Growing up as a young boy around Ewu Titun area of Lagos State, I could hardly tell the children of the rich from those of the poor. 

Government primary school had children of top civil servants who sometimes go on holiday abroad only to return to the same school field where we played soccer and the same classrooms where we were taught the same thing. 

Those days are over as our people and by implication, the government throw everything away to the individualistic spirit that accompanies capitalism. 

Africa use to be a continent that was largely in tune with socialism. 

We cared for our brother's and sister's children as well as other members of our community.

The concept of nuclear family responsibility was hardly the thought pattern and children use to grow in a compound-like setting with cousins seeing each other as brothers and sisters. 

This is why many Africans still call their cousins "cousin brother" and "cousins sister" because of that deeper feeling that a cousin is a brother or a sister and not just a "cousin" in the white man's ideology. 

I cannot forget how my mother celebrated my cousin's trip abroad to get an education as though the boy was her very own.

I cannot forget how she made her home in Ladipo available for anyone who was not just blood relative, but friends of her children.

Before the white man came, there was not a single person that was homeless in all of Africa.  Even the mentally challenged had a place to return to. After going on a ‘missionless’ trip, most insane people often returned home to the warm embrace of their people and community. 

There was a time when the rich in the family took care of the indigent within the same family. It is the African way of life before capitalism, the mother of individualism, took the greater part of us as a people. 

Recently, at the home of Seun Kuti, friends gathered to listen to him share the story of his father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and his social theory of egalitarianism. We were regaled with tales of how homeless people will walk into Kalakuta Republic and become "citizens" in the place with equal rights as those who have been there earlier. 

They get clothed, and if known with a foreign name, given a local name by Fela himself and other members of KK as we use to call the place, will welcome new "citizens" with cloths and other gifts that will help them comfort themselves for free. 

Now wait!

If Fela could accept and take care of homeless people, why is government finding it difficult to do same with million times greater resources?

There was a time when communities gathered together to celebrate the achievement of one man as though it was the achievement of the entire people. 


Then gradually, for not selectively picking what is compliant with our very own way of life, we started to lose our core values through colonisation. 

We lost our culture, lost our religions and eventually our very pristine way of life to the propaganda machinery of colonialism and neo-colonialism, without the sense of purpose to commission a program do decolonise of anti-people programs of the west. 

Today, it is more important to many of our citizens to be able drive a G-WAGON whilst still having a niece or nephew who is out of school because of 10,000 unpaid school fees. 

Today, it appears very okay to wear True Religion jeans than to prepare for generations unborn. 

Today, a supposed government of the people, cannot comfortably resettle its own citizens who live in a community that is of interest. 

This is individualism at its apotheosis and we are fast becoming a people on the path to self -destruct. 

I remember the story of Tivoli Gardens in great island of Jamaica and how the eviction of poor masses led to the establishment of violent gangs that will later give birth to the shower posse group led by Jim Brown, the cocaine lord that first attempted to Kill Bob Marley and the subsequent violence that rocked Jamaica from the late 70's up on to the 90's. 

Why have we become so insensitive to the needs of our fellow citizens?

Why is the law, which is the non-compliant child of western thoughts and philosophy, more important than the survival of our very own people?

How can we consistently fail to grow the ability to resettle people and provide succour to the indigent in our society?

Why is it hard for governments elected at the various levels to envisage that it will always come to this embarrassing removal of a people and not plan for their resettlement and compensation, where necessary?

When it comes to governance what is the most important thing?

Isn't the number one thing the safety and security of lives and property?

Imagine the children growing in Tarkwa Bay who are experiencing this eviction today and how stone- hearted they will become in the future.

What kind of people do you think most of those kids will grow up into tomorrow based on the seeds that is being planted in them right now?

Let me guess. Armed robbers? Yahoo-Yahoo? Fake pastors? Ritual killers? Crude politicians? Drug dealers?

Of course some will become accountants, engineers and lawyers, no doubt. 

But you know what? They will not be different from ruthless criminals at the community or professional environment where they get to work. 

The images from Tarkwa Bay Island is reminiscent of successive governments’ failure to care for the indigent in the society and this is becoming too troubling for the eyes to see. 

Question really is when are we going to start watching out for each other as it is in the pristine social philosophy of our people? 

You may also like

Read Next