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.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Lagos of generators

Failure of the country's power generation capacity due to years of neglect has resulted in most people purchasing small power generating sets like these ones to light up their homes and businesses. It is not uncommon to see mini sets like these lined up side by side at homes and business offices, shops and markets. People generally generate power for themselves.

The government has promised to do something about it but it only seems to be toying with the power industry as business investors have a field day importing generating sets into the country. There's a conspiracy theory that holds that vested interests are involved in the breakdown of public utilities like power so that they can make more money from importation.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lagos skyline

This is part of the Lagos skyline at Marina. The building on the right is the NET House which is the tallest structure in Nigeria.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chick'n feedin'

Saw this cockrel at the park feeding on grass and could not resist taking a shot of it. I bet it would make a great delicacy on Chicken Republic's menu.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rooting for Obama

There is a large following of the American presidential politics here in Lagos. Some gentlemen created the Obama Nigeria Initiative at the Lagos Parliament to sensitise people about the candidate's ideals. I interviewed the legislator behind the project, Hon. Adelabu Onibiyo, sometime ago and was surprised by his unflinching support for Obama even though he and his people will not be able to vote during the elections. Very funny.

A lot of motorists in Lagos like to flaunt their support for Obama through car stickers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Public park

This is one of the new emerging public parks in Lagos. It is located opposite the Lagos State House Of Assembly. The government is beginning to put more emphasis on a green environment as it is erecting more green zones around the metropolis.

No social activities like parties are allowed in this one but one can get away with anti-social acts like sleeping.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Traffic control: LASTMA

This traffic officer under the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA scheme, graciously allows me to take a shot of him even though he turns away from my view. They have since come to epitomise sanity on Lagos roads as we like to say here; the fear of LASTMA is the beginning of wisdom.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kudirat Abiola Memorial

Faces of the struggle

This is the Kudirat Abiola Memorial Cenotaph located at the 7UP Junction in Ikeja. Kudirat Abiola was a democracy activist who was murdered in 1996 during the shady past of Nigeria's military rule. She was married to MKO Abiola, the man who was denied the right of becoming Nigeria's president after winning what many consider to be the freest and fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria. The monument was commissioned in 2000 by the Lagos government.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chicken Republic "super hero"

This fast food joint is on Opebi Road. The model in he picture is going to turn into what? Maybe super chicken!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eko Hospital

This is one of the oldest privately run hospitals in Lagos. It was founded by three gentle men Kuku, Eneli and Obiora. It is located at Ikeja.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lone pedestrian on Opebi Link Bridge

I caught this lady carrying shopping bags along the Opebi Link Bridge to Ikeja. Interestingly, I was on the back of a motorbike (okada) when I took the picture but didn't really think much about the image until I saw it again on the computer and it reminded me of William Wordsworth's The Solitary Reaper. "BEHOLD her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!"

Another image that runs through my mind is that of Will Smith in the movie I am legend. The image seems apocalyptic because of the smoke that rises in the background into the dark clouds above.

Or am I just imagining things?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Muson Centre

This is the Muson Centre, acronym stands for the Musical Society of Nigeria, Muson. It has three big halls that play host to musical concerts, art exhibitions, political launches, live theatre, wedding receptions, etc.

It is located on the Lagos Island.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chakademus & Pliers in Warri

I've been away from Lagos in the last couple of days as I went into the hinterlands to Warri, in Nigeria's Niger Delta to attend the marking of the retirement of Jay Jay Okocha, Nigeria's most talented footballer. On hand at the stadium to perform was the duo of Chakademus and Pliers, popular Jamaican dancehall singers.Here they perform one of their more popular tracks "She don't let nobody".