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The Landlord’s Problem

Atoke

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When my friends came to visit last Christmas, one of the things they commented on was how nice and warm it was inside my house.  After taking temporary glory in the compliment, I told them that the warmth was thanks to my Nigerian housemate.

You see, the heating in our house is regulated to come on at certain hours of the day; work for 4 hours and then go off.  This helps to conserve energy, and since we’re not home at all times of the day, it makes no sense to leave it running anyway. As winter approached, I started noticing that the heating was always on; but I didn’t really pay attention to it. If my room got unbearably stuffy I’d just open the windows.

Then, one day I was in the kitchen making my struggle Indomie noodles and my housemate, (let’s call him Obi) came in. Obi wanted to know if I was the one who always turned OFF the heating. I replied that I hadn’t gone near the boiler, nor adjusted the setting. He said “I need to find out who is always turning that thing off. I pay bills and so I should be able to leave the heating on every time I need it. It’s too cold”.

After he left, I pondered over his words. We pay an all-inclusive estimated bill every month; he was right about that. However, I am aware that the energy and gas rates go up during the winter; and even if we paid 50 quid for bills every month, did that justify using the resources in that way?

It made me think about the mindset that brings such words to life. If he lived in his own house, where he was paying the bills as they came in, would he leave the heating on for 24 hours? His justification for running the heating didn’t make any sense to me. I wondered if I would leave the tap running for 4 hours just because I paid water bills. It didn’t seem very logical, or even considerate. To him, any excesses incurred by him was the landlord’s problem.

This attitude is very prevalent amongst us as Nigerians. It is the mindset that this thing is someone else’s problem and not mine. It is the landlord’s problem and not mine. It is for this reason that you go to some people’s houses and their kitchen cabinet is basically falling over and they would  not fix it. “Shebi, I pay rent. It is the landlord’s problem“. So, people live in houses where the paint has peeled off so bad and the house looks so ugly, yet they will not call a painter to get it fixed. They would rather jet around the world on holiday and live in a nasty looking house, because it is not their responsibility to paint the house. I wonder if it doesn’t bother them since they can actually make the effort and get it done.

Someone once said that it is the landlord’s responsibility to do certain things, and if he doesn’t do it, then they can’t. Imagine leaving something as clearing out the gutter outside your house to the landlord because you pay the landlord to do it. If the landlord doesn’t live there, surely you realize that the gutter only poses a health hazard to one person – YOU. Is it completely incomprehensible that you fix the problem and then ask for a refund? Does the fear of not getting a refund outweigh the damage done?

I believe that this attitude is prevalent because we are inherently selfish; and before you raise an argument about how you’re justified for not fixing that leaking roof, let’s talk about the mindset in a bigger framework. This attitude of “It’s Not My Responsibility” is the reason why we go to some offices and nothing works. Why? The person who is supposed to stamp doesn’t think it his responsibility to fill the stamp pad with ink. Heck, he doesn’t even think that bringing the rubber stamp out of the cupboard is his job. It is the office assistant’s job, not his.

We all say we want Nigeria to be a better place, but how much are we really doing to make it a better place? If you cannot fix the leaking pipe outside your house with your own money, or even mobilize neighbours to pool resources to fix the leak, why do you believe the local government chairman will fix the eroding road that emanates from the burst pipe? Surely, that local government chairman used to live on your street, and he is just like you. He is in the office, doing what he would normally do. Not quite different from what you’re doing. He would not fix the pipe or road. He would linger in the office, take the path of least resistance and tell the constituency that he is not doing it because the road is right there – on the edge of federal jurisdiction. Therefore, the road will not be fixed, because it is not his responsibility. It is the “landlord’s” problem.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many nasty roads within Lekki phase 1? Yes, Lekki 1… with all the fancy houses, upscale rents and fancy cars… The roads are bad because nobody thinks it is their responsibility to fix it. “We’re all paying tax. Why should we spare a few millions that we can spend on 40th birthday on the road?” *InObi’sVoice* If we do an LIRS check, will we really find that you have paid your taxes up to date though?

The truth is, Nigeria is bad; but it is bad because we are ALL bad. We really need to fix our mindset, become less self-absorbed (and I’m talking to myself too…because, even I ran away from NEPA and heat rash).

It doesn’t matter that you think that you will be billed for what you did not use anyway, and as such you should use resources available to a lot of people in a manner that is not sustainable. The minute you do that, you’re really no better than the guys in power who are not using the federal resources judiciously.

They’re emptying the national purse the same way Obi is running the heating in our house. Why? Because they feel the oil will never run dry. Their people have paid for it with sorrow, tears and blood – so they should deplete, deplete and deplete.

I think we can do better. We really can. Change can only come when we look inwards and see ourselves for what we truly are.

Let’s fix up!

Photo Credit: monica73.blogg.no

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

41 Comments

  1. me2

    January 15, 2014 at 10:47 am

    true… we all should stop being egocentric.. we will also become home owners someday… it all starts from each and everyone of us. life is too short for one to be selfish and carefree… #myopinion

  2. just saying

    January 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

    U make a lot of sense but in regards to the roads, you are wrong
    Many residents have tried to fix up their roads, but the government doesn’t allow them.

    • Berry Dakara

      January 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      True that!

      And to Atoke, I applaud this article! The reason why so many new, shiny buildings and other things go to ruin in Nigeria, is because there is no maintenance culture. Every man is for himself, and they will refuse to do anything that seems to helping someone else.

      However, there are instances where it IS the landlord’s problem and he/she should be forced to fix the issue or compensate you for fixing HIS problem. In my last residence, all the keyholes went bad, there was a leaking roof which my aunt/uncle paid many times to try and fix, the ceiling was practically falling on us (yes, actual bits of ceiling on my bed when I woke up sometimes), only 1 bathroom faucet was working in a 4-bathroom house, amongst other things. My guardians did what they could, but how much money would they be compensated after spending what could run into millions and millions of naira?

      So, yes, I do agree with you that citizens need to come together and fix some things, but landlords and governments should do their parts too!

      berrydakara.blogspot.com

  3. nnenna

    January 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

    motivation 101. dis is the best article i have ever read. my dad owns a house and its rather alarming how some tenants leave the compound dirty even if my dad doesnt stay there. their toilets nko? nd funny enough some of them are building elsewhere. the change in nigeria starts with me and you. let me not start with d office jds.

  4. Uncle Tee

    January 15, 2014 at 11:11 am

    The root problem in this country does not rest on our leaders alone but even the “common man” cannot be held accountable for the least things

  5. lila

    January 15, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Atoke..thank you for this post.I’ve always said it that Nigerians are the cause of their own problems.we complain about the government being bad yet we dont even chip in to do our own civic duty.A clear example is Sanitation day…why must we be forced to clean our environment??i mean that has baffled me for many years;somebody must FORCE you to clean your house( are you a sewer rat/pig/warthog/anyother animal that enjoying basking in dirt)
    i live in a shared building and the fights are endless. it seems most people believe once they pay rent,they are not required to do anything EVER AGAIN.our sewage tank got filled and we had to write letter upon letter to beg people to donate 1500 ONLY to clear it.in the end my flat had to pay for it all.the whole building was looking shabby and we suggested we paint it;no response.it was until Fashola painted it and then struck us ALL with the bill, that was when people coughed out the money…
    It’s until people quit being selfish and get rid of that “its not my business” mentailty before our soceity can progress

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      January 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Wait, Fashola paints private residences in Lagos? And sticks residents with the bill as part of his city facelift program?? That sounds inspired, I still don’t understand why the efforts of this man are not being allowed to impact other parts of Nigeria…

  6. lila

    January 15, 2014 at 11:13 am

    *society *mentality..sorry for the typos

  7. Debo

    January 15, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I think her article/story has 1 or 2 good points, however :

    Talking as someone who is currently experience one heck of a winter, lord knows I will slap the whatcanfa out of anyone who tries to turn off my boiler at any time of the day. He IS paying bills and he did say he wanted to be able to use it anytime he NEEDS to. I couldn’t agree more.

    The second issue is that this type of advice is actually what is breeding the current generation of landlords who take absolutely no responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of their properties but will NEVER forget to turn up on the day to collect rent.

    In most countries, being a landlord is a taxable business with heavily documented and enforced landlord & tenant laws. As a landlord, you are expected to maintain on a weekly basis and employ contractors for as necessary. That’s part of what the rent is supposed to go towards. By shifting the blame to the tenants, you are saying “Never mind the fact that you pay a huge chunk of your meagre salary for rent, you should further spend what you have left on fixing the guttering, roofing and painting with no expectation of compensation back from the landlord”

    And where does this get us? A country full of property owners with an exponentially decreasing concern for property maintenance or any sort of accountability. After all, the tenant who has already paid for a fully maintained and livable accomodation, will fix it.

    I am not saying people shouldn’t join hands and participate in say, sanitation and neighbourhood watch. However deflecting responsibility from those who should be responsible to those affected by it, will not make this country great either.

    The habit that Nigerians really need to curb, is accepting the status quo and “leaving it to God”. Landlord not doing his job? Challenge it legally. It’ll be cheaper than fixing that leaky roof.

    And although I use the landlord scenario as an example, really, this applies to many aspects of society in Nigeria.

    • Aminat

      January 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you very much Debo.

    • Energybill

      January 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      You just saved me from typing out an epistle. In Nigeria where no one can be held responsible or accountable for anything, Naija landlords will gladly shirk all their responsibilities. General everyday cleanliness, bulb fixing and the likes tenants responsibility but maintenance and renovation landlord’s call. That is what your rent and service charge is for, unless otherwise stated in your rental contract.

      @ Asup some rents in London are inclusive of all bills including broadband. Particularly if it is a shared house or flat. (They usually say subject to fair reasonable usage though)

    • Jane Public

      January 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      As per your second paragrapgh. Just because the landlord has estimated the bill doens’t mean he/she has room for your excesses. Trust me, we don’t. If we did, the room will become unaffordable. So, that rent you are paying bills inlcusive is estimated BASED ON AVERAGE USAGE. I feel I have to point that out and correct the assumption of, “I have paid, I can use what I like. If the Landlord estimated with that reasoning, you won’t be able to afford that rent, so you only paid for average usage. Unlimited Wifi is more expensive than Wifi with download restrictions. I hope that analogy explains things.

  8. Theresa

    January 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Well written Atoke, very brilliant and insightful piece! Our problem in this country is not our leaders, but each of us. If Nigerians will start taking responsibility and doing the right things, then Nigeria will be great.

  9. Asup

    January 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I see where you are coming from, but I have to disagree with you. You comparing a country like Nigeria, which let’s face it almost nothing works as it should, to a Western country. In the UK it is the Landlord’s responsibility to make sure that he makes his property suitable for the Tenant to live in. If the Boiler was working for instance, the Landlord needs to be notified. That is if he does not have it covered with insurance. When I still lived as a Tenant maintaining the Apartment was the responsibility of the Landlord. The Tenant’s responsibility is to make sure the rent is paid and you take care of what the Landlord has out in place for you have in the Flat. Absolutely no one I knew back then or even now, would spend their own money to maintain a property which is not theirs. If the Landlord foolishly refuses to do his part, then the Citizens Advice Bureau and the City Council come in very very handy.
    When everyone is trying to save enough to buy their own property why would you now spend your own money to maintain someone else’s property.

    On a side note, I would like to know which country or city you were living in where the Landlord had any sort of part to play in the payment of the energy Bill. I do not understand why the Landlord would care whether you leave the Heating on the whole day. As long as you pay your rent, if you like no pay your other Bills, na your name dey for their System, not your Landlord’s own.

    The fixing Nigeria with your own money is something you could kick start if you want. Yes, it is a shame that even after paying taxes, our so called Leaders are not providing us with the basic necessities. But let’s be real here, using your own money to fix something like roads in Lekki, would send a message to that you have resigned to the fact and are ok with Government doing nada!
    Btw, is it not you Lagosians who are constantly praising Fashola for what he has done? I thought the lastest phrase was ‘Fashola for President’ 🙂

    • Aminat

      January 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you Asup. I actually find comparing a tenant who has paid his rent but has refused to paint his Landlord’s house to a local government chairman who has pocketed money allocated for development to be completely out of place. There’s no comparison to be made there.

  10. cissy

    January 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I totally agree, we are not a nation that maintain our property or enviroment. Looking at the state of some of the properties in nigeria we need to do more to preserve our country.

  11. Asup

    January 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Abeg excuse the double Post and Typos….Btw, BN why do I keep getting an error message EACH I try to post. This just started recently.

  12. Suki

    January 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

    True talk!

  13. Lizzy

    January 15, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Great write-up. Thinking of all the money I spent on my rented apartment, and what I can take with me when I eventually leave, *sigh not easy at all. I remember telling the painter to buy random paint and mix and bla bla cos it is not my place only for him to say ” it’s where your head lays that is important” (direct yoruba translation). And that was it for me. I love my place now!

  14. missy

    January 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I agree with most of Atoke’s statements with exception of the roads issue. Oftentimes Home owners ARE willing to fix the roads, however they are prevented from doing so by the government without paying them a bribe, which is absolutely ridiculous! I know SEVERAL people who do not mind pay out of their pocket to tarr their roads but were asked to pay a bribe to be permitted to do so??? I think not.

    • missy

      January 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      paying*

    • Newbie

      January 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      This is ridiculous though – unles it’s a private road, what business do private invidviduals have fixing roads? Who will perform the quality control – how do we know they are not using sub-standard materials and half-baked professionals that will end up creating a bigger safety hazard for the general public? Just imagine the kind of situation we could end up with if every tom dick and harry hired their own contractors to fix their own roads…what chaos we could end up with! And don’t even get me started on boreholes. The other day I read a ThisDay article where the ‘FG Raised Concern Over Indiscriminate Boreholes amid fears for the environment’ and I wanted to say tonda fire una! If you provided a steady water supply wetin for concern people with boreholes? It is the unfortunate nigerian attitude of not pushing back that allows our leaders believe they can be lax about collecting taxes, pocket the little they collect and leave it to the masses to work out their own basic infrastructural amenities. Electricity, Water, Roads, Healthcare, Security…..tell me which of these you can truly rely on the government for.

      That said, it is reasonable to expect anyone- landlord or tenant to keep the surroundings of where they live clean. Clearing gutters, mowing lawns, trimming hedges, clearing out rubbish, etc. At the end of the day as a tenant, your own is to keep to the terms of your tenancy and such responsibilities are always spelt out clearly in the agreement. If you think it’s too much for you to do, then don’t rent the place in the first instance.

  15. Tobe

    January 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Lets go back with your story…about heating and Obi. I don’t agree with you on that one…Been a Nigerian means you come from a tropical environment and any temperature below 23 Celsius is cold…so, that’s what I am used to…of course, if I am going out of the house…I can turn it off…but as far as I am in the house and I paid a standard cost regardless of what I use per month, then you are damn right…the heating remains on cos it serves a purpose and I paid for it…about the landlord business, Of course…it is His business…I walked up to my Landlord one day to ask if he could revert back to a billing system where I pay for what I use…he said no…that a standard fee helps him better cos he worries less about collecting money from rent, light, water, garbage…he collects it all at once! Greedy Caucasian British…i thought to myself…its ‘convenient” for you but not for me.. worthy to note, I only sleep at home at night…and go out most weekend…too much to pay for his convenience!

    About your analogy of leaving the tap running without use…that is correct. I don’t take a bath every minute of the day so I can turn it off but to correlate it with heating…no..no…my friend…heating does the job and it is paid for…i get cold most times…Why should I be told how to use my heating when I actually paid for it?

    • Jane Public

      January 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Just because the landlord has estimated the bill doens’t mean he/she has room for your excesses. trust me, we don’t. if we did, the room will become unaffordable. So, that rent you are paying bills inlcusive is estimated BASED ON AVERAGE USAGE. I feel I have to point that out and correct the assumption of, i have paid, I can use what I like. if the Landlord estimated that, you won’t be able to afford that rent, so you only paid for average usage. Unlimited Wifi is more expensive than Wifi with restrictions. I hope that analogy explains things.

    • Asup

      January 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      You do have a point, but not all cases are the same and your reply in this case, really does not add up. Looks like you’re just copying n pasting. We now understand that the rent Tobe is paying bills inclusive is estimated BASED ON AVERAGE USAGE. Tobe has offered to pay the Landlord for what he uses, but the Landlord has refused. This is because he does not want to be inconvenienced. So what do you advise Tobe to do? Freeze to death?

      @Energybill: Thanks for the explanation. Due to lack of suitable, affordable accommodation in London, I’ve heard of the Council offering Loans to Tenants to renovate houses which the Landlords either refuse to renovate or cannot afford to renovate. My friend along with other Tenants has to do the running around to get it all sorted. I was quite surprised when I heard about that. Why would I be stressing myself for another person’s property? Sounds to me like either the Landlords are just too selfish or are getting too ambitious by buying properties they cannot maintain.

    • Jane Public

      January 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Tobe’s case is different because he offered to pay what he uses, but that argument covers the people who say i can use what i like because i have paid. if you leave thsoe people to only pay for what they use, and pay their rent separate, they will think differently.

  16. lala

    January 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I just read this out to a friend who says by choosing to repair your roads yourself is not a way of making nigeria better. What happens to the money allocated by the govt for road repairs? We know its already being embezzelled, but by taking their responsibilities on your head, are you not encouraging corruption further as they chop the money away, afterall the road as being fixed by mr I too know!

    I kinda agree with her, but what then is the way forward? How about roads in mushin or ajegunle where people cant afford to fix their road to better nigeria? I think its wrong to accuse the rich of not fixing their roads, bottom line, there r bad roads all over lagos that needs fixing by people whos responsibility it is to fix them! The government. I doubt even bill gates will fix his bad road, first of, he needs permission to do so as its government property.

    • Aminat

      January 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you Lala. Lolll @ Mr I Too Know

  17. mama

    January 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    WAIT TOKE HAVE U RELOCATED???? WOW.

  18. Neo

    January 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I agree, with the exception of provision of basic infrastructure. If Lekki road is bad the government should fix it, whether or not the residents there sneeze into 100 dollar bill notes. it is not as if they fixed the road and residents are taking pickforks to it daily, they use shoddy contractors and poor materials and leave the roads with a lifespan of a few months.

    Our reality is that we live in a society where we need to be self sufficient, if u need light buy a generator, u need water sink a borehole, u need protection, import one mallam with bow and arrow to sit at your gate. Admittedly doing all of this leaves one exhausted. So if the government wont fix the roads, i won’t cry too much into my 100 dolar bill, i’ll simply buy an SUV because sadly that is our situation and we have to live with it. Will we slowly get to an age where we are doing the work of the government just to make ourselves comfortable. oh, wait a minute we are already there.

  19. Omotè

    January 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Great piece! My husband and I often argue about things like this. We live in an estate (great looking on the outside but everything is falling apart on the inside) and the landlord just painted this christmas, we were all happy thinking he was going to at least tackle the myriad of problems, for where? I’m sure that is the last of him we will see till it’s rent time again.
    After paying an outrageous amount as house rent and then a stipulated sum every month for maintenance one would think you wouldn’t have to worry too much as long as you changed the burnt out light bulbs in your flat but no, everyday if it’s not the pumping machine, it’s the underground sewage tank or there is no diesel in the generator. These things have been paid for. Why do we have to rally round and contribute again just to get it fixed???? If these things were in place, come christmas time I would be buying him a bottle of wine and a christmas card instead of cursing him under my breath when I greet him.
    With this kind of experience it’s hard to find a Nigerian who wouldn’t want to pull off tap heads, root out tiles and if possible sef remove the kitchen sink when leaving cause you replaced them and the landlord refused to give you a refund.

  20. anonymous

    January 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    where do i start from now…i live in Magodo where rent is nowhere near cheap!! yet, some so called officials would harass us for money to build roads..YES i have a problem with that…1. it is not my property, we paid 150 last year for road and now they are asking for 250k again…in as much its a lofty idea..they go about it in a very brutal way, harassing us on our way to work. why would i pay for a road that will only increase the value of the house owner and yet he puts nothing???? pathetic!!

  21. Jane Public

    January 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I will only make a comment on the bills part from the perspective of somene who is a live in Landlady. I used to just let such behaviours slide when I hear friends say it, without correcting them, but when I became a property owner who is also renting out 2 rooms in her house, I knew the real deal. Yes you estimate the rent based on the going rate of the area, and let me tell you, live in Landlords are not making any profit. You are not helping them to pay the mortgage as much as you think because if they alone were living in the house, they will be paying less overall. If you charge more than the going rate to cover excessive bill usage, your room will be empty, so every landlord has a kind of unspoken agreement and we get on with it. It is the Landlords that rent out whole properties and leave you to sort out the bills that are actually raking in the cash. You just wait until you can afford to rent lets say a 2bed flat on your own, then you will know the score. I did that before I bought my house and during snowmaggedon of last year, I found myself wearing wooly stockings, terry cloth robes and drinking lots of tea. No, I am not poor, I earn 6 figures a year but at that time I was saving for a mortgage in an expensive area and every penny counted.
    When I rented out my rooms at first, one of my tenants was Nigerian and he gave me serious attitude with this. It was even sad that he used to live on his own, so he knows how bills are, he moved to my area and he couldn’t afford to rent on his own, so he was house sharing. What he would not do when he was renting alone, it was now okay when someone else was responsible. Lets just say we parted ways and I swore never again. When I was a student house sharing, we were all mindful of the bills, and I carried that mentality on, even though I am Nigerian. I have gone to houses of friends and see how they leave the tap running, one of them actually leaves the shower running for ages till the bathroom steams before stepping in. Leave the lights on all day, leave the heating on till you can bake bread in their rooms, and when you accuse them of wastage, they say ehn, sheybi I am paying bills inlcusive rent, it is the Landlord’s headache.
    You will find that those who think like this hardly make any progress towards owning their own homes. They carry this what I call “tenant curse” around from place to place. If you want to aspire to own your own home, preferrably in the standard you are renting or even aim higher, you will treat the Landlord how you will want to be treated when you own your own home. We think oh this mentlaity is just limited to being a tenant, but as Atoke said, you will carry this behaviour everywhere, and wonder why your lot is not as great as other people. You want to be a Lanlord one day, now is the time to think and act like one, so the heavens will smile on you to become one.

    • erica

      January 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      I completely agree with you. I have a property here and I live with my siblings. I complained all the time because they live the heater all day long. During summer, they put on the airconditioning through out the night. I was like, I need to buy fans for the rooms. They said heat is too much and they make the house like winter during summer. During winter, the house is like summer. When I started getting ridiculous bills, I just called my parents and let them know that very soon, if they don’t caution them, I will sell the house and everyone just lives on their own…shikena.
      One of my friends, a Nigerian was such a good tenant to her landlady. She never wasted water, electricity and all, and paid all her bills on time. When she was moving out, landlady was crying oh, because to find a good tenant isn’t easy.

  22. yeni

    January 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    nice article with nice points

  23. Berry Dakara

    January 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    True that!

    And to Atoke, I applaud this article! The reason why so many new, shiny buildings and other things go to ruin in Nigeria, is because there is no maintenance culture. Every man is for himself, and they will refuse to do anything that seems to helping someone else.

    However, there are instances where it IS the landlord’s problem and he/she should be forced to fix the issue or compensate you for fixing HIS problem. In my last residence, all the keyholes went bad, there was a leaking roof which my aunt/uncle paid many times to try and fix, the ceiling was practically falling on us (yes, actual bits of ceiling on my bed when I woke up sometimes), only 1 bathroom faucet was working in a 4-bathroom house, amongst other things. My guardians did what they could, but how much money would they be compensated after spending what could run into millions and millions of naira?

    So, yes, I do agree with you that citizens need to come together and fix some things, but landlords and governments should do their parts too!

    http://berrydakara.blogspot.com

  24. O'Kel

    January 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you Neo, I was just going to point out to Atoke that here in Nigeria, we are already responsible for EVERYTHING we need to get by per day. Water? We drill our own boreholes. Electricity? The noise at night from generators of different sizes all competing for dominance is testament to how far we would go to see the light bulbs come on at night in our homes and to preserve our food, of cos this may not mean much to someone living outside the shores of motherland. Roads? Haven’t you heard of contributions going the rounds in certain locations for the working of their roads? Security? You must not have heard the terms ‘gateman’, ‘maiguard’. Need I go on?
    However, that is not to say that you haven’t made some valid points in your write-up. I agree that we need to stop buck-shifting and do the bits we can, i.e. stop littering our dear environment, stop vandalizing pipelines and infrastructure cos guess what, na we dey suffer am pass!
    All in all, everyone that has a part to play in the development of our dear darling country should just do it and stop looking for who’d cover his/her a..e jare!
    I gotta get back to work man!

    • Newbie

      January 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Another mind reader! Your comment is spookily similar to mine above 🙂

  25. tatafo!

    January 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I used to think this way until my landlady showed us pepper. We the neighbors pooled resources together and fixed things that broke down in the compound. I myself have personally swept the gutters clean when the woman that we pay to sweep the gutters quit until we found a replacement.

    But this year, my dearest landlady sent a letter to us doubling the rent! In as much as I agree that our hands off mentality is crippling our nation, there is a saying that the left hand needs the right hand to wash itself completely clean.

  26. wow

    January 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    i guess the moral of this story is that charity should begin at home and we should take responsibility for the little things around us. let me tell you guys of the story of my 25year old cousin. very wealthy dad and step mother . once i was in the children’s living room and the TV remote wasnt working, she tells me the battery is bad and its been bad for a while, i asked her why she hadnt replaced it seeing as she was the oldest child in the house, she replies and i quote ” why would i spend my money on anything in this house? let daddy or his wife go and buy it, i can never use my money to replace anything in this house o.” and yes she was dead serious. thats the Naija mentality!

  27. larz

    January 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Nigerians are good at building than at maintaining. Not many ppl (home owners or landlords, govt) sets aside money to redecorate or refurb their properties every so often.
    Until we realise that sometimes, there is much more value in improving and in maintaining than in creating, we will never be as efficient as we can / shud be.

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