Not too long ago, I was at my favorite Asun and foamy liquid spot, at Ikota/VGC in Eti-Osa East LGA, killing off the afternoon and wondering when my phone will buzz with the usual “where are you?” signaling time to face westwards. I sat with the usual set of young entrepreneurs, employees on leave and those breaking their home bound trip after work, etc. So you can imagine the gist drifting from politics to LASG greed, BH, real estate, latest market initiatives and how much your appearance opens doors for you “in this Lagos”, etc. 
Here goes: 
“APC needs to go. They are not masses friendly. You pay for everything in this Lagos. Imagine charging N300 for that new Lekki/Ikoyi bridge! Yet, the new road built in Itire/Ojuelegba is not tolled. Lagos does not want poor people.” 
I glance at their cars parked just meters from us. G-Wagon, Range, Acura ZDX… Hmmm…
So who is the alternative in PDP and what are their policies for Lagos, especially towards generating IGR to sustain a teeming and burgeoning population of 18M or so? 
“Any PDP candidate will transform Lagos…”
As they have done where? Akwa Ibom. Have you been there? Do you know what their population, monthly allocation, 15% derivation, rate of urban growth, diversity of population and general scope of development is? 
“I have heard the guy is building roads!” 
OK.
“These Lekki estates are ripping people off with service charge. Haha! Imagine my estate requesting a service charge of N200k per annum! What is the point of being my own landlord?”
What is the service charge used for? 
“Security, cleaning common areas, renovating roads once in a while, generating power to light up estate in absence of NEPA, provision of treated water and disposal of waste. That’s all!” 
Really? How many security personnel do you have in that estate? How much is the average salary they earn? How much NEPA light do you have and how does that affect diesel usage! How many houses are in your estate???
“I’m not sure. I just know it’s too much. They only pay N100k or so in VGC.” 
Ok. Did you know that VGC probably has thousands more residents than your estate and their water is not free…it is metered at point of use. Do you attend residents meetings? Have you volunteered to be part of the budget process? 
“Who has time for that nonsense meeting when all they do is to go there and argue. Hiss”. 
“Why is LASG trying to register residents? I bet they are up to no good. Is the population census not enough? All they’re after is more tax. That is all they know”. 
Have you registered though? 
“Of what use? Make I let them begin send me nonsense tax increase?” 
Ok, where you counted in the last population census? 
“Yes”. 
Where? 
“At home…in my home state. Not Lagos”. 
Are you registered to vote? 
“Yes”. 
Where? 
“Also at home”. 
Did you know that you would be unable to vote in Lagos? How do you intend to elect your PDP government? Silence. Looks at others for confirmation. 
So I used the opportunity to talk about the benefits of the LASG resident’s registration. LASSRA. Still not buying. 
“As for me o, I pray the Labour Party wins in Lagos. Tinubu’s hold is too strong abeg”. 
Who are the Labour Party prospective candidates? Who are their party leaders in Lagos? 
“All I know is that my state governor is From LP and he is doing very well”. 
Are you talking about Ondo state?
Yes.
Please give me some examples of his good works. 
“Hmmm… He built an ultra-modern market, he has renovated schools and he pays teachers’ salaries promptly”. 
Really? 
“Btw, are you saying you have no issues with this LASG?” 
Yes, I have. I would have preferred them to have built a coastal alternative road before tolling the Lekki/Epe express. I would like them to eradicate trading at the Ajah roundabout and build a flyover there. I wish they could do more in providing power by bringing in an investor to float a power plant in our axis…this is even as they are still the most ventured state government in IPPs. I would also like them to build a proper general hospital in the Lekki-Ajah axis, etc. But I have no regrets paying for all the services I enjoy both in my estate and at state level public utilities, tolls inclusive. 
So we leave, one after the other. Some prompted by their phones, others simply back to their businesses, etc. I drove home with different sound bites from that conversation on my mind. These are educated folks in their 40s. Civic responsibility is still a challenge with us today. How do we grow our country when we just don’t understand our part as citizens? Are those coming after us any better? Who are their role models? Same folks who would not want to pay taxes at home are planning trips abroad where people pay up to 40% taxes…. You want to change a government and you are registered to vote in your state of origin and not in your state of residence? People still do not know what pull they are on a society when they are not counted as residents? They don’t know how this is factored into revenue allocation and distribution of social amenities…a population of ghosts!
There is work to be done folks.
 
SAN
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