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Is the Lagos State Government detached from reality?4 minutes read

What a proposed ban on motorcycles and tricycles means for an already unpopular administration.

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Banning the operation of motorcycles would be another faux pas for a state government that is already unpopular. Photo credit: PM News

For a metropolitan city like Lagos, the heavy reliance on alternative means of transportation like motorcycles (popularly known as okada) and tricycles (otherwise known as keke marwa) is worthy of note. These smaller vehicles not only make life a little more bearable for the city’s commuters who cannot afford cars, they also help in navigating those roads that are largely impassable thanks to factors like erosion and poor maintenance.

More specifically, motorcycles provide respite for the city’s working class population when they get caught up in that “customary” early morning and late evening gridlock which makes commuting to and from work significantly difficult for them on weekdays.

It is hardly surprising, then, that the mere thought of the disappearance of these vehicles would bear the semblance of a nightmare for the average Lagos resident. 

On Monday, January 27, 2020, the Lagos State government announced their decision to ban the operation of motorcycles and tricycles across several local government areas in the state. Predictably, the news has not been well-received by the general populace, and in the days following, a debate on the rationality of certain government policies has raged on social media.

One fact that bears mentioning is that the ban, which takes effect from February 1, also extends to motorcycles owned by Gokada and Opay, two mobile transport service companies that made their way into Lagos only a few months ago. In simple terms, Gokada and Opay could be described as the motorcycle’s answers to Uber and Bolt, and in more than a few ways both companies have provided a little ease to the infamous transportation system that characterises the city of Lagos. 

Following this sudden and far-from-favourable development, there are questions that beg for urgent answers: what happens to the respective agreements entered into with the Lagos State government by these companies? What happens to the $170 million invested into the workings of Opay in Lagos by the Opera group? More poignantly, what happens to the agreement that was struck between Opay and MC Oluomo in November 2019, which served as an indirect intervention when Opay’s cyclists were being harassed and extorted by members of the Nigerian Union Of Road Transport Workers (NURTW)?

Away from multinational companies and fancy helmets, what is the fate of logistics and delivery companies who heavily rely on dispatch riders to provide their services?

From heavy taxation to exorbitant levies, from unannounced demolitions to arbitrary policies, there is a general sentiment that the Lagos State government sets out to frustrate the efforts of entrepreneurs in operating legitimate business, and this ban, if fully implemented, would do little to assuage those feelings: there are enterprises that would literally crumble if the state government follows through with this.

There is also the not-so-small matter of how the ban would have an adverse effect on movement across the state. There are routes that can only be accessed by motorcycles and tricycles: should people who live in these areas be cut off from urban life?

There have been arguments that border on how the ban has been necessitated by the reckless nature of the cyclists as well as their brazen disregard for traffic regulations, but what are the alternatives? How do people get home from work when movement on Third Mainland Bridge or Eko Bridge grinds to a halt on a humid Friday evening? Should people who are already physically and mentally drained by the gruelling nature of corporate Lagos, have to go home on foot and further pile up their misery? 

Those in favour of this proposed ban have also argued that some motorcyclists and tricycle riders have used these vehicles to aid their criminal activities. Such a line of thought is largely speculative at its best, ironic in its basic sense, and amounts to faulty logic at its worst.

This is because the operation of motorcycles and tricycles has provided employment to many youths across the state, and making a decision to stop them from riding is basically putting them out of work. No one needs elaborate explanations to figure out how unemployment tends to be directly proportional to an increase in crime rates.

Decisions of this nature have a way of painting the state’s policymakers as either detached from reality, or brazenly insensitive to the plight of its citizens. The state is in the middle of a town planning and infrastructural crisis, but banning motorcycles is like attempting to bandage a wounded limb already infected by gangrene.

There are ways to expand Lagos into a megacity, but limiting the transportation options of commuters and ultimately causing difficulty in intra-city movement is not one of them. Traffic rules should be enforced, and unruly riders should be apprehended, but there is more to lose if the baby is thrown out with the bath water.

If any executive decision ever needed a review, this would be one.

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2baba announces new album “Warriors”

This coming full-length project is set to solidify 2baba’s status as a living icon.

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One of Nigeria’s most celebrated singers 2baba is set to release his new album titled “Warriors” on Friday, February 28. This album would be released as part of his 20 Years A King celebration, which commemorates 2baba’s two decades in the Nigerian music industry. 

This coming project would be the long-overdue follow up to his 2014 album, “The Ascension” which was met with mixed reviews upon its release. 

2baba made the announcement on his Instagram page, sharing the album cover and the release date. He also revealed that the album scheduled for release next week is already available for pre-order.

Anticipate!!! This album is for warriors ✊ 28.2.2020. Pre-order link in bio,” he shared.

“Warriors” would contain 13 tracks and include previously released singles like ‘Important’, ‘Oyi’ and the Peruzzi-assisted smash hit, ‘Amaka’. The LP also boasts big-name collaborations like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide, Tiwa Savage and Peruzzi. It also features AJ, Symeca and his daughter HI Idibia.

The album would be released under the 2baba-headed imprint, Hypertek Digital which he established after leaving Kennis Music in 2008.

Formerly known as 2face Idibia, 2baba is one Africa’s most successful artists, winning local, continental and international awards like BET and MTV Europe Music Awards. 

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Wizkid teases “Made in Lagos” release

The popular Nigerian singer says that the long-awaited album is “finally done.”

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One of Nigeria’s biggest music superstars Wizkid has revealed on Thursday, February 20 that his highly anticipated album, “Made In Lagos” is finally ready. 

The singer shared this news on his Twitter, revealing that “I been working on my album and my spirit.”

“Finally done! So you know what that means! ,” he continued. 

This news comes much to the delight of fans who have been anticipating the album’s release for years now. Last year, Wizkid also teased that the album was ready for release. In fact, the singer played some of the songs suspected to be off the project on Instagram live. 

However fans and music lovers were disappointed when the year ended and there was no “Made In Lagos” or any assurance of its release. 

Instead of the promised album, all the fans could lay their hands upon were two 2019 singles ‘Ghetto Love’ and ‘Joro’. Later in the year however, Wizkid’s record label, Starboy, released a collection of songs titled “Soundman Vol.1” which featured significant contributions from the much celebrated singer.

“Made In Lagos” is expected to be Wizkid’s fourth solo full-length project, coming after his ambitious body of work, “Sounds From The Other Side” released in 2016. The 12-track album featured an international all-star cast of Drake, Major Lazer, Ty Dolla $ign, Bucie and Trey Songz.

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A museum committed to telling African stories

The latest exhibition at Dakar’s Museum of Black Civilisations focuses on migration and colonisation

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The Prete-moi Ton Reve exhibition is meant to act as a beacon for young African artists. Photo credit: elephant.art

The Museum of Black Civilisations, which opened at Dakar in December 2018, was conceived with the goal of highlighting Africa’s contribution to ancient civilisations, and equally representing the histories and contemporary cultures of black people all around the world. The museum has been vocal in requesting the repatriation of African artworks, given that many works which depict Africa’s cultural heritage were carted away in centuries past and are currently kept in museums in the West.

The Dakar Museum of Black Civilisations is currently playing host to an ongoing art exhibition called Prete-moi ton reve (lend me your dream). Billed as Africa’s first travelling exhibition, Prete-moi ton reve curates the work of about 30 artists across 20 African countries, and will move through 7 cities, including Dakar, Lagos, Abidjan, Cassablanca, Marrakech, Addis Ababa and Cape Town.

The exhibition would involve displays of art in various forms, including sculpture, paintings, fabric and photography. An example of one of the works to be exhibited is one involving giant matchsticks, which represent the 1884-85 Berlin Conference, which culminated in the scramble for Africa and ultimately, colonization of the region by Europe’s powers. This is fitting, as Prete-moi ton reve focuses on migration, the complexity of colonial relationships, and the African identity.

 Prete-moi ton reve is one of the first shows that has been completely orchestrated by Africans and focuses on Africa rather than the African diaspora. By honing in on African artists in Africa, the exhibition highlights the accomplishments of African artists and the breadth of their work. In many ways, the exhibition is expected to provide hope to young African artists, making them see that they can still gain recognition by showcasing their craft within Africa, rather than toeing the regular path of moving to Europe or the Americas to seek fame and fortune.

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