OF recent, Nigeria’s media landscape has been agog with a trending issue bordering on the desirability or otherwise of according special status to Lagos State. I have personally pondered to underscore the import of such demand. And in my candid opinion, devoid of any sentiment, I have come to the realisation that the proponents of the call for special recognition are neither asking for too much nor trying to reap where they did not sow. If equity, justice and fairness should be adopted, this is a state which hitherto prided itself as the federal capital city, hosting the embassies/consulates, states’ liaison offices, the teeming population of Federal civil servants until the movement of the Federal Capital to Abuja in the late 1980s. Even with the movement, some of these embassies and liaison offices have maintained operations in Lagos for the purpose of administrative convenience.
Against the expectation that transfer of civil servants to Abuja would deflate the population density of the city of Lagos, there has been demographic upsurge into the state, instead. People who are displaced one way or the other in their states across the federation troop daily to Lagos State, which has always been seen as a veritable alternative place for comfort, solace and a home for all. This has over-stretched the infrastructural facilities in the state. No wonder many have referred to Lagos as a mini Nigeria. But I see it as a mini Africa, nay world. There is hardly any African country that you cannot find its citizen here in Lagos, ditto the world. You cannot count 70 per cent of who-is-who in Nigeria, who did not have one thing or another, in common with Lagos or Lagosians.
On the industrial and commercial scales, Lagos has remained the commercial capital of the country.
In terms of IGR, VAT-generated revenue accruable to the federation account is only next to oil. Politically speaking, recognising Lagos with a special status would be a merit and in adherence to the admonition of our past leaders who assured that Lagos would not be left behind in the scheme of development, notwithstanding the transfer of political power to Abuja. Lagos should be to Nigeria, what New York City is to America.
- Tony Anaele,