Monday Musings: In The Court Case Of Lagos Mainland Against Lagos Island

Court Clerk: All Court Rise! Presenting the Honourable Judge of the Lagos Magistrate Court, presiding over the case between the plaintiff Lagos Mainland and the defendant Lagos Island on the case regarding who truly is the superior region in a rivalry that has endured as long as time itself. The respondents in the suits would each be allowed to address the judge for no more than three minutes, after which a neutral witness would be called to the stand for cross examination by the judge. Afterward, the judge would make a judgement and the ruling shall stand eternal. First up is the plaintiff, Lagos Mainland.Lagos Mainland: Good day, Your Honour. It is a privilege to be addressing this solemn court today and I seek you to diligently hear my prayer and declare me as the true superior region of Lagos. Over the past 50 years and even way before then, I had been content to reside in the shadows of my brother-turned-rival Lagos Island. I have been derided as not being ambitious enough, not been attractive enough and most erroneously, of not being a true enough representative of our first name Lagos. I have always gotten the bottom of the barrel when it comes to investments and developments even though I account for a majority of its size. I watch daily as my tenants move uniformly every morning towards the high rise buildings popping up on the island daily and produce the works of their hands there and return nocturnally to me too tired to even give me any consideration. I am rightly not an ambitious person but I am tired of being wrongly viewed as the lesser of two siblings. I make more common sense in terms of finances, there would be virtually no Lagos without me and most importantly, I do not inconvenience my guests intermittently with exaggerated flooding every raining season. I rest my case and invite my brother to plead his.Lagos Island: My brother has spoken and I must admit that I would be lying if I said I’m not bored of this same rhetoric. In what I can only tag as consistent jealousy, my brother and his cohorts have consistently hounded me over my alleged ‘self-importance’. I am tired of constantly defending myself for exceeding expectations and being the more glamorous of the Lagos brothers. If the general consensus is that I am the superior brother, we need o accept the common view. And there is a reason why they all believe in me. It is either because I provide the kind the luxury aura that Lagos builds its brand on but can rarely be found in other parts of it. It might be because I have found a way to be small prototype of what a city of Lagos should truly look like. Maybe because I am undisputedly the commercial nerve centre of Lagos and by extension, Nigeria. Yes, I do regret my consistent flooding inconveniences but the reports have been partially distorted as my brother is not immune to this too but has actually experienced it more this season than I have. I have exceeded my time slot but I pray the court to go beyond these empty rhetorics and let the current realities speak for themselves. Now the neutral witness, the ‘Oyibo man’ can have the floor.
Oyibo Man: Good day, Your Honour. I am an expatriate that is gradually calling Lagos my home. I grew up in the one city in the world that is culturally as historic as it is urban – London. I have been bred with a equal measure of conventional tradition and liberal lusts. That might be why I felt too comfortably in love with Lagos, but admittedly not on first sight. Unknown to many, Lagos is a lot like London. My first year in Lagos rarely saw me venture beyond the comforts of the Lagos lagoon. Why should I? I had access to 24/7 pharmacies just like my hometown. The seaside breeze every night reminded me of my teenage summers at Ibiza. And you could never run out of centre of attraction. You could visit a new one each night and you would never see all. But a colleague of mine convinced me to travel downtown with him and that visit to Agege was what really made me fall in love with Lagos. There the wooly fancy decorations of Lagos came off and I got to see Lagosians in their real element. The road union workers with their deep melodious voices as they scream to entice passengers; the market women that manage to display the fanciest collection of vegetables in the tiniest shop space possible. The market man haggling over price with a customer one minute and the next they are discussing the numerous political troubles of Nigeria. The loud music blaring from speakers from various music shops. That was beauty in its natural form. They were happy. They were human. They were Lagosians. I have experienced both sides of Lagos but while the Island make Lagos a city, the mainland makes the city Lagos.Judge: I have heard both sides of the stories and I have my judgement. The superior city is whichever has passed these tests; Who has guaranteed uninterrupted power for his citizens? Who has ensured the best security services a city should offer for his citizens? Who has developed a transport network so complex that eliminates traffic but simple enough to be used by his citizens? Who can truly stand up tall next to the New Yorks, the Londons and Tokyos? Whoever that is, is the superior brother. Who do you think that is?
Court Adjourned!Photo Credit: Getty

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