I loved living in Ikoyi as a child. Growing up in the leafy suburbs of Glover Road under the sponsorship of the Federal Government of Nigeria (Judiciary arm) gave humble civil servants an opportunity to live in what was a good quality decent, clean, environmentally safe and convenient family oriented and yet not necessarily affluent neighbourhood. As a young girl, I’d make my hair (shuku or threading just under a tree by the corner of 2nd Avenue or Club road police barracks Ikoyi.
We would sneak to Ikoyi club as teenagers after home lessons, stroll under the tree lined Lugard Avenue and Cameroun roads to our friends homes, whose parents were mostly civil servants. Some lived in apartments like Mulliner Towers, others 1004 and similar blocks. Most however like our family lived on half to full acre plots usually with a main house of at least 4/5 bedrooms, a 2/3bedroom chalet and multiple boys quarters as we called them then. In our case, the house had to be extended to accommodate the almost family of 20- Father, mothers and children (not counting cousins or domestics – our next door neighbours had almost the same size of family too- so much fun growing up almost as a village in Ikoyi )… And there was lots of grounds enough to park numerous cars even though we had only 2 cars if I recall (odd number and even number as per Lagos law then where you could drive odd number cars on certain days as a way to reduce traffic).
Now, I look at Ikoyi and shrug. I recall, Corona, Federal Home Science school, I recall Ikoyi club suya too- and the Ikoyi hotel comic book shop. I recall great roads. Taken for granted.
The new Ikoyi is different in many respects. Many barely motor-able roads. Forget jogging safely. Heard of a few affluent victims of accidents while jogging. Never mind the security threat or the double lane high streets now in the middle of million dollar residential villas and luxury apartments.
Sometimes I wonder, is it possible for a place to lose its glory? Or as a real estate enthusiast, a better question would be, what gives a place its glory? What makes one location considered prime and qualify for the adage- so reverently pronounced – Location. Location. Location!
Is it the people who live there? Is it the infrastructure? Community? History? Future plans?
What makes a location desirable?
Join me on a journey in August as I explore neighbourhoods and interesting perspectives about real estate, and lifestyle.
PS. Opinion is mine and does not reflect Fine and Country’s official position.
…Culled from the CEO of Fine and Country – Udo Okonjo
FEW FACTS ON IKOYI, LAGOS
Ikoyi is located at the edge of the Lagos Lagoon and known as the most affluent neighborhood of Lagos, It lies in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, northeast of Obalende and covers the newer suburbs of Banana Island, Parkview and Dolphin Estate. Popular with the upper class residents of Nigeria, Ikoyi is arguably the wealthiest community within Lagos State.
During the colonial era, the island was developed as a residential cantonment for the expatriate British community and still retains many of the large colonial residences built between 1900 and 1950. However, upmarket residential properties continued to be built after the colonial period, and the Island and its Dodan Barracks became the residence of some of Nigeria’s military rulers. Ikoyi now contains many other government buildings as well as the famous Ikoyi Club 1938 and Ikoyi Golf Club.
One of the main attractions in Ikoyi is Awolowo Road, which is a high street lined with upscale shops and boutiques. Due to its proximity to Victoria Island and Lagos Island, much of Lagos’s business tourism is centred on Ikoyi, which has a mix of excellent 5-star hotels such as The Southern Sun which feature modern facilities and conveniences.
Ikoyi Club A product of two clubs, the European Club and The Lagos Golf Club, Ikoyi Club is a popular high profile venue in the neighbourhood where sporting events that can be enjoyed such as Swimming, Lawn Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Table Tennis and Billiards/Snooker.
Other major landmarks and attractions around Ikoyi include: the Freedom Park, Muson center, various shopping malls, children play centres, religious centres. Ikoyi has some of the most opulent residential facilities in Nigeria, and is thought to have the most expensive real estate on the entire African continent.