“If you have a problem with Lagos people, we have lands at Lekki”.

I heard a supposedly intelligent man made the above statement in defense of his right to aspire for whatever elective position he intends to. Such disgusting arrogance! Well, let’s get few things clear before I proceed.

Anyone counting himself among ‘Lagos people’ yet nursing a political ambition in Akwa Ibom is obviously suffering a severe identity crisis. The only Lagos people that we know are flexing muscles with Bola Tinubu, so, anyone coming back to Akwa Ibom to brag must be told that he is called, known and addressed as a ‘Lagos returnee’. It is pointless trying to veil that identity with a false self-aggrandizement.

Secondly, I understand that, as the chairman, Association of Lekki Land Owners, the said man also informed the person he was talking to that ‘they’ still have lands in Lekki. ‘Wow! How intelligent; a response’, he must have thought. Someone reportedly asked a simple question, which of course, is the same question on the minds of millions of Akwa Ibom people. “When will we have a homegrown politician as Governor in Akwa Ibom State?” Fully clothed in his regalia of arrogance and insensitivity, Mr. Lagos returnee thought showing off his wealth was the best response. In saner climes, the reprisal public uproar that would have greeted that stupid talk, would be such that the man himself will be convinced that it will be much easier for him to win an election in Lekki than get two votes in any election within Akwa Ibom.

Let’s put the issue of ‘returnees’ into two clear perspectives. First, you can take a returnee out of Lagos (or anywhere for that matter) and make him the governor of Akwa Ibom, but you can never take Lagos out of a returnee. At the end, we will only have a governor who will be governing the state from Lagos and only visit during important state events. Look around Akwa Ibom, there are no casinos where these folks with ‘Lagos state of mind’ can walk in every other night to burn as much money as they can then walk away feeling on top of the world. The 18-holes Ibom Golf course is best golf course in Africa, and golfers come to play at almost no cost. But a Lagos returnee will never thinksl the golf course is good enough for him, so he will prefer spending millions to play at Ikoyo Golf course.

The other common thing about Lagos returnees is they always come with their ready-made utopian ideas. Before now, it will take about 45 minutes and 1 hour to travel from Uyo to Mkpat Enin and Uyo to Ikot Abasi respectively. Today, it takes about 1:30 minutes or even more and well over 2hours to travel for Uyo to Mkpat Enin and Uyo to Ikot Abasi. That’s an open secret. But a returnee who just started being frequent in the state because of his political ambition, and probably who only comes around to chair big events will still be thinking that revamping ALSCON is the priority for Ikot Abasi. Tell a Lagos returnee that fixing the roads to Ikot Abasi (quality and durable with timely completion) is a more critical and urgent need of the people, he’ll tell you that whenever there is flood in Lekki, they use helicopters to access their houses.


There is an almost 12feets deep gully that has chopped into half of the road on the highway to Ikot Abasi. If no remedial work is done on that road, in no distant time, Ikot Abasi will be completely cut-off on that part. Of course, that will mean more pressure on the already broken roads in Mkpat Enin. When I recall how we woke up one morning to realize that IBB Way was completely impassable and all the pressure shifted to the adjourning streets like Esuene, Akpa Ubeh, etc, which are fast depreciating now, I genuinely fear for Ikot Abasi and Mkpat Enin because by the next election, a Lagos returnee will be coming with his own manifesto to build castles in the air.

The Lekki land owner is a clear example of how mean and arrogant the current crops of Lagos returnees are. As unfortunate as it is, it’s a good thing that he has showed Akwa Ibom people who he is truly, so there will be no contemplating on how he will turn out should he succeed in his ambition. The choice is now before the people. As for me and my household, we will stand with the one we will be able to call by name (even as ordinary citizens) and tell him or her about the challenges in Mkpat Enin.

Lagos returnee ko, Lekki land ni.

By Edidiong Udobia

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