Undoubtedly, Ajegunle is one of the most popular settlements in Nigeria and across Africa, where the residents rank among the poorest. It shares similarities with slums around the world.
While some people, from a distance, think the city resonates neglect, others say it is a place you get the good, the bad, the ugly and the outright terrible.
However, the residents and rightful owners of the city, hold a different view. They insist that AJ City is ‘a place where talent is toughened to face the world’.
Beyond the slum associated with this Lagos suburb, which is popularly called AJ City by the residents, Ajegunle is famous for breeding many stars including local and international acclaimed footballers, top musicians, actors and actresses, comedians, and even politicians.
Despite the crop of well-off individuals with root in the city, Ajegunle keeps suffering from gross neglect in terms of infrastructure, social amenities, welfare, representation, among others.
Ironically, the name Ajegunle in Yoruba, by interpretation means “wealth has landed here.” In reality, instead of the wealth, poverty is prominent in the city, which hosts a huge concentration of people from all the ethnic groups in Nigeria.
In the past, Ajegunle was the boundary between the Western Region and the Lagos Colony. The area called Boundary in Ajegunle marked the boundary point between the Western Region and the Lagos Colony. Apapa Wharf and Tincan Island, where two of Nigeria’s biggest seaports are located, border the community on the west.
Ranked as one of Nigeria’s most disturbing ghettos, Ajegunle remains revere as the birthplace of football and music superstars, a town that occupies an ultimate pedestal on the Nigerian entertainment landscape.
These music and football stars have continued to mention how the community shaped and prepared them for their acclaimed new status in life.
Sadly, the story seems different today. There is a growing feeling of resentment among the residents, especially the youths that they have been neglected.
Daddy Showkey is one Ajegunle product that has been projecting Ajegunle at any forum without be intimidation. Sadly, there are many successful people who grew up in Ajegunle but do not want to be associated with their place of birth or upbringing.
Michael Collins Ajereh, popularly known as ‘Don Jazzy’ and one of the richest music producers in Africa, grew up in AJ City, but has failed to groom young musicians in Ajegunle. Galala; a funny dance style, which originated from Ajegunle is fading because of less effort to promote it and its connotation of Ajegunle.
As well, many creative people who could not hone their talents are giving up and resorting to some unimaginable things, especially Baba Ijebu, a local betting platform as alternative source of income.
Some thinks the like of Don Jazzy have the financial connection to rebrand Ajegunle music to the world, but prefer to look elsewhere.
It would be recalled that Gideon Okeke, a popular actor, grew up in Ajegunle. After hitting it big with his participation in the first Big brother Africa, he never looked back to Ojo Road where he once resided in Ajegunle with his parents.
Others include, Peter Rufai, one of the great goalkeepers of our time, Charles Okafor, one of the first Nollywood actors that came from Ajegunle, and Linus Idahosa, renowned movie producer and media professional.
Even with Stephanie (Okereke) Idahosa, his wife and notable Nollywood actress, Idahosa is yet to create a movie out of Ajegunle or even empower youths to do so.
Looking at Bright Okpocha, popularly called ‘Basket mouth’ and one of the Nigerian leading comedians in the country, one think that he should have remembered his place of upbringing even with comedy show or mentorship. But none of such empowerment initiatives has happened in the city, which is natural breeding ground for comedians.
Kingsley Chinweike Okonkwo, popularly called KC Presh and one of the Ajegunle music stars, has also failed his constituency, according to the residents, by not reaching out to the aspiring musicians or even setting a platform like Star Quest, which brought him to limelight.
The pastors are also there. Dr.Chima Okereke, General Overseer of Global Success Ministries International, started his ministry from Ajegunle and today, his church remains one of the largest in Festac Town with a Global TV Satellite viewing all his messages around the world. The residents think that the pastor has failed to acknowledge Ajegunle in his ministry, as well as, Pastor Tarribo West.
For the residents, it is rather appalling that Ajegunle produced great talents and still remain the way it is.
Though now in Bayelsa, Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State, grew up in Ajegunle. The residents regret that even while in government he never visited or impacted the city.
The residents think that resentment is growing even more among younger people living in the city as they make effort to leave a city that was once a breeding ground for stars in Nigeria.