In one of the most heart-warming initiatives I have seen undertaken in recent memory, Fela Durotoye and others took to the streets of Mushin on 12 December 2009 in the first edition of “Area Makeover”.
Whilst on one hand, the vacuum of environmental dereliction was created largely by a government that has abdicated its responsibility over the years, it is gratifying to see Nigerians move from “talking the talk” (a sin of which I am guilty), to “walking the walk”. There is the concept of “Cardoso-ism” which Feyi Fawehinmi has very intelligently propagated (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=189703842619), and it seems this is the spirit of “Cardoso-esque” reformation moving a man to action.
It is early days yet to push Fela (or someone of his mould) to go for an electoral post, but this is a lesson for Prof. P. Utomi – there is a need for the man on the streets to identify with you and for you to be seen empathising with them as well. For the alamala politicians in the mould of the late Alh. Lamidi Adedibu, this is a major lesson (if they are capable of learning) on how they have failed the nation. I do not think Fela lives in Mushin (the last I heard, he lives in a rather exclusive area in Lagos), but I do not envisage a mosquito would attempt to bite him in Mushin without the Oloosa boys dispatching the mosquito to the great beyond. So much for those who advocate that having a private army of thugs is necessary to gain political goodwill.
Copycat that I am, I am dreaming of a “Wash The Gutter” enterprise to clear drains in the Lagos Island area – but instead of leaving the debris cleared from the drains on the street, they would carted to some landfill or another… I dream! Seriously however, this is a measure worth emulating.
Without trying to be sycophantic, it is also important to note how good governance can bring out the best in us as well. Clearly in Lagos state, there is a governor who is working quite hard to bring a measure of change. One may criticise different aspects of his methodologies, but one thing that is incontrovertible is that he is working. In such an atmosphere, individuals in their private capacities would be more easily inspired to give their respective quotas to improve the lot of the society. Congrats to all who took part in this project.