If you are a proper Lagosian, not a migrant living in Lagos; born and buttered here, thorough bred as they say, something other than you lives in you. Yes,you read that right.You are an involuntary host. Call it what you will: Spirit, Soul or Essence of Lagos, something apart from “insert your name here” goes about with you in that vessel you call body. Let me explain.
Remember that time you travelled out of town and it felt strange not to find a Mallam on the street corner when you needed to snack at night. You then had to walk to a store a long way off where the overly nice shop attendant took forever to get to you. Tired you shout and frantically wave down a cab to take you back to your temporary abode. The cab pulls up a few meters away from you and though no one is around, you can’t resist the urge to chase the waiting cab. As you settle in the cab, the driver greets you warmly and launches into a random conversation. All of these felt strange to you, well, not really you, but to the unrelenting Lagos something that lives in you.
I didn’t come to this epiphany all by myself. I couldn’t have for obvious reasons: being a thorough bred. I had a lengthy conversation with a friend who now lives in Lagos, and not the other way around. This ‘outsider’ made me see (you can catch the full gist here) what was wrong with jumping down from a moving bus amongst many other things(Yes, Lagos has damaged me that badly). I finally figured out why it was so easy for others to identify me as a ‘fish out of water’/Lagosian whenever I visit the hinterlands. A lot of accepted norms in Lagos are simply wrong or bad behavior in proper societies. We all say this, but has that reality really dawned on us?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Lagos is a terrible place to live in. Far from it. Don’t mind that social science teacher that sent us a report card recently. Who asked him? The metropolis may have its not so popular side but it is not lacking in praise-worthy virtues.
The energy and pace of the city is phenomenal and many businesses benefit from that. In fact the whole continent benefits from it, as Lagos is the city with the largest GDP in Africa. This points to the economic potential that is Lagos. Note the word potential; Lagos still has a lot to offer as an economic hub for Africa, if only it were better structured and managed effectively.
Another thing Lagos blesses you with street savvy and a sense of purpose. The pace at which the city moves forces all residents, whether individuals or institutions, to go about with purpose.Everyone is busy doing some business; you cannot be idle. Even the jobless are purposeful about their joblessness, trying hard either to end their situation or being busy with their joblessness. Everybody na sharp guy for Lagos, you don’t come across that level of sharpness anywhere else in the world.
Truth be told, Lagos is not the easiest place to live in.It is quite tough and not at all for the faint of heart. But if you love the city along with everything it represents, you won’t mind carrying a bit of it around with you wherever you go. And as for that Economist that said we are second from the back on the list of the best cities to live in the world, ‘won mo bose n lo,’ they don’t know the scores.