Love is inherently selfish

NOTE: this article didn’t quite arrive on the blog as it played out in my head. I wanted it to be more fun while still touching on something that was at least partially true: that didn’t happen. After looking through it a couple of times, I decided I would just put it up as-is – if it makes no sense, blame it on writer’s …

Love is inherently selfish
You are probably wondering what do I know to make such a statement (and you may be right – given the infinite amount of knowledge in and about the universe, whatever I may claim to know is not worth the finite amount of time it would take to express it nor the minute amount of ink I would use to write my name) But stay with me awhile, I do not promise new insights or knowledge (is there anything such as that? For all knowledge by virtue of its definition exists for all time, it’s only that we do not “know” it), I hope to at least make you go “Hmmmn”

Now, let’s talk about the selfishness of love.

Let’s open with that love that most people assume is more or less universal: the love parents have for their offspring (while I am tempted to state that the converse is true, I believe lots of examples exists to make that a much more complex matter). Now this love is selfish. Due to human limitations, we probably shouldn’t expect otherwise. This love is based on the sole premise (to the parent) that here is someone that literarily came forth from my loins – a part of me – mine. So while the bible (JC) summarizes the law into 3 “little” loves, the truth is that for most parents, loving all their offspring equally is hard enough, talk less of the neighbor: the little unkempt urchin down the road that taps on the car’s window does not feature on the love radar – he is just an inconvenient bleep that appears from time to time on the pity radar – and that radar’s coverage is notoriously unstable – shrinking and expanding on what sometimes defy all logic (should we use logic and love in the same sentence?) So the parent’s love is indeed selfish.

Now let us take things up a notch. We will next consider the love of married couples and sometimes “partners” (in more liberal climes). We will consider this outside the context of moral and religious requirements as to what is wrong and right. So, a partner in a relationship (marriage or “committed”) “betrays” the other partner. The other partner gets angry, can’t forgive. Love turns to hatred in a moment based on a single “action” (not necessarily going all the way, may be hitting second base for example). The “betrayed” partner is ready to do grievous bodily harm to the “betraying” partner and whoever he/she committed the betrayal with. So how should we define this love, or is it conditional love (based on reciprocal action)? Is it still love once we stick the “conditional” label on it? Or should we call it something else? So, yes, not everyone necessarily react the way we have described, some are just hurt and can’t forgive. Some “forgive” but seek a separation nonetheless. We are not saying any of this reactions are wrong (except the first one of course), but they still all show that the love is conditional, and the participants “give” mostly as long as they except to “get”.

On to that fast playground from which most commitments ensue – “dating”. Dating is some sort of (pre?) romantic  involvement between two people (hopefully of opposite sex) – I am too lazy to look it up in the dictionary. The perennial boy-girl tango. What is known as dating today is not so easily defined. Some people use the term as a catch-all for everything ranging from what some people will term outright sin on one end through to the supervised/chaperoned no-physical-contact-allowed pre-marital get-togethers at the other end. But here, we shall gravitate towards the mid-point: post-teen adults involved in some way. Now, what does a “qualified” man equate to?  To some girls/ladies: his ability to guarantee a good time – and what is a good time? Outings to the mall/cinema, shopping trips; car rides, clubbing, etc. I was listening to a radio talk-show for singles looking for relationships and I thought I heard the host read out one such request from a girl looking for “a man with a house” (he might have been joking). What about the man – he expects shows of affection, implicit permission to parade the lady so his “mates” can see how good he has got it, not always does he necessarily expect that the lady will cross that all important line (no matter from whose point you look) of sex (which is another ballgame altogether – sorry – in another ballpark entirely – sorry again –arrgh!) even though this is becoming more of a “given” except to supposed “prudes” and “religious stick-in-the-mud” types (we are happy to say we fall into this category). What if the man does not have a car – does that mean he is not ready or qualified? I believe the concept of men taking care of women (in the financial sense) should not have blanket application in today’s society. It was okay when women were stay-at-home moms, and men went out to work and bring home (all) the bacon. In today’s society where both sexes work and in some cases where the woman earns more than the man, the flow of “consumables” should not only always be in one direction. Now, if the man loses the ability to provide a good time, does that end the love (immediately or after some “reasonable” perseverance or longsuffering by the woman?). If for some other reason, the woman loses interest, should that turn the man to evil thoughts of what evil he can bring upon the woman or wicked tales to others in order to spite the woman or cause her to be looked upon in disdain by the society? So is this love? Or is it selfish? Sounds conditional.

Now we will end this piece by considering a more controversial subject: the love of God for us sinful humans. Now, at first glance, it looks like we can dip our paintbrush in that inkpot of selfishness and paint this the same colour as all the other examples above. After all, God loves us in spite or despite ourselves, and does not want us to love Satan. But hold on a minute, selfishness implies detriment to one of the parties involved, so we are tempted to say that in this case God’s love towards us is selfish, in that it is intended to keep us from Satan. But fortunately, since we know that Satan does not truly love us and also that if we “go” with Satan, there are eternity-determining negative consequences whose principles of cause and effect have been put in place before we were born, then we can safely state that this love is not selfish, rather it is unselfish love meant to keep us from spending eternity in pain with the son of perdition. So we conclude by stating that this is the only true love. All the others above are best effort at this one true love by tainted humanity – though worth commending all the same!

On a lighter note, let us conclude with that well-known saying that “Happy is the man who makes more money than his wife can spend; and happy is the woman who finds such a man!”



This would have been ridiculous if it wasn’t real.

The Sun was intent on drying me out like old leather. With my shirt sticking to my back I walked down the wide street with old houses on both sides. I could feel the sweat trickling down my back and pooling in my shoes. I am dressed like some old movie cowboy with a gun belt round my waist and a holstered gun at my side. I had to get out of the sun. I had a thirst like a camel fresh off the desert.
I spied some activity at a building further down the street and hurried in the direction.
The sign out front says “Little Joe’s”
I walked in through the double-door and paused in the doorway briefly to let my eye adjust to the darkness inside. I felt better already. It was much cooler in there.
Feeling kind of out of place, I headed for the nearest table with only one occupant – an old man. I sat down and greeted him politely. He looked in his cup and grunted – I took that as a reply.
“You new in town?” he asks.
“Yes.” I said. I could also have told him I had no idea where I was.
“Joe. Bring a mug over here for this fella.” He said.
Joe came over with a tall mug of lukewarm beer. I nodded my thanks to both of them.

I could see more of the interior of the place now that my eyes had adjusted to the gloom. Most of the tables were occupied with what looked like townsfolk.
And right across the room from me was a table occupied by only one person. A young woman with her hair piled high. She was definitely a looker. Even at that distance, I could see she was her own person and had an easy grace about her. She didn’t seem to be interested in anything going on in the room, but yet you get the impression she knew every person in that room, except myself of course. I am a stranger.
I stare intently at her – trying to catch her gaze.
I asked the old man who the lady was.
He grunted. “Let her alone. There is a reason why she is sitting over there by herself.”
My eyes roved around the room. No one appeared to be paying me any attention, yet I had an uncomfortable feeling I was the subject of some unspoken undercurrent heaving and ebbing in the room.
I couldn’t help myself as there was no other distraction in the room.
“Young fella. You had do yourself a world of good to look somewhere else.” the old man says.
I tried. Truly I did. But soon I was back staring in the same direction. There was something familiar about the way she was seated. I couldn’t quite place a finger on it. I mentally ran through the list of women I knew who were about her age – almost none – no one jumps to mind.
I wasn’t a man to court trouble, but for some reason, something at the back of my mind seemed to indicate I needed to go over to her table.
I stood up and casually walked over. I casually looked round, but no one in the room seemed to be paying any attention to me except the old man.
“Hi” I said.
No response.
I am idling. I needed to say something.

I spied what looked like a tattoo on her left shoulder
“Do you mind?” I asked pointing at the tattoo. She shrugs.
I think it was the sense of some familiarity I had about her. I reached over and slightly shifted the collar of her shirt – no skin contact – the tattoo read “D. K.”
I could not help noticing the gentle swell of her breast.
“What does D.K. mean?” I ask.
She shrugs again.
There was a snigger behind me and a voice said “Double Kill” followed quickly by another voice that whispered “D*** Killer”.
She looks at the butt of my holstered gun and asked what “A.I” stood for.
I looked down at the gun and wondered how it got there. I was no gunslinger. But the inscription on the holster said “A. I.” which were my initials.
I toyed briefly with the idea of telling her my real name, then instead simply said “Artificial Intelligence”
“What does that mean?” she asks
“It would take me some time to explain it”
She shrugs.
“Can I get you a drink?” I ask. If she accepts, that would be my excuse to sit down at her table.
“My mug is empty, the day is young and it’s a free world. You buying, I am drinking”
I signaled at the barman “Can you refill her cup?”
There was another snicker from some dark corner of the room.
“Come get it yourself.” the barman responded.
I walked over to the bar, paid for the drink and ferried it back to her table.
She took the cup, took a swig and said a low thanks.
That took me aback a little as I wasn’t exactly expecting it.
“Are you going to sit down or not?”
For some reason, I looked back at the old man, and noticed the barely perceptible shake of his head.
I dragged back the seat opposite her and sat down on it.
“So you interested or what?” she asks.
She slid a little piece of paper across the table. I looked down at it and all it said was “The challenge”
“The challenge I assume. Well, why not?” I responded. Though I didn’t know what it was, I thought what could it be? I needed to display some male brashness.

The room seemed to come alive with my acceptance of “The challenge” – whatever it was. Even though my voice was barely above a whisper, I was almost immediately surrounded by all the people in the room except the old man. They were chanting “Challenge!” repeatedly.
The lady got up, stretched luxuriously, winked at some of the bystanders and placed both hands upon the table and looked me straight in the eye for the first time. There was something familiar about her eyes.
She smiled at me and said “Let’s step outside, shall we?”
For the first time I noticed the two holstered guns in the gun belt around her waist.
“Step outside for what?” I ask.
“The challenge of course. The duel.”
The crowd switched to chanting “Duel!”
I felt I was missing something.
“Yes. What did you think the challenge was?”
“Duel. With what?” I ask for want of anything better to say, though I had a sinking feeling with all the obvious guns suddenly in plain view it would be a gun duel.
With the crowd chanting the same word over and over, she said “See you outside” and gracefully walked out the double-door. I couldn’t help but admire her gracefulness, until I was suddenly propelled off my seat and into the blinding sunshine outside.
She was standing with legs slightly apart about ten yards away. Her hands hanging loose by her side. I could swear I remember that stance – but from where?
I looked at the gun by my side. I tried to think of all the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies I had seen. I wasn’t really going to go through with this duel, was I?
In the meantime, I assumed what I hoped resembled the easy stance of Clint in one of his many cowboy movies.
The chanting died down and was replaced by an expectant silence. This wasn’t really happening was it? How had I gone from drinking lukewarm beer to dueling in the space of thirty minutes?

Some disembodied voice that sounded like the old man said “Ready.”
I looked at her again. The smile was gone. Replaced by a look of determination without hatred or malice. Just a concentration on the task at hand. She hadn’t moved in the last couple of minutes.

I took a deep breath. Though I wasn’t exactly scared, my blood pressure had gone up a notch . Probably the Andrenaline. I tried to remember everything I knew about guns – from films and books. They were heavy, they had a recoil, a trigger, a safety latch.
It hit me again.
This would have been ridiculous if it wasn’t real.
This is 2012 and not 1812 – or was it?

Suddenly, there was loud rap music coming from somewhere in the distance. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a slim lady walk up in 5-inch heels lugging a boom box. She sets the boom box down, smiled, and said “Good day ladies. Is this a duel or duet? Are we gonna see some action or grow old from boredom while you ladies pick your nails?”
She said it so light-heartedly, for a minute I forgot about the possibility that in the next few minutes, I might be lying in the dust bleeding to death.
“Uncle” she says with a smile.
Uncle? I was not sure if she was addressing me or not, but she sounded so familiar that for a minute I was almost certain this wasn’t our first encounter.
“You are looking in the wrong direction” she said nodding in the direction of my supposed opponent.
I had forgotten about the lady with the gun for a minute. I sensed rather than saw her move. She was quick and I doubt if I would have beaten het to the draw even if I had made the first move. There was a glint of sunshine in her hand and a flash of light.

She winged me. I looked down at my arm. No blood, but it hurt. Blank bullets?

“Cut! Take 10!” someone shouted. I spun around, but the Sun was in my eyes, so I couldn’t make out the face of the figure descending from up the nearby scaffolding. Suddenly, the mood changed. People started bustling around, joking, chatting, and a gathering slowly formed round a huge table behind one of the houses. A big spread of food was the focus of attention.

I was confused. What was going on? Am I on a film production set of some sort?

She walks up to me. She lets down her hair and started to strip off some synthetic skin make-up stuff from her face.
“Hi” she says.
“I know.” I smiled.


Jazzing it up at the JazzHole

So, I went to the JazzHole in Ikoyi (along Awolowo Road) yesterday with a girlfriend. Now, I used that word “girlfriend” intentionally. I used the word in the sense of a friend who is a girl and not the practically accepted African (or is it Nigerian?) redefinition of the word as “lover”.
Th JazzHole is a comfy little place with books lining the walls and tables.

The particular event I attended was organized by the British Council and Glendora books. The central band was a British band known as “The Invisibles”
In case you meet up with them, the group is made up of 3 gentlemen (one on the drums and the other two playing Guitars or alternatively one Black who sang most of the vocals and two Caucasians – not meant in any racial way, but so you can recognize the group if you do see them – and they are very good)
They were ably supported throughout by several Nigerian artistes such as Diana Bada (a bundle of energy and a surprising voice), Edwardo (I may have this one wrong) as the gentleman sang some seriously energetic songs in the Fela-style in “hardcore” Yoruba language (unless he is trying to emphasize the Brazilian heritage of some of our freed slave forebears), and the incomparable Yinka Davies (a true entertainer who should be more appreciated than she is). I have forgotten a few names but they all gave great performances.

The event started 30minutes late (not that I am complaining, but pointing out that “when in Lagos” … even the … abide by the concept of “African time” 🙂
But I must say the 2.5 hours or so I spent there went by very quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a great evening of very good music and I will gladly attend again in future if the opportunity arises.


Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and have my teeth professionally cleaned (what to us laymen is known as “Scaling and Polishing”). Contacted my HMO (Hygeia) via my HR (KR) and got a list of Dental Health care providers. Since they say it’s all about the location, I decided to choose one located close enough – in Ikoyi (some alternative consideration was given to one in Lekki). The name of the one I chose was “Faces ‘n’ Braces” located in ParkView estate in Ikoyi. I made an appointment for 11am two Saturdays ago and made my way there early in the morning. Somehow I got lost. I asked a security guard at some house along one of the side streets in Ikoyi and was able to make my way to ParkView. I soon got lost inside the estate again. I called “Faces” again and the gentleman (whom I later found manning the reception desk) was kind enough to come stand on the road so I could locate the place – not that the place was hidden – I must take part of the blame for the wrong turnings I made. Finally got there at about 11:20am.
Miss “L.” (who I suspect must be some sort of Business Development Manager) attended to me, then a Dr. “E.” (or Dr. “I.”) came to the reception area and accompanied me to one of at least two theaters after completing a very short form (name, DOB, company, phone) He was very professional and soon got me seated in the dentist chair. He carried out a short exam after which he commented that for someone who has not been to a Dentist in about 7 years, my teeth were reasonably clean. I got a paper “bib” around the neck, and plastic goggles on my face (I guess to protect my eyes from flying plaque) and we were good to go.
With the electronic “plaque” remover and some sort of electronic suction tube (to suck out the buildup of saliva in my mouth from holding it open for long periods – thereby reducing the number of times I had to lean over to gaggle and spit ) we were off to a good start. At some point, he paused briefly and asked if I used a hard brush which I confirmed I do. He said (paraphrasing) it’s having a negative effect on my gum and also will lead to teeth sensitivity in future which is hard to treat. He advised I switch to Oral B medium (I am having some doubts on this because I used the toothbrush this morning and I wasn’t convinced it removed the gunk from my mouth – maybe I didn’t brush long enough, but I could almost not feel the brush – or it may just be a case of my old habits dying hard.)
Back to the scaling experience. I must say the procedure was almost enjoyable. The Dentists was assisted by a lady who operated the suction tube and did some other things such as wiping my chin etc. not sure if she was a doctor or some sort of dental nurse.
The scaling was followed by the polishing (after some suitable abrasive compound was rubbed on my teeth) The good doctor then showed me the proper way to brush – no horizontal movements except on the chewing surfaces only.
I stopped by the reception as required on the way out. I also asked about the whitening procedure advertised on their website. The cost was similar to some I have seen on the Internet. The procedure itself consist of the clinic making a dental cast of ones teeth, then sending you home with the cast and the whitening compound which you apply to the cast and then wear the cast in your mouth for 45minutes every day for 2 weeks. One of the staff had gone through the procedure and her teeth looked really lovely. Miss “L.” asked if she could make the appropriate pitch to my colleagues and I said why not. I think they did a lovely job on my teeth.

Let me leave you with this tidbit from their advert brochure, “If you take care of your teeth now, you will be chewing like a champ the rest of your life”

How do you know?

Yes, I agree. I am too old to be asking this question. But then, it’s just as relevant to anybody no matter the age who may be thinking of taking the plunge: “How do you know?” and “Is it time?”
Yes, some people are going to say “pray” and yet, for most people, even though it’s possible God gave the nod, actually, praying is just (subconsciously or otherwise) going through the motions – their minds are already made up (though they may not admit so)
So, how do you know for sure?
Yes, there is indeed a time for everything under the sun. But is that time strictly custom (culture/tradition) based? For example, in some cultures, people take the plunge as young as their late teens. So does that mean anyone in that culture who is still unattached by say the late 20s is a social aberration?
It’s well known that most couples will experience several “itches”: the 2 year itch, the 3 year itch, the 7 year itch (I know, some people are going to say it’s Unchristian-ly, but as long as you don’t do what you are not supposed to do …)
What one doesn’t want is to experience the 2 year itch 6 months after the “act.”
Aside from the fact that as it’s well known that men and women are on their best behaviours during courtship, there is also the unknown factor of meeting someone else and thinking “Oh sh*t! I should have waited!”
Talking about best behaviours, during courtship:
– Men are not likely to sit around in their underwear for 3 days straight without bathing;
– Neither party is likely to “dig for gold” in the presence of the other party;
– Women are likely to make the effort to appear stellar and trim;
As early as a few months down the line after the act, all these starts to change. While some of it is good as it indicates the letting down of guards that may otherwise prevent full intimacy, some others mark the downward spiral towards – at best some level of toleration of the other party. Good examples are the fact that people are going to change physically – while some change is inevitable, others are avoidable. Women are going to put on weight with child birth which is acceptable, but what happens afterwards? What happens after the second and third child? A few added pounds is OK, but when you are twice the size you were at the time of the act, one or more of a few scenarios are likely to play out:
– if the man truly cares, he is going to have the woman try to do something about it;
– some men would use the excuse to justify in their own minds “looking” outside for “something” resembling the woman at the time of the act, now this does not always necessarily imply a “smallie” as some people would put it, it may as well be a matured (age-wise) woman who has kept herself reasonably in shape.
– Some men are just too tired to care one way or another: too many bills to pay, too many things to worry about.
– Some men are not going to look outside either because of their religious or moral convictions
– Some men would truly enjoy having the woman with the additional padding.
Apart from the last category of men described above, the fact that the men themselves are probably “packing” some extra pounds round their middle does not appear to matter from the men’s point of view: After all, it’s not about them: it’s about the women. Men are going to become beer guzzlers; Men who used to help around the house before are going to become fathers that won’t even raise a leg so the woman can sweep the dirt under the seat.
It’s a man’s world after all. No matter how it plays out, it appears the woman is going to get the short end of the stick. Men run around and do everything possible to woo a woman and that takes what? A year or 2 years. Get hitched and the honeymoon lasts another what? A year or two. Then the man now has a cook that costs almost nothing. No more need to worry about how the house gets cleaned; how the clothes get washed and ironed. For 2-years of putting ones best foot forward, I think there are few more rewarding “contracts.” for a man. Yes, I understand the traditional roles of men and women, but those roles are not completely valid or clear-cut in this age where both partners are out there working like donkeys to make the home’s ends meet.
Part of the tragedy of course is the way human relationships develop. As it is said, you are not going to get hitched to your enemy. So for most people, friends become partner by virtue of continuous (physical) association. Take bankers for example, they are all dressed up to the nines, and work closely together most of every day. So, relationships develop (sometimes between people that would not give themselves the time of day in other settings). But how many of those relationships have enough outside-the-office roots? So a couple get hitched, it might have been OK when both were single with single people’s responsibilities. Now there are lots of joint issues in the mix, housing: feeding, families, children, etc. so the couple continues to work several hours together (this didn’t use to be possible in most banks before, as the rule was that once a couple get hitched, one of them has to find employment outside the particular bank)  or not. Either way, with the stress of work, travel (long distance for most people – especially young “middle-class” couples), they soon discover that there are now two strangers living under one roof. At some point, the bitter-sweet “fruit” of daily survival is going to open the eyes of either or both couples and they start to wonder what it was that they saw in the other party that made them commit to what is supposedly a till death do us part affair.

I was sitting in a client’s office a few days ago and it’s interesting to hear people talk when the business of the day is more or less over. Soon a discussion started by – I assume hitched women in the office about a couple who recently celebrated 30-something years of marriage and who were still in love. And of course there were the Ooohs! And Hahs! from the women folk and what a wonderful thing that was. Well, one of the married men joined in with more or less the following “that it was a lie. That after about 5 or 10 years at most, people just basically got along because they can still stand each other and not because of love (passionate or otherwise)”

These questions and related ones are going to continue to remain at the forefront (even if people won’t acknowledge it) of human relationship matters as long as there are men and women. Yes, some people are going to say they as sure as the sun rises that their partner was preordained for them (some are going to truly belief it but most are going to have a little nagging thought that maybe, just maybe), some are going to say that at the time the decision was made, it was the best of all possible outcomes, and some are going to wonder if they went mad briefly at the time.

Yes, the people that know are going to say that the mistake most couple make is that they underestimate the hard-work it requires to make relationships work; to keep the relationship strong; to keep the relationship  loving and passionate, and not just become a matter of the resolve to just stick it out till the end. If nature or life is good to the couple (no major crises, no major health issues, reasonably well-behaved children, etc) it’s easier to make things work – “easier” is of course relative: it will still be hard-work. Unfortunately, the longer people are together, the more they take each other for granted, and the harder it is to put in the work necessary to sustain a happy relationship – not an OK relationship; not a “Well, We are together” relationship; not a “we are not separated like the Joneses” relationship – I am talking about a loving, vibrant relationship. People say the hormonal doe-eyed tingling heat-racing feeling of youth will cool down and dissipate and some say it’s to be expected. But some believe also that with the right attitude and a willingness to put in the hard-work and sacrifice when necessary, it’s possible to have passion for one’s partner long after the pictures were taken and the “special” day a distant memory.

On a lighter note (since the above is serious and all that needs to be said can never be said or exhausted), here is a partial his/hers prenuptial (though how enforceable it is, is another matter) – the full thing is the subject of another article.
1. Thou shall not gain more than 15KG above thy current weight during the entire course of this togetherness till death do us part (the period of 6 months before and 6 months after any baby delivery excluded)
2. Thou shall not cheat under any circumstances
3. Thou shall not grow exceedingly fat (emphasizing pre-nup condition 1 above)
4. Thou shall not require extra clothing material for thy beer belly and love handles
5. Thou shall exercise regularly
6. Thou shall not lift up thy hand against thy partner
7. Thou shall not collude to do thy partner harm (materially or otherwise)

Back to the subject of this post. I guess, ultimately, the question for the person that wants to stay faithful is: “5, 10, 20, 30 years down the line – would I still be able to – not necessarily love – but at least stand this person?” – But that of course is the pessimist’s view, in the meantime, “You may kiss the bride!”

Twenty questions for the Lagos state government on the Lekki Toll Gates

I was originally going to title this post 20 Questions for Mr Fashola, but then I realized “a man does not a government make”. The government of Lagos state includes the state house of assembly members, the various commissioners, etc. Did someone mention the masses? Sorry to disappoint, the masses are not part of the government, otherwise they will not be so treated (poorly). In all states of the federation, the fact that the person that you as a common man on the street voted for came to power should not be taken as causative, it’s mere happenstance. It’s just that your choice happens to align with the choice of the powers that be. You can thank yourself though, at least by voting, it gives an air of legitimacy to the whole process! So on to those 20 questions for the state government (I have had to reword the questions accordingly)
As there is now a “functional” freedom of information act, we feel we can ask and expect answers to these questions on matters which affect the populace
1. Was there any public consultation on the Lekki concession to find out what people living along that axis think of the proposed project and its terms (duration, operation and cost) or did the government just unilaterarily decide it knew exactly what was good for the people?
2. If yes to the previous question, were the people that would be mostly affected given a chance to vote on it?
3. Was there a public tender to select the concessionaire?
4. If yes, were there any qualified people who are resident along that axis whose standing and integrity in the society is beyond reproach and who have no connections materially (directly or indirectly with the government) on the tender’s selection board?
5. If yes, were the general masses (especially people living along that axis) given a say in who represented them on the board?
6. Are there anyone (all those mentioned above and more as being part of the government) in this government with shares (direct or indirect) in the LCC?
7. Are there anyone (in government as defined above) in this government who have been paid, or will be paid now, or will be paid in the future as a direct result from the award or operations of the LCC concession?
8. Are there anyone (in government as defined above) in this government with close relations involved with the LCC concession who stand to gain materially from it?
9. How was the terms of the concession arrived at (especially given the fact that this government has less than 4 years left and a maximum of 8 years at most assuming hypothetically that the concession was made on the first day the government came on board – which we know is not the case)
10. Since this concession affects the people the government serves, where are the estimates and analysis for the cost versus benefits of this concession and who was involved in drawing it up?
11. Where are the estimates on the average per day, per month, per year returns to the LCC concessionaires to ensure it’s publicly scrutinized to ensure the people are not being unreasonably exploited by a private company selected by this government?
12. Where are the actual current earnings per day, per month for the duration of the operation of the concession till date in order to validate the initial estimate (if this is found too high thereby resulting in obnoxious profit at the expense of the people, it should automatically drive the move to adjust the toll charges downwards)?
13. Who are the major parties involved in the LCC (especially Nigerians)?
14. As others have asked before, what drove the decision to have 3 toll gates on a 35km road in the same LG?
15. Since we claim to follow practices from the developed countries, kindly supply references for the above decision from those countries (many of which government members have visited in the past)
16. Shouldn’t the toll be affordable for the lowest paid citizen? If as an example we consider a civil servant with one wife and one child (in Nigeria?!) living in Awo Yaya on the Lekki axis earning 18,000 Naira monthly salary and who drives a jallopy and who has to work 20days a month, can such a person afford the concessionaires toll tax which works out at 4,800 Naira (20x120x2) per month, that’s more than a quarter of his monthly salary gone already gone?
17. Since there is a suggestion that our hypothetical civil servant above should uproot himself (not that he is living in heaven before), sell his property (if by some chance he has one), and go lease an apartment in another part of the city, kindly advise him on where the government has developed which is within his meager means and which more importantly is not a slum and which has enough accommodation and infrastructure to support the vast majority of people who fall into (and below) this class?
18. We understand that the so-called alternate route now has touts in the indirect employ of the government (since they make “returns”) haphazardly operating their own mini-toll gates, if this is not the case, what effort has this government made to stop this extortion of the hardworking citizens who choose not to go through the first toll gate of the LCC?
19. If this alternate route is truly alternate, shouldn’t it be motorable in such a way that one can bypass all the toll gates operated by the LCC and not just only the first one?
20. While there are many more questions, we find we need to stop at this point, though the questions above tend to paint a picture which for all the legal minds in the government as previously defined, we find it hard to believe there will be satisfactory answers (but we are nonetheless hopeful).
We eagerly await the answers supplied by (hopefully) the government or the LCC (as a last resort if pressing matters of state makes it impossible for the former to provide answers)
Thank you.