Friday, 23 October 2015

Lagos Traffic, Hustle, etc; Some of You May want to Chew me Up for This.

Busy motor park in Lagos

Some words you hear and they just slip out of your recollection. Others you hear and they become a ‘jam’ stuck on replay. I’ve had quite a few jams so far, but one which has been most resounding for about 2 weeks now is the statement made by a bus conductor. 

As talkatively annoying as the man was, I couldn’t help but mull over those few words. On that day, we had been stuck in traffic for over an hour on the Island. All the while, this conductor kept throwing in one joke after another. Most of the time, us passengers just hissed; the combination of hot weather and crazy traffic was not conducive for mirth or humor at all. 

So when he said “All of you for inside this Lagos, make una no born pikin o!”, there were a few more hisses. He still continued: 

“When person comot him house by 4am and no enter until night when pikin don sleep, no need to born pikin be that!”

I heard it from the man’s mouth, and long after he’d moved on to the next wisecrack, I was still ruminating on it (like say I be camel!). He was kinda right. Maybe in his own ‘Baba sala’ kinda way but he was right. These days, parents hardly know their kids and vice versa. In the bid to give our families a better life, we are losing the same family. A family is no family if there is no bond (Abi I’m the only one holding that opinion?).

Young African American woman thinking
There’s a craze in Lagos; a craze to outdo the other person; not to be left out or trampled upon by fellow hustlers. It has made majority of the populace a ticking bomb; you only need to press a button and the average Lagos-dweller is already yelling! Commuters, market traders, students, corporate professionals, you name it. That ‘aggressive’ spirit cuts across mehn!

Unfortunately, the standard of living is also ridiculously high. So when you’re done making all the money, it goes out back just as fast. The result is a vicious cycle. You’re left thirsting for more and more every day. You’re never satisfied. 

I get the fact that Lagos is a mega city and these are some of the things that come with the mega city status (Just take a look at other big cities around the world). What I don’t get is why some people accept that they cannot succeed anywhere else. 

Busy Lagos road

You should have seen- during my NYSC days- the look fellow corps members from other states gave me when they heard I was from Lagos. With the exception of those who lived in Abuja and PH, others basically looked at me like I was one hell of a lucky girl. You can then imagine their shock whenever I told them I was tired of Lagos; that I would not mind staying back in Ibadan or even moving to a less ‘mega’ state “like seriously girl?! Are you crazy!?”

Surprised young African american woman
The look you get when you say you're not cool with Lagos 

The other day, I was having lunch with some folks and we got talking about all the changes and development going on within the state. I did not hide the fact that I was disenchanted with the Lagos life. I rather favoured a ‘peaceful’ (for want of a better word) existence. Call me unambitious or unexciting but that’s who I am. Our lunch became a mild argument and my lunch paddies insisted that Lagos is the place to be. Me? I did not argue that Lagos is more or less the hub of this nation, but I insisted that success is very much achievable in other less ‘mega’ states of the nation. It all depends on how you define success. For me, it has little to do with more cash in the bank or physical acquisitions.

I know my convictions are not necessarily that of every other person, but I can’t help asking:0

  • “What do YOU think about the Lagos life?”
  • Are we stuck on the Lagos mentality because it’s not possible to ‘blow’ anywhere else?
  • And ultimately, “Are we ready to pay the price for this ‘success’?”
What's your take?


  1. Lagos life is crazy, I mean there is no end to the rat race, but you know what? Some of us have gotten so used to 'Lagos life' so much so that thoughts of dwelling outside Lagos seems like a death sentence.

  2. Stella dear, You are so right about the getting used to it. I kinda fear that sef

  3. Stella dear, You are so right about the getting used to it. I kinda fear that sef