For a first time visitor to Lagos, particularly Oshodi, in recent times, the place is a sight to behold and a whole construction site of an emerging mega business and commercial centre.
Night and day are almost now the same; the street lights never fail and activities are round the clock.
The once infamous slum greatly feared and loathed for its high level of criminality and scoundrels has become the epicentre of the Lagos megacity initiative.
Just over a decade before now, going through the place was a nightmare. Movement for vehicles and commuters on the ever busy Agege Motor Road, a well-paved expressway, was near impossible; the human traffic hardly had space to walk on, vehicles were holed up in traffic for as long as it takes traders to close shops as street traders occupied every each of the road.
It was the same for the Gbagada, Oshodi, Murtala Muhammed and Apapa Expressway, which equally passes through the area. Oshodi was a haven for street urchins, pick pockets, daylight robbers and drug peddlers. The miscreants do their drug and freely smoke cannabis unchallenged amidst the hustling and bustling centre in a no man’s land Oshodi became.
Going through there at day or night was dreaded, yet, it undoubtedly remains the centre of Lagos, the nation’s economic engine room. All routes into and out of Lagos converge on Oshodi, The major roads in and out of the nation’s gateways, the Apapa seaports of Tincan Island and Wharf and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport go through Oshodi.
Oshodi needed to be reclaimed from the vultures and marauders, exactly what the Lagos State Government under Akinwunmi Ambode is doing now in the pursuit of the megacity goal even though it is taking a toll on the ways and life of the people.
Until recently, the people enjoyed wild parties; celebrations and their countless festivals all year round. Roads were closed and every each of space occupied for feasting, drinking and winning; but that is not anymore. The government has long put a lid on that and not even such public places as schools are permitted anymore to host parties and public celebrations of any sort.
The people are the worse for it, the cost of the proliferating private event centres from this policy has become highly prohibitive and far beyond the people. Parties and celebrations have literarily gone on hold and with complaints about all of that almost going cacophonous, community leaders in the area under the umbrella of the Community Development Committee, Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area recently took the decision to embark on a fund drive to complete the community hall project it began some years back and make it available to the people.
Rev. Babajide Otegbade,
PRO, CDC, Oshodi/Isolo LGA,
21 Mabayoje Street, Oshodi State,