RAUF AREGBESOLA: LAGOS IS THE DESTINY OF OUR RACE, (STAKEHOLDERS ENGAGEMENT ON INTERNAL SECURITY & CONFLICT MANAGEMENT) ~ INN Nigeria

Permit me to do a brief appraisal of the importance of Lagos to us as a people. Lagos is not just a city in Nigeria, it is the symbol of the black race and the city most representative of our people. It is the city wholly built by the labour, intellect and capacity of Africans.

I think ‘black’ will not even be an appropriate description of our race or the pigmentation of our skin colour. Black does not represent anything good in any culture. It is a derogatory term in all human cultures.

No deity, to the best of my knowledge, is represented by the black colour. We are not even black sensu stricto. The darkest member of our race is not even close to the black colour. If in doubt, check your skin now.

I prefer to refer to us as the ‘First Race’, because anthropological and genetic studies have confirmed that we are the first people to emerge on the face of the earth and that all others migrated out of Africa. Hence, the “Out of Africa” theory of human dispersal. But I digress!

With a GDP of circa $140 billion, Lagos would be the fifth largest economy in Africa, if it were a country, just as California in the United States would be the fifth largest economy in the world, if it were a country.

2040, it is projected that Lagos will be the third largest urban conurbation in the world, with 39 million people, following Tokyo in Japan and Delhi in India.

The influential London based Financial Times describes Lagos as a success story within the Nigerian paradox, crediting the successive state governors since 1999 with phenomenal transformation of the state.

Security challenges are of global concern and, therefore, not peculiar to us. The world is increasingly facing insecurity whose main causes are armed conflicts, terrorism, banditry, organised crime, food shortages, epidemics, and extreme political contestations, among others.

Lagos security challenges include, but are not limited to, armed robbery, carjacking, burglaries, pipeline and public infrastructure vandalism, frauds and white-collar crimes, cybercrime, road accidents, ritual killing, land and property theft, murderous armed gangsterism cultism, piracy and theft of intellectual property & domestic violence. A dangerous new dimension was added last month with prolonged protests dovetailing into an orgy of killings, looting, vandalism and arsonist attacks on public and private property and, bizarrely, cannibalism.

We must all pause and reflect on how this came upon us. The youths are the pride and glory of any people. We must understand that the youths are a unique demographic. People under the age of 25 constitute 46 per cent of global population while they are 60 per cent in Africa.

They must be commended for the courage to start a movement that shook the foundation of this nation in a way never done before. However, much as they are a great asset, they also can be a great risk –to themselves and to the society – if their energy is not positively channelled.

This call is to the best among the youth, those representing the best of morality, dignity, decency &behaviour, to take upon themselves to purge their ranks of these undesirables, since they cannot dictate the pace of society. If they do, it will lead to the ruination of everyone.

We all, especially the youths owe Lagos a critical & solemn attention. For the youths, it is their future that is at stake. As we have regrettably seen in the past one month, all the efforts of a century can be wiped out in a day, which will require not less than 50yrs to recover That is why the issue of security in Lagos should be paramount. Conflict is the precursor to conflagration and consequent instability. Conflict prevention and quick resolution are therefore prerequisites to stability and security of lives and property and development.

Lagos is for all of us to celebrate, build, nurture, promote and enhance because we shall be defined ultimately as a people by what we make of Lagos and Nigeria.

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