By Rev. Fr. Kelvin Ugwu, MSP.
To buy a land or a property in banana island Lagos, you must have 500M naira and above. Linda Ikeji’s mansion in Banana Island is valued at 850M Naira. There are houses for 1Billion Naira there. Of recent, a six-bedroom detached house on 2,600 square meters of land, cost 5 billion naira.
Houses and land are expensive in banana island not because the sky or the sun there is different from the sky or the sun in Iyana Paja. Not also because the water flowing around this man-made island is different from the one at Ilaje or Makoko water side.
Banana Island is on a higher class, and maybe the highest for now. Even without been told, the island is meant to keep the “big people” of Lagos away from the ‘noisy poor people’s area.’
Consciously or unconsciously, in people’s minds, the island is synonymous to success. To announce that you are living in Banana Island is to announce that you are successful or like Psquare who are also living there will sing, that you now have a testimony because you have tasted money.
Our society has a beautiful ugly way of dividing everyone and placing them in their class.
Those in Lagos will understand this. When you meet someone for the first time, the first question that you will mostly be asked is “where are you living?” As if that is not enough, they will add, “Island or mainland?”
The answer you give, puts you in your class. It becomes even more interesting if you mention that you are living in Banana island or VGC. That changes everything!
This is why people will lie that they are living in Asokoro when they are actually staying in Mpape, or Ikoyi when they are staying in Ajegunle.
On the other hand, some of you reading this are living in an unventilated, noisy and wall cracking face-me-I-face-you one room in crowded Lagos with your wife and children. No electricity. No water. No toilet. But in your village, there is a spacious four bedroom flat uninhabited and left for termites.
What does it say to you? We all want to feel belong in what society defines as success.
You don’t have a house, but you have bought a fourth-hand tokumbo car that sleeps with your mechanic regularly but follows you to your home occasionally. The money you are spending on the car everyday can mold you blocks for a bungalow.
But no you won’t. Why?
Because people easily see cars as a mark of success. So for that, you want to toast that girl with it. You want to go to your town union meeting with it. You want to drive to your village with it with the stereo blasting. For what? Just to show them you are not a small boy. You have tasted money, you have a testimony. Mtchwwwww!
A lot of those in Banana island are just struggling to keep maintaining class. Their bills are usually higher. In 1 billion naira house, most still provide their electricity and security. Their children’s school fees can build a new standard school somewhere. They feel the pain. They know. But they have to keep the class by all means.
That is how the man in one room in Ikotun is struggling to maintain class before his village people. Since there is no electricity, everyone is using generator. The noise is terrible. He is restless. He is forced to buy a gen set too. He feels the pain. He spends his little income. Village people are demanding too. But he has to keep maintaining the class of being a Lagos big boy.
Who told you that you can’t be happy living in your village, or you can’t be happy having a simple small apartment? Keep allowing society to put pressure on you on what makes for happiness, you may soon pass on, and we will pray for you to rest in peace.