January 5, 2024

Greater Lagos Fiesta for healing after political tension

Controversies over Lagos' ownership needless, says group


One of the regrettable, negative fallouts of the 2023 general election was the bad blood it created along ethnic lines among Nigerians in many states in the country. Among those states was Lagos, which was for many years Nigeria’s federal capital before it lost that status to Abuja.  

But even after it ceased to be Nigeria’s seat of political power, Lagos has retained its prime position as the nerve centre of economic activities, being host to major multinationals, the seaports, other corporate organisations, and micro enterprises of sundry description. It is for these reasons that Lagos is the most popular destination for Nigerians from other parts of the country who daily troop to the metropolis in search of greener pastures.

It is understandable, therefore, that Lagos became home to all Nigerians and foreigners living and doing business there. So it was not surprising that the metropolis assumed a multi-ethnic and mixed religious character which came to define it as a ‘mini Nigeria’. But things almost fell apart among Lagosians during and after the last elections due to political differences and partisan intolerance fueled by some unpatriotic elements who promoted hate and dissension through their unguarded utterances and actions. While this lasted, palpable tension, engendered by mutual suspicion among those who had lived peacefully for years, was the order of the day.

That is why the steps taken now by the Lagos State Government to reassert the imperative of peace and unity in the state is commendable. One of the significant efforts in this regard is the Greater Lagos Fiesta, a three-day end-of-the-year event held at Sol Beach in Iru-land from December 29, 2023 to January 1, 2024, and observed simultaneously at four other locations in the state – Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe and Agege. According to state government officials, it was part of activities conceived to herald the year, 2024, with over 25,000 participants who were thrilled with varieties of entertainment, including cultural performances. It was also used to market Lagos beaches and their tourism potentials, especially its rich beach fronts, to tourists and other fun lovers.  

Participants who joined the countdown event at the Eko Atlantic City venue were provided with a large viewing screen where the activities at the Sol Beach were transmitted live. This is in addition to a dedicated channel on DSTV that streamed the activities throughout the three days. This annual fiesta has over the years, provided entertainment for Lagosians in their various localities across the five divisions.

It is commendable that the fiesta has as one of its core objectives, the fostering of unity among different classes and groups of people in Lagos. It is also a timely response to the prevailing mood of uncertainty in the polity that resulted from the recent politics of bitterness that soured relationship among Lagosians. We advise that more concrete efforts be made to consolidate on this.