Challenges of living in big cities are numerous and cut across all age groups but for young people sometimes these issues might become overwhelming and threaten their well being or productivity. This spurred HEDA Resource Centre to hold the event tagged ‘ComeTalk : Young People and Challenges of Living in Big Cities’ recently at the Lagos Travel Inn, Ikeja, where young people from all walks of life were in attendance to share individual challenges, proffer solutions and effectively engage the powers that be.
The main issues focused on were TrafficPalava, RentPalava and FoodPalava. The session was divided into 3 panels with each taking up one palava. During the trafficpalava discussion, the Commissioner for transportation, Hon Kayode Opeifa, remarked that traffic jam in cities is a sign of prosperity. He went further to explain that because of the need people feel to always move around with their cars, traffic jams cannot be avoided except commuters are encouraged to use more of public transportation.
He explained that tricycles popularly known as ‘Marwa’ and ‘Okada’ are not sustainable which is why the Lagos state government is gradually phasing them out when one of the panelists a young man who is physically challenged complained about difficulties he faces when moving around. He however advised them on viable ways of commuting that won’t cost as much as taxis. He also expressed the intentions of the lagos state government to create a multi modal system of transportation.
Dr Muhis Banire speaking on the RentPalava panel shed more light on why the Lagos Rent Law can’t be effective. He stated that it will be impossible to control rent and that the law is just a guide to tenants and lawyers. Dr Bukola Adebayo, a policy analyst on said the only way government can hope to control rent is by creating competition in the market and instead of selling government properties off, they can insteadallow private investors manage such properties. He went further to say practicing a capitalist system won’t help instead a welfarist-capitalist system be used.
During the foodpalava panel discussion, an appeal was made to young people in the audience by Mrs Oyewole, a farmer who was on the panel to get involved in agriculture. Though it might appear to be a lot of work, she said there is a lot of money to be made in farming. A participant at the event suggested that young people might be interested in agriculture if some celebrities champion the cause. Mr Sulaimon Arigbabu, Executive Secretary HEDA, pointed out that Oxfam has a campaign along those lines presently. Oxfam GROW Campaign has the likes of Sound Sultan, Tuface and Lami as ambassadors for this project.
Other participants informed youths who are interested in agriculture that there are funds they could apply for if start up capital is the challenge.
By: Remi Serrano