Residents of other states in Nigeria often gush at the landscape of Lagos upon visiting Lagos for the first time. To them, it is like a mini-America or London in Nigeria. Visitors to Lagos are not the only ones who often share this view of Lagos, some born and bred Lagosians do too. The island part of Lagos where development is more noticeable due to high-arcing skyscrapers, five-star hotels with a waterside view, good roads, serene environment, the multi-million dollar worth mansions and so on are often the factors they point to when they say Lagos is a modern city. But is it real or is it just hype?
Call Lagos a megacity and you won’t be questioned because that’s what it is. The number of people in Lagos alone makes up the entire population of some countries in the world. Lagos is even more populated than 5 African countries put together: Seychelles (97,000), Sao Tome & Principe (194,000), Cape Verde (525,000), Comoros (783,000) and Djibouti (961,000). The population of Lagos is currently estimated to be at 17.5 million.
It is indeed a megacity bustling with life and various hustling activities. But is Lagos a modern city? Viewing Lagos through the lens of cities in the world categorized as ‘modern’ may put things in better perspective for you. Here are the top 5 most modern cities in the world:
Hong Kong, China
Despite being one of the most populated cities in the world, Hong Kong maintains her position as one of the top financial sectors in the world. The city is famous for its scenic skyline and modern architecture that’s balanced by protected life-sustaining country parks. Public transportation here is also top-notch, encompassing the entire population with ease. There are trains, trams, ferries, and buses.
Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore is largely responsible for the first-class education system, business-friendly economy, strict laws on crime and modern architecture like glass skyscrapers that are present in Singapore today. Under his direction, city planners left spaces for many sustainable, green areas and parks found across Singapore today.
It’s been only 28 years since Estonia gained independence from Russia, the technological revolution was already underway. Yet, that didn’t stop them from jumping onto the technology scene and taking a huge bite. Skype, the giant video chatting app has its origin in Tallin and as at 2002, their government installed free WIFI network in the most populated regions of the country, Tallin included—e-voting is a norm here.
Tokyo is a full embodiment of all things modern. Any new technology you can think of exists in this city. You could bump into a robot while taking a stroll around the streets. The world’s tallest tower is also located here. Referred to as one of the most advanced cities in the entire universe, Tokyo boasts of smartphone technology, robotics, and automobiles. Their government invests in emerging startups made up of young brainiacs in a bid to keep up with modern trends.
Like other modern cities on this list, Helinski is famous for their technological advancement, modern architecture and social progress. They have free WIFI zones and a large number of world-class schools that include 8 universities—all within the city of Helsinki.
What characterizes these modern cities of the world? Good governance: strict law on crime for example; well-planned roads with space for sustaining green life that’s beneficial to the health of living beings; first-class education system; development of ultra-fast internet connection; free WIFI zones; innovative technologies built in the city rather than imported; quality and diverse public transportation (working railways that are largely interconnected between different areas of the city, ferries and trams). Do we have all of that in Lagos? You know the truth.
According to e-notes,
“a modern city is a city that is able to support a large population concentrated in a limited space…A well-functioning modern city should have a working local government and bureaucracy. Without this, the ability to make decisions based on the public good and to carry out these decisions will be hampered.”
Most of the moves made to develop Lagos city, aren’t they being stunted by corrupt governance? The large population of Lagos, are their standards of living fair enough? The truth is, it isn’t.
Compared to many other cities in Nigeria, Lagos can be seen as a modern city but placing it side by side modern cities around the world, you discover that Lagos still has a long way (or not so long, if the government sits up and focuses on doing the needful beginning with providing stable electricity) to go before it can lay unshakable claim to being a modern city.
Calling Lagos a modern city is just hyping it — let’s face it!