Monday, December 21, 2009


Driven by the need to give back to the society, Nigerians, including celebrities, turn out en masse to give Mushin, a densely populated suburb of Lagos, a facelift.

Wande Coal, arguably Nigeria’s hottest R & B sensation at the moment, grew up in Mushin, a densely populated community in the heart of Lagos. But, unlike his bestselling album, Mushin 2 MoHits, Mushin has a general perception of environmental and infrastructural neglect that plays like a broken record.

But, on Saturday, December 12, 2009, the area was not only given a celebrity status, but also a facelift, on the back of a community project tagged the Mushin Makeover, a one-day exercise that involved painting of residential houses, schools, road side curbs and structures along seven strategic areas in Mushin - Agege Motor Road, Olateju, Olanibi/Ojekunle, Ladipo street, Isolo Road, Palm Avenue and Ogunmokun Road. According to the project initiator, Fela Durotoye, renowned motivational speaker and CEO of Visible Impact, it was a call from God to do something for the community; while emphasizing that MUSHIN represents a place for Making Unique Stars and Heroes In Nigeria. Thousands of volunteers from different walks of life, which included hundreds of professional painters and celebrities such as Ali Baba, Sound Sultan, Banky W, Djinee, TY Bello, Frank Edoho, joined hands with Durotoye and his team for an eight-hour non-stop work to paint the selected locations. “I hope our leaders can also do this in other parts. It would make the country better,” said Sukanmi Ajah, one of the volunteers who has lived in Mushin for over twenty years. The so called ‘area boys’, with a fearsome notoriety, were also on hand to volunteer their time and effort.

Abimbola Fashola, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, commended the initiative and noted that the state government is already working hard to continue making the positive changes in Lagos state as a whole. “If we are asking for change so we need to make that change by ourselves,” she said; as she kick-started the initiative with a symbolic stroke of paint on the entrance of the first house to be painted that day, picked because of its historical significance. Located on Agege Motor Road, it was built in 1960, the year of Nigeria’s independence. “We welcome what you people are doing and we really appreciate it,” said Mabel Modupe Amadasum, whose father built the house.

It also proved a good week of business for paint shops in the community who were patronized by many volunteers. “With the rate we are going, we should have used possibly five to ten thousand gallons of paints by the end of the day,” said Durotoye of material donations from individuals as well as corporate organizations such as Berger Paints, DN Meyer Paints, Stanbic IBTC Chartered Bank, Fidelity Bank. “If we had bought everything on our own, the total estimate may have been N61 million,” he noted.

Dulux (CAP Plc) donated 98 drums of Emulsion, 26 gallons of gloss, FREE. 300 drums of paint was bought from Berger Paints, which also supported by training twenty five unemployed Mushin youths and giving them certificates. Stanbic IBTC also paid N2, 500 to each painter - 30 painters on the first day, 100 painters for three days and 120 painters on Saturday. From figures made available by the Visible Impact team, more than two thousand volunteers (including celebrities) participated in the exercise; which saw over two hundred and ninety one houses painted.

“This shows that simple things like getting involved in the community can go a long way and that people can come together for a good cause,” says Okechukwu Okoro, a mechanical engineering graduate of Michigan State University, USA, who is currently undertaking the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. He, together with hundreds of other corps members from Mushin local government, participated in the exercise.

“It is just an iota of what can be done,” noted Kennis Saint-Brown, popular gospel music artiste; inferring that Mushin, as the most central part of Lagos, might just be a microcosm of Nigeria, needing not only a fresh coat of paint, but a pool of willing hands to give it a long, overdue facelift. For a tenant in one of the houses being painted, the project couldn’t have come at a better time. ‘There have been disagreements among tenants and landlords over renovation work before now,” he said. “This shows that change lies in us, if we don’t do it, nothing will be done,” noted Wale Salami, another volunteer painter.

For Durotoye, the project is a call for national action. “We are hoping that this particular project would kick off several other nation-building projects into action, we can’t solve all of Nigeria’s problems in one day. The whole essence of this project is to get individuals to believe that their contributions or effort can come into a bigger collective action to make a difference,” he said, while adding that there are plans to undertake such facelifts in other parts of the city in the near future. “Mushin is a catalyst,” he emphasized.

With eight hour non-stop efforts of a thousand plus volunteers, the Mushin Makeover project might have just started a ripple effect, not only a Lagos but across Nigeria.


No comments:

Post a Comment