PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : January 6th, 2022
Facts on FESTAC Town and History of Its Infrastructural Decay
Its no longer news that FESTAC has become a show of it’s self owing to the activities of currupt public officials who have continuously made personal profits by delineating the towns infrastructure.
Evidently, Push News 24 International can confirm that all the strata of government are culpable from the Federal to the local government authorities as the instruments of office as used has been fingered as highly responsible for the environmental decadence.
It was originally called “Festival Town” or “Festac Village”. Now known as Festac town, it is a residential estate designed to house the participants of the Second World Festival of Black Arts and Culture of 1977 (Festac77). The first one took place in Dakar, Senegal in 1966. The town has 5,000 contemporary dwelling units and seven major avenues. The town, according to “Life in the Village,” Festival News, was designed in an efficient grid in order to accommodate upwards of 45,000 visitors as well as any Nigerian employees and officers working at the Festival. “The Nigerian government invested substantial sums of money and resources into building Festac Town, which sported state of the art electrical generators, police and fire stations, access to public transportation, supermarkets, banks, health centres, public restrooms, and postal services.”
The village, as Andrew Apter wrote in The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria (Chicago: University of Chicago), was therefore “intended to evoke the modern age and the promise of state-sponsored economic development fuelled by oil revenues. After the Festival, the Federal Government of Nigeria allocated the housing and landed properties to eventual winners who participated in a ballot. Initial regulations forbade such winners from renting and disposing-of the properties to third parties.
Festac town is, as civil engineers explained, built in a grid network consisting of seven major roads/boulevards or avenues from which minor roads extend. These avenues are identified by their numbers: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Avenues respectively. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th Avenues surround a portion of the town in what seems like an almost rectangular road network which are connected and accessible through each other. The 3rd and 5th avenues run parallel within the town. The 6th avenue is found in a portion of the town accessible through a bridge from the 1st Avenue. The town consists of cul-de-sacs or closes which are named in an alphabetical format.
Festac town is accessible from the Lagos-Badagry Expressway through three main gates that open into the 1st, 2nd and 7th avenues and are called the First, Second and Third gates respectively. The town is also accessible through the Festac Link Bridge
However, over the years experts as well as residents of the sprawling FESTAC Town have, according to a Thisday report, helplessly watched one of Nigeria’s housing estates decay in infrastructure and beauty. The situation was so bad that it attracted The Washington Post to do a story on it, entitled, “A Nigerian neighborhood symbolizes nation’s tumble toward crisis”
It wrote: “It was once a place so full of middle-class promise that locals called it Paradise Village or Little London, for its orderly grid of streets, palmy boulevards, parks, and new apartment buildings painted in pastel greens and blues. Lion statues marked one entrance to the suburban enclave on the bushy edges of Lagos, and an iron gate marked another.
“But the fragility of Africa’s most populous democracy is also evident in the daily grind of life in neighborhoods such as Festac, where residents have watched corrupt officials sell off public parks and buildings, basic services vanish and life otherwise erode into the sort of every-man-for-himself hustle that Nigerians fear will be their country’s undoing.”
So far the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) is still grappling to return FESTAC to up-to-date with the Mega City status which Lagos State is ATTAINING.
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