch of road leading to CMS. They are usually owned by wholesalers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Third Mainland Bridge

The Third Mainland Bridge links Mainland Lagos to the Lagos Island. It was recently partly shutdown for about two months to allow for repair works on some creaky joints. It caused a lot of difficulty for commuters who work on opposite sides of the divide as people had to spend hours on end to get to work and return home every day.

It's the longest bridge in Africa, about 11.8km long. It's the longest of the three bridges that connect the Island to the Mainland.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adebola House

Located on Opebi Road, Ikeja, Adebola House is home to EssAy Photo Studios, one of the best run photography outlets in Lagos.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Gods Are Not To Blame

Nigeria's independence day was October 1 and the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana hosted Accra to a staging of classic play The Gods are not to blame by Ola Rotimi, an adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex at the National Theatre.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meeting Ghana's President

I met Ghana's President John Kufuor last week at the Ghana-Nigeria Business Summit in Accra. I had written a story for my magazine on the challenges of Ghana's new found oil and he made a comment about it when he saw the magazine at our stand at the exhibition.

Nice fellow, him. He'd be leaving office in December as Ghana goes to the polls to elect a new leader after Kufuor's 8 years in office.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

When Lagos Met Accra Daily Photos

I am presently in Ghana to attend a couple of sumits and happened to meet the brain behind Accra Daily Photo blog at the just concluded ACP (African, Carribean and Pacific States) summit. Emmanuel Bensah and I have been virtual friends for more than a year now but only just met in the flesh. He was one of the people that inspired me into taking photos of Lagos because of the good job he does with projecting Accra through his blog.

Here's to the progress of our two cities and the continuing influence of the Daily Photos community worldwide which has encouraged people to know more about their world.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cathedral Church of Christ

Founded in 1867, this is one of the most picturesque church buildings in Lagos. Located on the Marina, Lagos Island, it packs some of the best history of Nigeria's colonial days in its pews. One of its members was Herbert Macaulay, the founder of Nigeria's first political party.

See more about the church here

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

United Bank for Africa

Head office of the multinational bank UBA located on the popular Broad Street of Lagos.

I apologise for the prolonged absence because I'm not in the country at the moment and this is a picture that's been in my archives for a while. When I return will definitely give you a better feel of Lagos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mike Adenuga Towers

Headquarters of Globacom, the emerging Nigerian telecoms giant that is in talks to purchase 50% Telkom shares in South Africa's Vodacom. It is located on the Victoria Island and owned by Mike Adenuga Jr., a publicity shy but very amiable businessman. I once tried to photograph him at a charity dinner in Ghana last December but his aide stopped me. It was the same for everybody that aimed a camera at him.

His favourite animal is the bull which he likes for his own bullishness in business terms. He has another building like this called the Bull Plaza. His company ssponsors the Nigerian football league and the mascot of the league is a raging bull. All personal totems of his.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Getting to grips with illegal shops

Officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment dismantle a roadside kiosk on Oregun Road. The government is fighting hard to return the city to its old beautiful look after years of being over run by illegal construction.

It is a battle which has earned it the ire of citizens. Many people set up kiosks just so they can be able to get by during times of economic crunch. These shops also serve to employ a lot of people all over the state. When you put them out of work, how do you hope to get people employed?
How will they pay their taxes? How will they be kept off the streets and off crime?

The numerous problems and contradictions facing developing countries.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dangerous crossing

A pedestrian prepares to cross the very busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at the Berger-Isheri Oke Junction. Calls have been made by citizens to the government to create a ped-bridge across the road even as authorities have maintained that it is illegal to cross the highway.

Who wins?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fountain of life

This fountain is located inside the Ojota Loop where MKO Abiola's statue lies. Me thinks it signifies the renewal of life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Abiola of Ojota 2

MKO Abiola was a philanthropist with a wide toothy laugh. It was one reason many Nigerians were able to trust him with their votes which was unfortunately rejected by the military hierarchy in 1993.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Abiola of Ojota

This is the statue of the late Chief MKO Abiola, acclaimed winner of Nigeria's freest and fairest presidential elections. This statue was unveiled in July to mark the anniversary of his death in custody 10 years ago. It was commissioned by the Lagos State government and was sculpted by Bunmi Babatunde head of the Universal Studios of Art, a fast rising art house in Lagos.

This new sculpture replaces an old shoddy representation of the symbol of Nigeria's democracy. It is 9"8in high and is located at the Ojota Loop at Ojota Lagos. Hence, my naming it Abiola of Ojota.

About 300m to this statue is the monument dedicated to the memory of his wife Kudirat who was murdered in cold blood by the former military ruler Sani Abacha. There's a previous post here

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trouble for Obama Mama

The lady who fronted the Africans for Obama campaign here in Lagos is going through some tough time at the moment. Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke and her group raised almost $1 million recently at a dinner to support Obama. She has since come under investigation of the financial graft body here as to the intent and purposes of the funds raised. Many opinion writers have crucified her already and she is definitely going through some tough time.

An opposition party has even asked her to resign her position as head of the Nigeria Stock Exchange where she's been for a long time.

I have been away from the country for a while and that's why I have not been blogging. But I'm back.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

MIxed start for our boys

The Nigerian Olympic football teams began their challenge for gold in China on a mixed note. The female team lost 0-1 to North Korea yesterday in Shenyang. Today our boys played out a goal-less draw against the Dutch team in Tianjin. I took these photos in the office today as we all watched TV rooting and screaming for our boys to "bring it on!".

We look forward to better days ahead and hope that our boys can re-enact the feat of the 1996 team that beat Brazil and Argentina to win the gold medal at Atlanta.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Contruction crane

A four-storey shopping centre under construction collapsed in Abuja last weekend. About seven people were reported to have died while many other workers were injured in the disaster. It was billed to become the largest shopping centre in the emerging federal capital. When I saw this crane on a construction site in Ikeja it reminded me of the crash.

What needless waste of lives.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sapetro Towers

This 13-storey building is where the South Atlantic Petroleum Limited, Sapetro, is domiciled on Victoria Island. It is an indigenous oil drilling company. One of the few oil companies owned by locals in Nigeria's huge but increasingly moribund oil industry.

Owing to increased attacks by militants in the country's oil Niger Delta, the country and indeed the world is suffering a shortage and therefore a rocketing increase in oil price.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Flooded Lagos

Went to a wedding on Saturday and had to wade through a heavily flooded area as you can see in this photo. The vehicle I was in was almost swallowed up by the huge rain water-filled crater in the middle of the road. This makes people sometimes question if we really do have a government in place.

Interestingly, when I got to work this morning the magazine I write for treated the issue of flooding under the environment question. It seems we have have neglected the environment for a long time and we might pay for it dearly what with the rains washing away the land in the South while the Sahara Desert slowly creeps in on us from the North.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ready for trouble

Saw this stern looking security guard at a conference I attended recently at the Civic Centre. He looked very well prepared for any trouble.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fire lessons

We had a fire expert at the office today to teach lessons on fire fighting. He took some members of staff through the process of fighting a fire with the pressured fire extinguisher. It was interesting to see my colleagues struggle with the can as they tried to point the nozzle at the raging fire all the time trying to avoid being singed.

You can be sure that there was a lot of laughter and back slapping.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dog day

Rio, the mastiff
Thought I'd give our dogs the limelight today because as they say every dog has his There are five dogs in my house, three rottweilers, a mastiff and an alsatian. Like many homes in Lagos, dogs are usually kept as watch rather than as pets. Hence, they are always in their holding area only to be released at evening time to roam around the compound and ward off any intruders.

But they are lovely dogs and are always too eager to wag their tails and run at me anytime I return home late in the evenings.

MJ or Murphy Junior, a rottweiler

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tafawa Balewa Square

This is the Tafawa Balewa Square located on the Lagos Island. It used to play host to many state activities like the Independence Day parade, etc. It has since come into disuse/under utilisation since the seat of government was moved from Lagos to Abuja. But it is still a show of Lagos' beautiful past. The horses and the eagles on the gate are national symbols representative of Nigeria's strength on land and in the air.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Teachers' Strike nearing resolution

Public school teachers have been on strike in Nigeria for over 5 weeks now. It has resulted in the shut down of schools and drastically altered the school year as students writing their final secondary school exams have had to stop mid-way. Most times the government has been insensitive to the plight of teachers which has resulted in the dwindling fortunes of the educational system in Nigeria. This report by The Punch gives hopes that the impasse will soon be resolved.

Many of the youngsters that are supposed to be in school have been turned out onto the streets and it's a usual thing to see them doing menial chores as well as hawking wares.

Only last week, a global rating of world universities showed that only two universities in Nigeria were ranked among the top 100 in Africa; the first one Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, where I studied, was placed at number 68 while the University of Ibadan was ranked at number 85. It showed the level to which our system has fallen since the last two decades.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kids on Bouncing Castle

I enjoy the company of children. Was at a niece's birthday weekend and enjoyed watching the young ones bounce all over the place in this floatable bouncing castle.

And talking about kids, I want to send out an official congratulations to Kris Hobart who recently welcomed his new son Ezra into the world.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Silverbird Galleria

The Silverbird Galleria is home to Lagos' first multiplex cinema screens.It has five screens and several shops where the cream of Lagos shop.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On Olumo Rock 3

This is the Obaluaye shrine where every traditional ruler of Abeokuta, the Alake, is initiated into kingship. It is a very sacred place among the Egbas and only the chief priest andinitiates can enter into that room.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Olumo Rock 2

Olumo Rock was the hide out of the Egba people during the 19th Century war with The Dahomean Dynasty in present day Cotonou, Benin. The people hid in the rocks because it was prophesied by their Oracle that it was the only way they could survive. Our guide took us round the living quarters of the people inside the rock.

The holes in rock were made from grounding cereals and stuff in them. But folklore has it that the rock was naturally or supernaturally made like that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On Olumo Rock

Penultimate weekend I went to Abeokuta, the city founded under the Olumo Rock in Ogun State, for a friend's wedding. It was my first time there and what better thing to do than visit the world famous Olumo Rock that served as a hiding place for the Egba people during the internecine wars of the 19th century. It was where they took refuge from the marauding warriors of Dahomey, present day Republic of Benin.

Now a major tourist attraction, it has since gained a new look as the government's handed it out to a private developer. There are now elevators to ferry those who cannot walk the strenuos journey to the top. But it really is a lovely place to visit as one can get a great view of the ancient city of Abeokuta from its zenith.

My friend Akin Ayodele, a lawyer and I stand on the summit of the rock savouring its beauty. In the background one can see the Ogun River, which the state is named after, as it makes its way towards the Atlantic.

Learn more about the site here

Friday, July 18, 2008

Africans for Obama

I attended a press conference today where a non-governmental organisation called Africans for Obama unveiled its agenda to the public. The group is being championed by a lady who is the president of Nigeria's stock market, Prof Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke. It's a personal project of hers because she said she met Barack Obama in 2005 at a dinner where she was honoured by the American Congressional Black Caucus and the Senator had joined a long queue that wanted to take pictures with her. She had been pleasantly surprised two years later when the young man had declared his intention to be president of America. Hence, what better way to support him than by calling for all Africans who have kith and kin in America (about 3 million naturalised Africans are eligible to vote in America according to the group's figures) to influence their people to vote enmasse for Obama.