BusinessDay

Lagos is coming to Abuja

Lagos is coming to Abuja at a breakneck speed. Nigeria’s seat of power is now competing with its commercial nerve center for the wrong reasons. The city of “suffering and smiling” is coming to Abuja.

Abuja, home to the all-powerful Aso Rock, to “principalities and powers” who have ruled and are still ruling Nigeria live, is acquiring the bad habit of traffic that Lagos is notorious for.

Lagos is notorious for its human and vehicular traffic, while Abuja until recently is known and loved for being the opposite. Abuja does not host street parties; Lagos is arguably the world’s headquarters for street parties. The legendary hustle and bustle of Lagos is almost absent in Abuja. Abuja is quiet, serene, and beautiful. Everywhere is green. No hustle and bustle; no shuffling of legs like it happens in Lagos.

In Abuja, parties are held in well-built, beautiful event centres, inside gardens deliberately created in all the city’s districts. If the gardens were in Lagos, street urchins would have made them their abode or the nouveau-riches would have built mansions on them — as they have done on waterways. Lagos is the only city of its size in the modern world without a functional rail system.

Read Also: Lagos traffic is killing its economy

Lagos Traffic

Unlike Lagos, Abuja does not host smelling gutters. In Abuja, you don’t see open gutters, let alone perceive stench from filthy ones. Lagos has its peculiar smell. It is over 14 million inhabitants are so used to the smell that they even miss it when they travel out of Lagos.

Lagos is the land of the rich, where spending eight hours of your 24-hour day in traffic is a way of life. The affluence and allure of Lagos are irresistible. A city that does not sleep; a city that hosts “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” from Nigeria’s 774 local government areas. The land of the good, the bad, and the ugly; its slums have no competition anywhere in Nigeria. But say what you like, Lagos is a land flowing with milk and honey.

The head offices of the nation’s indigenous and multinational firms are in the heart of Lagos. Lagos is the storehouse of the huge resources shared in Abuja.

But all that is changing now, the narrative is heading south (Lagos?). Lagos is coming to Abuja in many ways. And very fast too.

In the past few years, the managers of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have gone to bed; snoring while Lagos is rushing into Abuja. Abuja’s population is exploding. Of course, you cannot stop Nigerians from living in any part of the country of their choice.

Anyone who has lived in Abuja for four years will tell you that the “migrants” are arriving but the authorities are not expanding available facilities

Abuja’s population is estimated at 3.4million and has been growing at 5.69 percent every year since 2015 but facilities are not growing.

Anyone who has lived in Abuja for four years will tell you that the “migrants” are arriving but the authorities are not expanding available facilities. Abuja has been flooded with our brothers and sisters who are running to safety from the nineteen northern states and other parts of the country. Abuja is another Lagos waiting to happen if the influx of people into the city continues; the influx will certainly continue because the reasons why people are running into Abuja will not abate soon – insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, hunger, and death!

It said that our powerful lawmakers don’t travel to their constituencies like before for the same reasons that the ordinary Nigerians are fleeing from their hometowns to Abuja. The ordinary residents hardly travel out of Abuja for the same reasons. Abuja is getting congested; Abuja is filthy; Abuja is smelling; Abuja traffic is getting out of control. Abuja roads are bad, potholes and flooding everywhere. Nyanya, Karu, Kubwa, Lokogoma,Galadimawa, Kado, Apo, Kuje and Lugbe have become hubs of traffic: tell it not in Lagos!

Abuja is no longer safe. Abuja is no longer green. Abuja is no longer serene. Lagos is coming to Abuja, very fast. The authorities are sleeping!

Abuja has no functional rail system 30 years after the city was created. Abuja was made the capital on December 12, 1991. There is no intra-city bus service, no one is thinking about it. Even the city’s traffic lights are epileptic. Abuja is mirroring Lagos.

Abuja is losing it; Lagos is coming but for the wrong reasons.

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