My first time in Lagos has been bittersweet and it’s not difficult to say it will be my last. I arrived at the weekend and had time to see some Sporting structures, Teslim and National Stadium, and did some scouting. Surulere is a great atmosphere, a lot of music, nice food and the regular burn up, but I observed disorganisation from the outset.
The build-up to the match was covered with a lot of emotions in the air due to Super Eagles returning to Lagos and after a long time. On the match day, my fears finally came to bear. Accreditation was not properly communicated to the journalists, there were shades of grey around ticketing, from the survey I did a lot of people was looking forward to seeing the match.
I deliberately got to the venue so I see and hear for myself, I was whiskers away from being crushed, a narrow entrance did no one any favour, and after 30 minutes of battle by fans who claimed they bought the tickets for 5, 10k regulars not sensing they were scammed by a duplicate, a stampede was not too far away.
The interconnecting roads in Lagos is a beauty, but there needs to be an urgent improvement in the air quality. Drainage and debris management systems have to step up, open defecation leaves a scar on peoples mind in 2021 and to cap it Journalist are still being treated with disdain.
During the last training session, female media personnel had to endure rage from authorities and organisers and journalists were barked at with no remorse. A bit of night colour as you would expect in Lagos a party held at supporters club based in Teslim. I rekindled old memories, met some nice ladies ate some duck and prayed for match day.
Footballers are guarded against the media, and even more stringent now due to Covid 19. So it was a bit difficult to do interviews, chats and some innovations in Eko Hotels. Then PR’s were frustrating with some players reported having departed to their clubs from the stadium, and some of those who returned masked with a towel before boarding the elevator then from there a bit of “smell a rat” scent flowed with the night.
As a nightcrawler, I managed to do clubbing with my friend Star Ola, spoke to a few top personalities inside the club Ay and Timaya and got a bit of succour from a frustrating day.
Can we have a better Lagos? It appears to me there’s a glimmer of hope, but how soon is a difficult question to ask anyone in Power.