For the next couple of months I’d be putting up several different posts on Lagos . I have no idea what they would look like but I’m certain the setting and theme will be Lagos. This is me trying my hands on new things. Hope you find it insightful.
In a city like Lagos;our city there are a thousand and one things that are indispensable,but here are 7 things you will need to survive in Lagos
1. MONEY: You might prolly have heard “Owo ni keke iyinrere” this literally means “money is the vehicle of the gospel or evangelism” as you like, nowadays its not just the gospel,money is the vehicle of everything. You guessed right,without money you can’t do anything especially in a city like Lagos. Anything at all!!! You already know this. A further discourse on this would amount to overflogging
an issue that is visible to blind and audible to deaf .You try to come to Lagos and don’t come along with money.
2. FRIENDS:By friends I mean family,colleagues,your parents’ friends,your friends’ friend,people(your barber,your gen guy,one bros that lives on the tail-end(tautology) of your street,your mom’s customer at that market,the cab guy or okada man,dad’s mechanic,your sunday school teacher,alfa or that baba with the knowledge of roots and herbs,whichever works for you. Just know people because one day you will need them and I bet you that one day will come. My Reverend,Reverend Randle usually says for you to be successful in life,”you must know someone,who knows someone,that knows someone,that knows someone.” And that cannot be more true. I pride myself in being a loner;an individual person yet still I have people you see me around with,at certain points in time,at home,school,church or somewhere sha. It doesn’t mean I really know them or that we talk a lot,it just means I’m not an Island and I need people to survive. I’m not saying you make and keep friends because of what you intend getting from them,I’m not even saying you guys should be close. I’m saying just be nice,I’m saying keep friends because you need friends.
3. SHARP: The biggest mistake you will make in the whole of your existence will be coming to Lagos without bringing your sharp along. Do that and you will understand why Lagos is christened “Ilu Ogbon.” Bringing your sharp along entails being smart(I don’t mean academic smartness),not being slow,being vigilant,thinking on your feet,knowing a little Math(not x-y+z or all that bs I mean simple arithmetics) and being able to improvise. It means bringing your A-game. You would probably have heard slangs like “Don’t dull”,”Soji yourself”,”Ma kana or Ma kere”,they all translate to you being smart. Being at least in the remotest bit streetwise. “Shine your eyes well well,look your back well well“*in my Daddy Showkey voice*
Lagos is the land of opportunities and only the hardworking can seize them by the throat,because in Lagos nothing comes easy and there is no food for the lazy man(that’s probably one of the most popular quotes in Lagos). I don’t know what you can achieve anywhere in the world without working hard,probably failing!! You just have to do nothing…I have news for you,nothing is the most difficult thing to do in this world,because you never know when you are done. To survive in Lagos you need to be hardworking,be able to multi-task, you must be willing to leave your home very early in the morning and return late at night. In Lagos,we work hard and play hard. Hardwork;this is embedded deep in the marrow of every true Lagosian.
5. YORUBA AND PIDGIN: You must know a little Yoruba and pidgin at least to live in Lagos and not fall maga(simpleton) to all these people(public transport drivers,motor cyclists,traders,everybody sef) .Pidgin is the language of Lagos,our ‘Lingua Franca’,almost everyone knows pidgin,at least that’s popular belief. If you don’t, “you don cast .” My emphasis will be on Yoruba though since it(Lagos) is a South-Western(Yoruba) state .You must atleast know the basic everyday yoruba ‘Ekaaro,Ekaasan or Ekaale(Morning,afternoon or evening ) ‘Owo’,’Wole’,’Jade’,’Owa’, ‘Change mi’,Ose,Pele etc. Knowing Yoruba does not prevent you from falling prey to these people but it reduces the probability. Really you need to know Yoruba ,because everyone is steadily “trying to cut your head off“( a slang Chuki uses when he means someone is trying to ‘swindle’ him).Let me share a personal experience. There was this time I went to do the wheel balancing and alignment of dad’s car at the gas station close to the estate gate. I think those things have a fixed price but still there will be a difference between the price on the Mainland and that of the Island(Island is usually expensive) *sorry to digress,wait did I ? * The wheel-balancing guy(his name,Peter) who happens to have a very heavy Yoruba(Ijesha or sth) accent thought I was Igbo because of the way I look and thus quoted a very high price. Until I spoke Yoruba to him(though my spoken Yoruba isn’t impeccable but you would def know I am Yoruba or prolly not ) and he said “Mi o le s’anfanni f’omo Igbo,afi omo iya mi nikan” meaning “he can’t be of help or render any favour to an Igbo person,only people from his tribe” and afterwards dropped the price. I could have as well been Igbo with an okay command of the Yoruba language. Lesson,know a little bit of Yoruba even if its an itsy bitsy bit. “YOU NEED AM”
Lagosians pride themselves in being very tush,urbanized people especially those ones on the Island. They act like they don’t defaecate (ehn I talk am) Don’t be dismayed,every Lagosian has a little bit of crazy;that ‘streetness’ in him or her. Bash their cars and you will see what I am talking about. You can’t afford not to be “street(adjective)” in a city like Lagos,because as Ola will say “the street is military.” You have to be able to blow hot and cold. Why? Let me tell you. Every day in Lagos is a hustle,every blessed day. Going to work,school or anywhere else “na war” because you need to shove and push other passengers trying to get a bus,whilst doing that you need to also watch your pocket(pick pockets are around).Oh you have a car so that won’t happen,you wish!! Won’t you drive your car on road? You have to compete with “crazy” danfo drivers,tricycle(napep/keke) riders,taxi drivers and if you are lucky you will meet our darling “okada” riders who will be constantly stepping on your nerves,except you aren’t human,you are bound to get a little crazy;lose your cool. Keep a tab on it,you will need the strength to last the rest of the day. There’s traffic,angry pedestrians,’Agberos’,LASTMA,VIO and The Nigerian Police. See you can’t afford to exhaust your crazy or street on one person or class,you need to have sufficient crazy left whenever you meet either of this people.
7. PATIENCE(WISDOM): The Bible says wisdom is the principal thing,in all you are doing get wisdom and with it understanding. It is therefore wisdom to be patient. Patience is a very good virtue. You need to be patient in Lagos in order not to die of a heart attack. Yo need to be patient with your family members,your friends,neighbours,crazy motorists and other road users. Be patient don’t run faster than your destiny,richer people will oppress you,poorer people will too,G-boys def will too. Just calm down,don’t let everything and everyone get to you. Patience is rewarding (“surulere“). This is so important that its the name of a place in Lagos “SURULERE“. Patience is really rewarding. Chill out and you will thank me later.
Remember “Jeje l’omo eko n lo,jeje l’omo eko nlo“(in my Pasuma voice). Till we meet again next time.
If there’s anything you think I left out or you have any suggestion. Feel free to leave a comment.