To find or remain oneself in Lagos entails knowing Lagos. This may sound bizarre until one realises that the part of Lagos where one stays or work, can affect one’s quality and worldview of life. Lagos itself is constantly finding itself, shaped by history and people within each part of its locale. Pictures, they say speak louder than words. Join me on a journey to finding Lagos to find you.
Now, that is Lagos island, characterised by a dearth of space and multitude of workers. It carries on its weary shoulders, the aged-long industries and politics that started the megacity. It is unkempt but do not be deceived, it is highly structured. Antique edifices that have fed so many mouths and continues to do so on its weary back. It has since made an exodus from domestic to transactional apartments pushing most of its inhabitants to Surulere, Festac, Ikeja & Lekki. Those who stay for domestic reasons stay at their own peril.
That is the Mainland. It shares its mainland characteristics with some parts of Surulere up to Ojo-Badagry locale. A city terrorised by craziness, love and poverty. It is rumoured that even a psychologist may herself, go mad in trying to understand the mentality of its species. No one goes to the mainland and returns sane, I say. The fabrics of hunger, lack, and meagre salaries lay like a colossus on its azure. Its drivers are reckless. But it is here you’ll find love in its trueness. Impecunious father struggling to buy a return-gift out of meagre salary; frustrated wife cooking quality food from personal savings; a family trip to a neighbour’s event; a pardoning look from a virtuous wife over the stressed-weak manhood of her husband; a child’s refusal to go to school with the silent reasoning of helping the parent who could not meet the bill; et al.
That is the mainland, characterised by dirt, bad-roads, traffic, with oozing smell of decay on the atmosphere, yet filled with hopes, with solidarity and with life.
Ikeja comes bearing a two-face – the altitude of the mainland and the activities of the Island-Lekki. The heart of Government activities, the place where bureaucracy is practised or overthrown by a squeezed hand. Elites live here, armchair critics I may add. Industries abound and it is kind to any hardworking mind. Ancestral families live here, and unspoken class rivalry and politics strives here. Traffic too well known, I mean, that is peculiar to everywhere in Lagos. Some places here are historic and once upon a time, this is the place you come for a decent-classic wife.
And now, we will proceed to Island. By Island, I mean Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lekki I and II. This is a place characterised by modern innovations and greedy ambition. It is a place where the Mainland brought-up who have had enough, strives to dwell in. An unhealthy but unspoken rivalry of the class exists here. Yet, they are all accommodated by the healthy space and fresh breath of the promised land.
Be not deceived, a lot of fakes and trick-stars live here together with the originals. To call a communal meeting is almost impossible. Bound by one road network, living on a time bomb, miraged by luxurious bars and lounge, beaches and a mega-night. It is the foreign part of Nigeria. Elites live here. The high-income earners and directors live here. Ambitious entrepreneurs also strive here. The competition in recent times is high. EFCC roams about like a police dog sniffing for drugs. In this place, respect is earned not given. Companies fold up fast, and only the evolving adapt. Everything here is over-priced. But also, in this place lives the pauper, like lizards on the wall of the palace. All marked by a single quest – to find themselves, to find their Lagos.
What have you to say about Lagos? Do you agree with me? Let us hear your comment below.