Friday, April 29, 2011

Freedom Park Lagos

The Stage 
"A performance stage bestrides the very spot where the prison gallows once stood and performed their macabre ritual," writes Nobelist Wole Soyinka. 

Architect Theo Lawson told me that the Broad Street Prisons were constructed at the cost of 16,000 British pounds in 1885 while a miserly sum of 700 pounds was given for the education budget of "the natives" in that year. 

Photo of the Gallows on display in the new museum

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Freedom Park, Lagos

The new Freedom Park museum and exhibition hall
 The Freedom Park is a new public facility that rose out of the ruins of the old Broad Street Prisons, former home to some of Nigeria's most important politicians like Herbert Macaulay and Obafemi Awolowo. They were both incarcerated by the British government for their agitation for independence. After many years of being in ruins, architect Theo lawson, who I was lucky to meet and get a personal tale,  drew up a plan to rehabilitate the prison and turn it into public use. This beautiful new world class park is the outcome.
Photo of the old Broad Street Prisons on display in the museum
Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka described it thus: ''An arena for the 'abandonment of hope', the Broad Street Prisons, now opens out to embrace the yells of a hopeful generation. Open sales stalls have replaced the dismal prison cells of colonial memory. A performance stage bestrides the very spot where the prison gallows once stood and performed their macabre ritual.''

Monday, April 25, 2011

Holy Cross Cathedral

 This is the Holy Cross Cathedral, the mother church of Catholicism in Nigeria. It is where the Cardinal Anthony Okogie, Archbishop of Nigeria, presides.

Went in during the weekend and was awestruck. Sitting in the pews, I looked up and beheld such splendour that I was moved to confession. The stained windows painted with the vision of the saints, the Ascension and many other Christian art was truly piercing. However, not being Catholic, all I could ask Father Jacob whom I met was permission to take some photos that he granted.

Have a wonderful Easter Monday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter at the Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos

Inside the 144 year-old Christ Church Cathedral
 After my last post on the Christ Church Cathedral, I got the hint about getting photos of the inside (thanks Leif Hagen) so I went in and got permission to make some shots this weekend. And what an interesting spectacle it is. It's a cute little church even with its grand history (the oldest church in Nigeria). It has been local parish to some of the most recognized names in the country; Herbert Macaulay a nationalist leader and father of the nation whose face adorns our One Naira coin; his grandfather Bishop Ajayi Crowther who was the first African clergy of the Anglican church, Ernest Shonekan and Yakubu Gowon both past heads of state and many more famous Nigerians.
The Christ Church Cathedral's 64 stops, 4 Manual Pipe organ built by Oberlinger In Germany
I had the opportunity of meeting the Choirmaster Mr Ojemuyiwa who has been in the choir for 62 years. He told me about the impressive pipe organ that the church had installed two years ago at an impressive cost of 166 million Naira (over a million dollars). It's estimated to be the biggest of its kind on the continent. It can be heard from miles away on Sundays and Mr Ojemuyiwa has invited me over for an Easter evening performance by the choir which I'm sure to attend.

Can't wait to be blown away by the music.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chicken for Easter

This biker was on his way home with an Easter chicken cooped up in the sack hanging from his motorcycle. Definitely happy kids this Easter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ikeja train station

The Ikeja terminal station of the Nigeria Railway Corporation. Rail services are expected to return to normal after many years in the doldrums. In March, newly elected President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned a new line to Abeokuta and rode on it for his campaign. Many of my generation who have never been on a train hope that it would bring a safer alternative to the congestion on our many bad roads.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nigeria at the polls

Nigerians went to vote for a new president today. Here voters queue up to get accredited for the process early this morning. Things have been peaceful and one hopes they remain so when results are announced tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Will their future be better?

Boys walking to school. Nigeria will vote to elect a new president tomorrow April 16. I wonder if the new government will make the future of these young boys and many others like them a priority. I really hope for better days for young Nigerians, they're the future of our nation.