Mainland vs Island - a senseless battle over nothing
The mainland versus Island online battle is not what Lagos needs right now.
Twitter was drowning (yes I know) with photos and videos of major roads flooded and people trapped in their homes. The rain swallowed cars and damaged properties.
One man's pain is another man's pleasure. On the other side of town, Lagos mainland folks were mocking the plight of the Islanders with witty tweets and memes. They blasted 'Lekki people' for paying so much only to live in an aquarium.
When it rains it pours and on this watery weekend, the jabs were coming hard. The Islanders blasted back at the insensitive shots. A couple of famous people got in the war of words too. The savagery was at an all time high.
Having lived in Lagos all my life, I cannot recollect what started the Island/Mainland rivalry. When I was young, Lagos was Lagos. The first time I heard of the beef was in 2013. I was privy to a Nigerian rapper talking about a dancehall act he wanted to work with.
The rapper approached the then upcoming singer for a collaboration. The dancehall act was down to work with him but said the recording had to be done in Lekki because he doesn't "do mainland." The rapper was pissed that the singer was looking down on his side of town.
The second time the mainland/Island beef came up was on January 1, 2016, at the Headies. After Olamide's infamous rant, he threatened the Don Jazzy led Mavins "don't come to the mainland." By then the myth that poor people and the middle class lived on the mainland and the rich 1% stay on the Island had already been established.
Three bridges, Carter Bridge (1901), Eko Bridge (1975) and 3rd Mainland Bridge (1990) separate the mainland from the Island. There is another thing that separates both places, wealth or the perception of it.
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Houses in Lekki and co are at least three times more expensive than houses on the mainland. A vast majority of top companies are situated on the Island also. It is Lagos' commercial nerve centre.
The Lagos dynasties have family mansions in Ikoyi and Victoria Island. Mix this with new money springing up in Lekki, Ajah and with over priced service apartments in Ikoyi and you sort of get the picture that the Island is a hub of wealth.
Just like that upcoming dancehall act, there are many people on the Island who will boldly tell you that they can't step foot on the mainland. The excuse ranges from the level of crime to the disorganised and frenzy pace of things on the mainland.
These are lies by the way. There are posh neighbourhoods on the mainland and criminal activities happen on the Island.
On the other side of town, quite a few mainlanders believe people on the Island are snubs and fakers who spend all their life savings to live in overpriced ghettos.
The social media jabs have been on for quite a while but they were just bants. When the heavens opened on Friday, July 7, 2017, floods on the Island went from viral punchlines to a serious matter. Sadly, some did not see it that way.
Schadenfreude is a German word used to explain the pleasure we derive from another person's misfortune. The rich also cry or in this case, the homes of the rich get flooded.
Nigerians have a baffling perception towards wealth. A middle class or lower class Nigerian believes that a rich person is arrogant and proud. They believe the rich are not humble.
That is why there is a strong perception that the real people stay on the mainland and the fake people live on the mainland.
When disaster strikes a rich person, the average Nigerian tends to have schadenfreude.
This is what happens when photos of the flood in Lekki and co pop up on our timelines. There is the sentiment of "God has caught them. Now their homes are flooded after they paid that outrageous amount." This is an insensitive, mocking opinion to have when people's cars have been damaged by the flood.
Not everyone who lives on the Island is a multi-millionaire. A lot of people who live in Lekki and Ajah don't have fat bank accounts. They live in these places because it is closer to work. With the traffic situation in Lagos, it only makes sense that your office is minutes away.
This is the situation most Islanders find themselves in. They migrated from the mainland to the Island so that they wouldn't have to deal with the insane traffic during rush hour.
Flood isn't exclusive to the Island. There are parts of the mainland that get flooded too. Lagos city has many problems and the Island isn't immune to them. Bad drainage systems is a Lagos problem and not an Island issue.
Mocking people who can afford to live in Victoria Garden City isn't smart because the same issues they deal with it is what we deal with also irrespective of where you live.
Lagosians-mainland and Island- should be taking the state government to task on this flood problem. Battling over wealth and creating false narratives are a waste of time when Lagos needs major restructuring.
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