Whoever says thuggery doesn’t pay has not paid close attention to the most illustrious area boy/agbero in the history of Lagos State: Mr. Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo.
The “area boys” phenomenon started as a child’s play during the military regime in Nigeria. It was a cognomen ascribed to a group of boys in the nooks and crannies of Lagos were not gainfully employed but eke out a living by levying illegal charges vide threat on others. They show up at events, construction sites, etc. These boys became emboldened and started introducing various forms of coercion. Prior to the euphemisation of street urchins as area boys, there was also a sister infamous group known as “agberos.” This set confined themselves to various commercial parks in the western part of the country. Their chief usefulness was to help commercial drivers in canvassing for passengers at a fee. This group later emerged as enforcers and served as armed wings of the various transport unions operating at parks. The unions eventually assimilated some of them along with area boys.
The foregoing brief-cum-undated historical summary and distinguishing of the aforementioned entities becomes necessary if we want to appraise how MC Oluomo emerged in Lagos. He was said to be a former area boy/agbero invited to head one of the parks in Oshodi. He was notorious and smart enough to eventually emerge as the most powerful agbero/area boy in the entire Oshodi. Interestingly, he has no known personally registered transportation outlet yet emerged as Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers in Lagos. Although a school dropout, he achieved cult status and became a celebrity. With his unfettered access to untaxed income and retinue of area boys/agberos, he is a go-to political asset during elections. Some have alleged that he played a role in the violent end to the October 2020 #EndSARS protest in Lagos.
MC Oluomo is now perhaps undoubtedly the richest illiterate in Lagos. He has also lately realised he’s a descendant of one of the ruling houses in Oshodi and, therefore, aspiring to be a king in Oshodi. Numerous music verses and tracks have been dedicated to him more than any politician, renowned scholar, athlete, philanthropist, industrialist, entrepreneur or professional in the history of our nation.
It won’t be surprising to learn that the volume of money being controlled by MC Oluomo daily is perhaps more than what any of the 776 constitutionally recognised local government areas in Nigeria earn daily. His daily take-home pay, if audited, should be higher than the monthly salary of the highest paid Vice Chancellor in any of our universities. Hate him or love him, he is more powerful on the streets of Lagos than the sitting governor.
On March 10, 2022, he was temporarily suspended by the national body of the NURTW after allegedly committing certain infractions. Hours later, he held a press conference and directed the governor to set up a park management system in order to avoid breakdown of law and order in Lagos. On April 7, 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu heeded the clarion call by this noble ambassador of Lagos, appointing him as the head of the Parks Management Committee hours after he was permanently removed from office by NURTW at the national level. Hakeem Odumosu, a retired and former Commissioner of Police in Lagos (who attained the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police at the tail end of retirement) is to serve as the Liaison Officer between MC Oluomo and the Lagos State Government. We can’t forget how Odumosu superintend the violent crackdown on protesters during the one year anniversary of #EndSARS. Connect the dots if you can.
MC Oluomo has boasted severally that he is the son of Governor Emeritus of Lagos, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and therefore untouchable. In a state where a retired high court judge has to go to court for his retirement benefits, MC Oluomo exemplifies our collective conscience and value system as a nation.
- Olayinka Akinwole Esq, a Legal Practitioner, writes from Sango-Ota in Ogun State; he is the current Assistant Secretary of Nigeria Bar Association Ota Branch
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