So my friend Simon calls. He is devastated by the recent increase in tollgate fees. According to him, he would now be spending about N800 per day to and fro work and if you now add this to the floods that would soon come and the exorbitant rents, you begin to see the nightmare that it is living on the so-called Island. Simon is an oil worker and if he is crying like this you can now imagine the depth of misery for ordinary folks who wanted to be like the Benjamin’s and went to pitch their tents on that Island.
Personally, I have never seen all the hue and cry about living on the Island. The place apart from the major expressway that leads from the toll gate down to Epe is really nothing to write home about. Yes, you will see some fine buildings but all splashed around with poor urban planning, rubbish draining system which turns the whole place into an aquatic splendour with the littlest of rain. Then the legendary traffic jam now adds its own madness to the whole equation.
If you live in say for example VGC, you will practically turn ‘mad’’ on your way home daily. I once had a friend who had to run from work by 4: 00 pm daily just to beat the mad rush. This affected her career as she was never around during critical meetings and once it was 2:00 pm she would begin to fret and get worried which led to major distractions at work and costly mistakes.
Before I leave the Island alone, let me quickly add the lockdown the so-called Estates face due to flood. Small rain and that is it. So for me, it is just a case of suffering and no smiling for Islanders.
We the poor cousins on the Mainland do not have to suffer like this. We are on solid land, so the flooding although still there does not in any way impact on our lives and mobility. Our rents are normal, high, but not stupidly crazy and then again apart from the funny poles that they put across the streets by local vigilantes, we do not have to pay these crazy toll gate fees as we move within our ‘slum’. We are happy and will remain so.
The only issue we will now be made to face will be the increasing rents on our side as a result of the influx of economic refugees and displaced Nigerians fleeing the Island. These people have turned places like Magodo, Yaba and Ogudu into massive IDP Camps as a result and we are not finding this funny at all.
Anyways what can we do, we are our brother’s keepers. You all can come to Somolu.