Third day into the New Year, it is a slow gradual start to the hustle and bustle the city of Lagos is known for.
Workers in state’s civil service resumed work on Wednesday as businesses opened shop after the Christmas and New Year festive season, but the nation’s commercial nerve-centre is yet to come alive.
At the Lagos State Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, it was observed there was a lull in activities, as many civil servants appeared not to have reported yet for duty.
In some of the ministries, agencies and parastatals visited, the offices were still under lock and key, while in some others that were opened, only a few workers were seen at their desks.
Besides government offices, many business owners were yet to open shop. Busy trading centres like the electronics and clothing market on Lagos Island, vehicle spare parts market at Ladipo-Mushin and general purpose markets at Alaba, Okokomaiko and Trade Fair Complex, were a shadow of its usual self yesterday, as most of the shops remained locked.
Also noticeably absent is the traffic gridlock that lines many parts of the state, especially the days leading to Christmas and on new year eve. The roads were free, bus stops nearly empty while a few recreation centres were packed full with fun-seeking revelers.
Crisscrossing the Agege-Pen Cinema chaotic junction via Ikeja was a smooth ride. The present situation is a blessing to commuters who are always at the mercy of commercial transporters.
Adenekan Edun, a civil servant, attributed the calm-like situation to some Lagosians who travelled for the new year holiday and were yet to return.
“Many people travelled for Christmas and New Year holidays and are yet to be back. Also, some companies do what we call ‘work-down’, meaning that they are on a two weeks holiday from before Christmas, while others offer skeletal services and don’t have the full complement of their staff.”
Some traders in Oshodi have lamented the low patronage ahead of the yuletide, which has made their new year celebrations a not-too-merry affair.. they blamed the poor celebration of New Year on the low revenue from sales, though they are optimistic of recovering from the loss when commercial activities resume fully.
But while Lagos is yet to get into its groove, there are apprehension over a not-too-pleasant start to the new year for citizens. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it would embark on a nationwide mobilisation of Nigerian workers to protest against the Federal Government’s delay in transmitting, enacting and implementing a new national minimum wage of N30,000 on January 8.
Also, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has issued a noticed to all its structures and organs to commence mobilization for mass action on January 7, against the Federal Government. This was contained in a statement signed by the association’s president, Danielson Akpan, at the weekend.