By Japhet Alakam
Lagos State, the former capital of Nigeria and commercial nerve centre of the country proudly displays multifaceted qualities and realities that distinguish her from other states in Nigeria. As a distinct political entity, Lagos boasts of unique landmarks from mainland to Island. What are the socio-cultural and political monuments that distinguish her; which areas of Lagos are they located and many other features? These are what the duo of Akeem Lasisi and Kabir Alabi Garba, both seasoned arts and culture journalists, captured in their new book titled Phenomenal Lagos: 50 Iconic Places in the Centre of Excellence.
The colourful and well packaged 120-page book documents landmarks of cultural, tourist and economic values in beautiful essays, photographs and poems on the selected iconic places. Though culture and tourism were the main focus, the selections cut across the political, historical and business landscapes in Lagos.
The book is segmented into nine chapters with the epilogue for easy understanding. In Chapter one, the authors examine the water bodies in Lagos, the Lagos lagoon and Atlantic ocean, its features and the things that made her the city of Aquatic Splendour.
Chapter two, tagged monuments provides an overview of 11 historical monuments that make Lagos unique, starting with the Idejo Statue, The three wise men that represent the white cap chiefs of Lagos, the National theatre, National Museum, first storey building in Lagos, Lord Lugard House, Awolowo museum, Rungbo forest and other iconic places in Lagos.
A list of ten recreation outposts that adorn the length and breadth of Lagos like the Eko Hotels, Akodo tourist centre, Whispering Palms, Freedom Park, Bar Beach, Museum centre, Tinubu square, Afrika shrine and other were captured in chapter three. Chapter four focuses on the infrastructure, where about eight striking structures that speak loud of the city were highlighted. They include, the Eko Atlantic city, Ayinke house, TBS, BRT deport, Third Mainland bridge, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, City hall etc.
Chapter five takes a look at some of the heritage sites like Eyo (Adannu Orisa Play), Iga Idunganram and Point of no Return and its importance to Lagos.
The great institutions and trade, commerce and others were discussed in chapters six and seven. Some of the institutions include UNILAG, Lagos house, Lagos high court, Idumota, Oshodi, Stock Exchange and others, while Epe fish market, Lagos ports, Computer village and many others make up the trade and commerce.
In chapter eight, the authors offered readers a glimpse of the history of a section of some popular areas in Lagos apart from the 50 iconic places: Mushin, Agege and Ogba amongst others. How some of the towns got their names and their meaning.
The places cover the five administrative divisions: Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe (IBILE).
Finally, chapter nine tagged back of the book, shows four iconic places that every visitor in Lagos will like to visit. They include, Opebi/Allen area in Lagos, the location and its features. The Brazilian quarters, a legacy of the thousands of freed slaves that returned to Nigeria in the 19th century. The Ijede Warm Spring, one of the tourist attractions in Lagos, located in Ijede community in Ikorodu area of Lagos and finally, readers were introduced to wonders of the Omooba Yemisi Shyllon Arts Foundation, OYASAF beautiful garden in Maryland, home of over 6000 paintings, sculptors, drawings and installations owned by the founder, art collector and patron, Prince Yemisi Shyllon.