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A Lagos original

By   /  May 22, 2017  /  No Comments

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At the weekend when I rode the Abule-Egba bridge, I said to myself, “here originality of thinking meets fortitude.” To think, first you must be bold. If you had travelled that intersection a few years ago, you would deny it is the same place. Anarchy has given way to ease. Technology theorists call it disruption. The economist Schumpeter wrote about “creative destruction.” You bring it down, rebuild it, so others may ask, am I displaced or something is replaced, or am I dreaming? Shakespeare’s Imogen wakes from sleep and says, famously, “I hope I dream.” It is the spirit of Lagos that alpha Governor Akinwunmi Ambode clinched there and in Ajah.

In that same spirit, I think of another Lagos original, Herbert Macaulay. The fiery nationalist whose fervour for justice and sovereignty was also born in Lagos. His name signposted the irony of the struggle against colonialism. As I noted in my poem, Scented Offal, “He was twined into a twinsoul/ He spoke their language but forswore their tongue/ he wore their suits to shed their skin/Sometimes he loved their skein to uphold his skin.”

He was the precursor of Zik, Awo, and others who have turned the city into Nigeria’s pre-eminent place. In his honour, a lecture will hold on Thursday, May 25, at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja. Another Lagos original and Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Ambassador Dapo Fafawora, will talk on “Herbert Macaulay and his relevance to the excellence of Lagos.”

As Lagos turns 50, it deserves its originals – and excellence.

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