Egunje Spoil Lagos By ‘Tope Fasua


But in Lagos, as in most of Nigeria, our pretend leaders would rather rush into the capital market or bring fake investors because they are interested only in making money; money that they can’t even spend. That the Lagos government is totally deluded can be found in the fact that they included the name of a company, Alpha Beta Consulting, which is allegedly owned by the master of Lagos, Bola Tinubu.
In the mid-90s I lived in the same estate in Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos with the lewd Fuji exponent, Obesere (Baba-Tosibe), as he reeled out his local sex-themed songs back to back. I never met him but some of his songs were catchy. He belongs to the early genre of musicians who promise heaven and earth with their sexual endowments (always overrated anyway) – something that has now become standard fare among our many youthful musicians (including those ones who attended foreign universities). Onoshe Nwabukwu wrote in The PUNCH this past weekend about how the word ‘bum-bum’, which was deemed offensive a few years back has now become almost desirable as a song title.
Nigerian Musician, Obesere
But Obesere sang one song about Lagos. He said ‘Egunje’ (bribery) has spoilt Lagos and everyone who works with government openly demands a bribe from Lagosians (saa ba mmu – just give me). This phrase later metamorphosed into ‘ki lo ba de? – How much comes with it?’ – a question which many civil servants ask whenever a file passes through their desks. It doesn’t matter how much is involved, Lagos is a desperate place and no one has started the process of its exorcism. It is that desperation you see at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, where people hustle and beg you for money right from drop-off to the point you board. It does not know tribe. Once you are posted to Lagos – at least for civil servants – you develop the spirit of begging. You must understand and perfect the art of singing praises and corralling gifts. Not even Osinbajo’s executive order about the airports has been able to reduce this level of desperation. And for Lagos police, the nasty experiences with them are still fresh on my mind.
I have three experiences to recall about doing business in Lagos. There was a guy who worked for one of the rich parastatals. He would always call my organisation, demanding for brochures, and quotations. He has been doing that since 2007. After several years of obliging him with no business coming through to us, he made a mistake one day and called some of my staff to send him copies of our receipts, and also a sample of our training certificates. That was when we knew he had been taking money in our company’s name and only calls to get documentation to regularise this. In another instance, when I was lucky to facilitate a retreat for directors in the then Governor Fashola’s office, I was shocked at how many clerks called or waylaid me because they had seen the file. They wanted in and would let you know they could ‘miss’ the file if you refused to deal. In yet another instance involving a federal parastatal in Lagos, what I got were anonymous calls trying to find out information, and basically grilling me for information because they wanted to snatch the hard-earned job for another company. Wo, Lagos is desperate. Lagos needs to slow down. For the pursuit of money is breaking people’s necks.
And the guys who get into government are the biggest culprit.
Take Ambode. Soft spoken and outwardly amiable – even though it was rumored that he had issues with Fashola and was laid off from the service – I personally did not give him much of a chance but he soon showed he could shake things up in the old Lagos. Lagos became cleaner and a bit more orderly. He did little things like lay-bys which no one seemed to have thought about. I even liked the fact that he was dynamic in moving his commissioners around and laying some of them off. Soon, he was receiving ratings better than Fashola’s, and people started to think he was his own man, that Tinubu was not breathing down his neck

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