You Do Not Live In Lagos, Lagos Lives In You

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.


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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.


  1. CeeCee
    We all love Lagos, I agree, it’s an awesome place. The degree of lawlessness and crazy bothers on madness. Nobody is supposed to live this way; Wake up at 4am, chase after a bus, learn to drive like a mad person, acquire the skill of driving like a drug dealer when the traffic light turns yellow, cross the road when the light turns red, sit in a standstill traffic for hours, act like you don’t know the meaning of exact fare. But then, that’s our Lagos and most people have come to accept its ways as normal. Tell me, Does anything that happens in Lagos, no matter how crazy it is, still surprise you?

    That’s why when we travel to other places/countries, we feel weird and abnormal because everyone and everything is so normal.

      1. Dipo
        That’s the issue. We feel right at home with the strange things that happen in Lagos. I remember arguing with someone once about jumping down from an almost moving bus. Took me a few minutes to realize that it’s dangerous but did I stop doing it? Nah.
        1. thetoolsman
          You see, every city/people has its culture, nuances that differentiates it from others. I understand and agree that system is faulty and that’s what needs to change but even with a working subway system and excellent bus transport network, I still want Lagos to keep its identity – fast paced, sometimes noisy, energetic and all of that. It’s like New York or Tokyo.. you have systems that work but those cities have their identity… So what if someone decides to jump out of a moving bus just so he can catch that million Naira appointment? Is it really so bad?
          1. Dipo
            I’m definitely jumping off a moving bus if I had a million naira appointment to catch but does that really justify jumping off moving buses… I mean half the people jumping off buses are probably not late for million naira appointments. Can’t argue against Lagos keeping it’s unique identity, being fast paced and all but we could all do with less risky behavior at Nigeria’s nerve center.
  2. Hakeem
    The first time I experienced a difference in culture came when I went for NYSC. I had gone to my PPA to resume and I arrived there some minutes past 8am. Surprisingly, I met the place still locked and the janitor told to return by 10am, as that’s the time the place usually opens.
    People also greeted politely when inside the taxi and the taxis were relatively neater.
    When I returned to Lagos after service though, I instantly hate Lagos.
  3. V
    Yes, Lasgidi, we all love to hail as this & that, be that as it may, Lagos is in danger of collapse & needs to get it’s act together fast. In a country of 180mn people, operating a single port isn’t sustainable at all, the Badagry & Lekki ports being proposed will just add more pressure to the barely adequate infrastructure for the over 20 million inhabitants, Lagos needs other states to develop and reduce the pressure on it’s infrastructure, the migration of people from other states is unbecoming.
    What’s better than 1 billionaire? = 2
    What’s better than 1 Lagos? = 2 or more.
    This post is kinda funny but with a tint of truth in it.
    I had traveled and when I finally did travel to another state. I feel weird, the whole street had relatively gone quiet by 7:30pm and it was hard to get things beyond that time as most shops were closed.
    There is just something about Lagos that only the truly bred one will not want to swap for any thing other culture – the craziness, the annoying and senseless traffic, the wannabes James Bond drivers e.t.c
    It’s only in Lagos, you can leave home naked and arrive at your office suited up! Lasgidi I hail thee!

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