For those who live in Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria and its entertainment capital, the buzz, hustle and bustle and the opportunities are so attractive and addictive.
And in spite of the congestion and traffic gridlock, they won’t trade living in the Centre of Excellence for anything.
We spoke with settlers and indigenes about the challenges and opportunities of living in Lagos…
ADEKANYE RAPHAEL is a human resource manager. He works with a logistic company. He resides in Ogba, Lagos state. He is in his 40’s and was born in Lagos state. In a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, he gave us his assessment of Lagos state.
“Lagos is really attractive. It is the most popular city in Nigeria. It is also well developed. The fact that people will always get a way to entertain themselves makes Lagos attractive. Lagos is also beautiful, though, not all places but on average, Lagos is beautiful. You need to see the excitement on the faces of people when you tell them you are coming to Lagos or you want to take them to Lagos.
“There are a lot of opportunities in Lagos state, Lagos is the haven of Nigeria. There is a saying that, if you don’t make it in Lagos you cannot make it anywhere else. You can easily make it in Lagos and at the same time, you can be carried away with the vices. No matter how small, you will always find something to do in Lagos state. I love Lagos because of the wide range of opportunities available. I love the hustle and bustle of Lagos state.
“I will consider the heavy traffic as a major challenge. There is no Lagosian that does not complain about traffic. There is also security challenge. Some area are prone to robbery. Even while in traffic, robbers use the opportunity to make away with people’s personal effects, phones, money, even cars. If traffic gridlocks can be removed, the whole Nigerian will move to Lagos state. I will say, that is what I hate most about the state.”
For rating, I will give Lagos seven. As much as you can get something valuable to do in Lagos, there is always some other things waiting for the money. If the government can decongest Lagos, it will be a better place to live. They should also repair our road and create link roads.:
OLAYEMI ADEBUSOYE is a health and wellness coach from Oyo state but has been in Lagos for over two decades. He is in his 40’s, and resides in Egbeda. He told us how he rates Lagos state. In his words, many things attracted him to Lagos state but the main factor is the fact that he could make it in Lagos.
“I was brought to Lagos by my elder brother, Kunle, after secondary school and there was no money to further my education. My brother brought me with him to Lagos. I was happy when I got to Lagos for the first time. I couldn’t wait to boast to my friends during Christmas about Lagos. The job opportunity in Lagos is a big attraction to me. I have also visited some places of relaxation, Lagos is a sight to behold. A lot of business opportunities. When I came, I was selling second hand cloths, with a small capital and it became something else. I had to hand over the shop to my wife while I found other things doing. I love the fact that when you hustle, you can make it. Starting on a small scale and moving up gradually. People will always patronise you, even if you are 10 on the same street, selling the same thing, you will still make your money.
“The challenge I noticed when I came to Lagos was congestion. Lagos is too congested, you will hate yourself if you live in the slum. The dirty environment, the heat is killing during dry season. I was so relieved when I had money to take my own accommodation in a decent area. I hate Lagos for this, really.
“I will rate Lagos six as regards standard of living. The state government should focus on creating job opportunities for the dwellers. They should provide infrastructure too.”
HAKEEM OJO is a headmaster in a private school in Lagos state. He is in his late 30’s, and has lived all his life in Lagos. He is currently living at Ayobo. Speaking about the attraction in Lagos state he said,
“You can get variety of things in Lagos. Ranging from food, automobile, fashion, just name it. If you can’t get it in Lagos, then, it cannot be gotten anywhere.” How many cities have a cinema in Nigeria? Lagos is kind of different, developed. “Everything brings opportunities, even urinating. I once paid N200 for urinating somewhere. Despite my pleas, they collected their money. You can see that there are a lot of opportunities in Lagos state. I love Lagos because it accomodates the rich and poor, hard working and lazy. The drama alone is interesting.
“Also on the challenges in Lagos state, people take advantage of others too much. Just imagine walking on the street and someone begs for money, turned it into a threat, collecting all you have. I hate the population, Lagos is over populated. That created a lot of vices here.
“If I am to rate Lagos on a scale of 1 to 10,I will give Lagos eight because the standard of cost is too high. They charge too much for everything. House rent is too much, cost of transportation is also too much.
“Government need to provide employment so that those miscreants can be taken off the street. Repairing road in Lagos takes forever, the major road leading to where I live took more than three years to repair. I wonder why it is like that.”
Mrs. Esther is a trader. She sells beverages at Iyana Ipaja market. She is in her 30’s. She was brought to Lagos by her elder sister, who is also a trader. She has lived more than 20 years in Lagos. She lives in Aboru.
For her, the attraction in Lagos state is the opportunity to relate with people of other culture.
As a result of my stay in Lugosi, I can speak Hausa and Igbo. When I came to Lagos, we were staying in an area where we have people of different cultures that was where I learnt to speak Hausa and Igbo very well. The fact that market sells is the opportunity I see in Lagos. There is nothing you put on the street that will not sell. That prompted me to start business after my secondary school. I didn’t bother to further my education. What I love most about Lagos is that you can easily make it once you are not lazy. Even beggars are making it in Lagos. Just don’t be lazy. A friend of mine came to Lagos with nothing, just the dress she was wearing and within some months, she was able to rent an apartment for herself. Five years after, she has a piece of land which she is believing to start constructing very soon.
“The most challenging thing about Lagos is that, they tax us too much. We pay a lot of levies that I get fed up most times. I hate the fact that Lagos is too dirty. I can never live in some areas because they are too dirty.
“I will rate Lagos five. Things are a bit expensive, getting a store here costs a lot. The government needs to put in check those that take advantage of marketers. Not all levies they collect go to the government purse. They should look into that.”
Femi Badmus is a marketer with a micro finance bank, he is in his early 30’s and has lived in Lagos all his life. He lives in Ilupeju, Lagos.
Lagos is a very attractive place, a lot of people get fascinated by the name and the place. To me, if you have not been to Lagos, you have not been anywhere. There are a lot of places of attraction as well. The malls, the cinemas and so on.
“It is easy to get busy in Lagos, it wasn’t long I got the job I am doing now. Though, I want something better, I believe with time, I will get there. Job opportunities are flying around in Lagos state. I like Lagos because of the opportunities you have to turn your fortunes around. I also like Lagos because it is a centre of attraction.
“The challenge I see in Lagos is in terms of security. A lot of jobless individuals take advantage of innocent people, stealing their possessions. I hate the traffic in Lagos, you can sit for hours in holdup before getting home.
“I will rate Lagos five. You will always find a means of survival no matter your level. The government should provide job opportunities and repair our roads.”
PROMISE NWACHUKWU, student, was born in Lagos
“Lagos is an interesting city. I school at Anambra State University (AMSU) and I’m a vast traveller, so I have a good understanding of life in other places. I’ve been to Enugu, Bayelsa, Abuja, Aba, Ilorin and some other places. I must confess there’s no place like Lagos. What I love about it is that it can accommodate all kinds of lifestyles. If you want to br a party freak, a night crawler, you are welcome to Lagos. And if you want a cool calm life, Lagos is the place for you. Nobody will disturb your life.
What I don’t like is all these LASTMA officials and their busy bodies. Their own can be too much at times.
If I want to be fair, I’ll score Lagos eight for the life and six for infrastructure.”
MERCY OKIEMUTE, from Delta, but was born in Lagos
“People call me half Warri, half Yoruba because I speak Yoruba fluently, but can’t speak my native Itsekiri very well because I have lived in Lagos since birth. The only time I left and spent a considerable time away was when my paternal grandmother passed on and we spent four months in the village. I love Lagos because it is where you can make your dreams come true. There’s money, population, companies to work, infrastructure. All of them! There are some states you won’t get network signal. See, you can’t compare anywhere to Lagos. I think Lagos is like a fertile soil, if you plant good seed, it will produce fruits.
“Ha! It is the traffic o! I’m telling you, sometimes it can drive you crazy.
“Lagos deserves a 7.”
RUTH IMENWO, baker, in her twenties. Moved to Lagos as a 10 year old with her parents
“I really like Lagos, I am actually fascinated by how a state as small as it is can be the commercial capital. I mean, it’s something else. Things are easily accessible.
“I don’t like how people build houses. You will see two tall buildings very close to each other with little space for fence and ventilation. Do they think animals will live in such houses?
“Lagos is a state of two halves, one half is the posh area, the other is for pako people.”
YUSUF BELLO, hails from Osun, but has lived in Lagos for 15 years
“How can you not love Lagos? This is where it is happening! It is home of phones in Nigeria, it has the best hotels in Nigeria. All the better, better companies are here, so what are you looking for again? That’s why I love Lagos. You can make cool money, but the thing na serious hustle. There’s no business that cannot succeed here in Lagos if you use your brain well.
“The number of people puts me off, really. That’s why everywhere you go you see people rushing like they are crazy. I wish there is a way we could just be reduced.”
“By virtue of my work as a construction engineer, I’m privileged to have visited quite a number of states in Nigeria, especially the commercial areas. And I am captivated mostly by the never say die attitude of Lagosians. In the face of all the challenges on a daily basis, they still rise very early in the morning to start the day, hopping on buses and all.
“I learnt the hard way when I came to Lagos, that was some six years ago. My company was handling a particular project back then. On the following Monday after the weekend we arrived because I was based in Benin then, we had to leave our base as early as 5:30am for meetings scheduled for 9:00.
“I didn’t understand it until we spent three hours in traffic. Apart from the traffic, one other thing I don’t like is all these agberos. The ones that hang around bus parks and pick people’s pockets. A lot of people have fallen victim to them.
“Maybe seven over 10. Lagos is not that bad if you know what you are doing. This new government should find a way to resolving this agabero issue once and for all and bring some sanity to bus parks.”
“Every Nigerian knows Lagos is the economic capital of Nigeria. It is the state which holds about 70 percent of the economy of Nigeria. This in itself is the attraction. Lagos is a state where you can come into as a pauper and rise to be the richest man in your town or village. Almost everything sells in Lagos because of the huge population, investment opportunities and the purchasing power of the state. So, Lagos will always attract more and more emigrants because of that capability to accommodate more and more people. There is nothing you want to buy that is not in Lagos. There is nothing you want to sell that is not in Lagos. And there is no life you want to live that is not here in Lagos. It is the economic hub and life wire of Nigeria. That is why I always say on the average, every child born in Nigeria today is a potential Lagosian.
“I love the fact one can come into Lagos and survive once he is not lazy. It is a known fact that most successful Lagosians we see today, came into Lagos with cellophane bags. It is a place where one can set one’s goals and achieve them. It is a place for bountiful opportunities – a bubbling place for all and for life to thrive.
High cost of living is one major challenge and most times, lawlessness and traffic bottle neck. I would have included insecurity, but I think there is a whole lot of improvements in terms of security right now. Lagos is optimally secured now, compared to some other states in Nigeria.
“In a scale of 1-10, I would still rate Lagos as one of the best places one can live in Nigeria. It is the most standard, modern and sophisticated in Nigeria. There is nothing one wants and see anywhere outside the country that’s not already emerging here in Lagos. The Lagos socio-economic environment is really, really emerging. You now get to some parts of Lagos, especially in the night, you think you are in the UK or in the US. So, by my rating, Lagos is a little above average, but a lot still needs to be done in the area of road construction; environmental aesthetics and orderliness. Lagos State government must continue to ensure that people are not allowed to come and live anyhow here. The rule of law, sanity and what is right must continue to govern Lagos for excellence. I reiterate that Ambode must not allow insanity to come back to Lagos so that the state can continue to enjoy good rating as the most well governed and best state in Nigeria.
There is no other way than for the Lagos State government to continue to implement the Lagos mega city master plan and to continue to make it a very serious project. Tinubu laid the foundation, Fashola did so much to build on it and now it is Ambode’s time to continue to consolidate on it for the betterment of Lagos. Lagos can only continue to improve, if sanity, law, order, aesthetics, development and what is right continues to govern Lagos. The laws of Lagos must continue to govern Lagos, if Lagos must continue to improve. And new things for growth, progress and development must continue to happen to Lagos every day.
The state still needs serious overhauling in ensuring that Lagosians live according to the laws of the state. Honestly, this is very important to the state. Lagos deserves environmental sanity, orderliness, safety and peace. People cannot just be coming into Lagos to live as if there are no laws in Lagos. I have always said poverty and unemployment are not just an excuse for people to be living anyhow here. Lagos is the most cosmopolitan city in Nigeria, and so must always be properly regulated and governed. This is what can always attract foreign investments to the state. Lawlessness must not continue to frustrate our lives in Lagos state. Fashola’s government has done so much in this regard, and so Governor Ambode must also do well to uphold this standard. Okada and Keke Maruwa operations must continue to be properly regulated and supervised. Their frustration and madness must not come back to Lagos. The issue of environmental insanity in some parts of Lagos deserves overhauling. Lagos must not continue to be known as a mad and dangerous place anymore. The inner roads too in all our local governments need urgent attention of the government.
Most of these roads are very bad. And I will like to add that Governor Ambode must not be afraid to do what is right for Lagos. I want to assure him that good governance will always win elections in Lagos, even if it is with a difference of 10,000 votes. Lagos is where the highest number of the most civilised and well informed Nigerians are concentrated.
I have been here for more than 35 years, and I don’t think I can live anywhere else apart from Lagos. I don’t think so.
Tunde Awoniyi is from Ekiti, but he has been in Lagos for 22 years. He is a teacher and public commentator. He had in Agege for years but he is now in Ayobo, Ipaja, Lagos, where he works and lives.
He lived Lagos remains the most congested city in Africa so, that makes it polluted at times. But despite that, it’s a land full of opportunities.
“I quite agree that Lagos is full of attractions and opportunities that are not available in other states. That’s the main reason many people leave their states for Lagos on a daily basis. If my state had provided all I need to survive as a man, I wouldn’t have found my way to Lagos. But getting here also, I realized it takes a lot of hard work and ideas to survive as a Lagosian. You can easily develop yourself in your field when you are in the midst of more learned colleagues and you’re exposed to information from almost all media platforms. Lagos has for long been known for that.
“I love Lagos because it’s close to success. You can get what you want when you want it unless you’re not financially capable to acquire such a thing.
“But some of the challenges in Lagos include accommodation. Landlords are not helping matters in that aspect. Also, traffic is usually too heavy and it doesn’t have a particular time.
“You can’t predict Lagos traffic. You can’t plan your time very well because of traffic. And before you know it, you can spend two hours for a journey of just 20 minutes.
Lagos can only be improved when the state government is strict with all the rules and regulations of the state, especially the traffic law.
“Then the area that needs a total overhaul is the environment. Many areas are polluted in Lagos state. And that makes the state not safe enough to live.
Then the government should concentrate on rural development so that more people could be attracted from the centre to the periphery.”
Kikelomo Kuojo is an actress cum film maker. She is from Ijebu Ode but relocated to Lagos about 18 years ago. She has lived in Ogba, Ojudu for some years before moving to Ikorodu where she resides presently.
In her assessment of Lagos, Kuojo said it’s still one of the best cities to live in as far as Nigeria is concerned despite the traffic bottleneck.
“Lagos is full of opportunities and attractions. First, it gives you exposure and you can interact with different categories of people. Business ideas also thrive in Lagos. The city has a lot of beautiful edifices to behold.
Other attractions include fun spots and recreational centres where one can relax after a day’s work. I enjoy my weekends in Lagos better, except I am on location.
Concerning what I love most about Lagos, seeing myself in the midst of so many people is a factor for development of all aspects of human endeavour. I really cherish that. And there is nothing you’re looking for that you can’t find in Lagos unless you don’t have the money.
“But what I hate most is the heavy traffic which is constant almost on all the routes. Lagos is highly populated. That’s the reason it’s the most congested city in Nigeria. So, the traffic is the only thing I hate most but there is nothing I can do than to live with it.
And in a scale of 1 to 10, I give Lagos seven because no matter what we say, Lagos is still more habitable than many other places in the country.
“However, Lagos can be improved if the government develops the rural areas. Then, concentrate on road construction and rehabilitation that will lessen traffic because if all the link roads are fully developed, express or high ways will be free somehow.”