Lagos, a Metropolitan Paradox

Lagos, the city I have always known, a city I ascribe as the strength and heart of Nigeria economy. It is a state that consists of diverse cultural and religious groups, multinational companies and organizations, social infrastructure along with a high population density that comprises migrants from different states across Nigeria.

Lagos is considered by Nigerians as a place of dreams and ambition, home away from home, a city of hustlers and a place for shows and unprecedented drama yet we neglect the challenges and tussle we encounter to survive. In Lagos, the stench and filthy aroma of waste disposals are the inconvenient environmental challenges we encounter in spite of the developmental projects and construction we observe daily across the street.

Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times

Lagos has its unique identity within the rowdy atmosphere of ordinary individuals who define what living in Lagos mean by the zeal and aura to survive in a city that consist of 20 local governments likewise 37 local council development areas across its territory. It’s chaotic, stressful and draining to endure the intensity and drive a cosmopolitan city offer as a middle-class citizen whose pursuit is to remain a Lagosian.

Attractive is the phrase that describes the urban lifestyle in the city of Lagos, only a few acquire the lifestyle, many are stranded and deprived of it, raising the doubtful dichotomy of Lagos as a city for all. Should everyone be a resident of Lagos to make a living, to be successful in Lagos is a pertinent question many Nigerians cannot answer its rapid development enacts the drive but the reality remains within the realm of few whose affluent positions enable them to enjoy the luxury of Lagos.

A historical land, Lagos had been occupied by several leaders in Nigeria before its status as the capital was given to Abuja, Lagos had been a major city of importance during the colonial era and independent era in Nigeria. Lagos is a land of many artifacts and a place of historical facts and importance that have been acclaimed as a global phenomenon.

Lagos state is described as the state of its own, Lagos has its lifestyle and culture likewise an identity of a unique aura no one survives with if you cannot endure the intensity the cosmopolitan offers to you in the business and economic sector.  How descriptive can I frame living in Lagos, its rigor and tough condition to attain a satisfactory level beyond the charismatic nature implored?

Certain location in Lagos are echoes of a restless city, Lagos is a city in its frame and identity of its own struggle, a city that is never weary, breathes life into a huge population within its environment arousing the question what makes Lagos thick?  A city surrounded by water is an abode that individuals across each geo-political zone fight to reside on irrespective of their status and position.

These premonitions about making it big in Lagos endeared individual to Lagos, observing its vibrant and energetic atmosphere as a factor to be successful discarding the struggles encountered daily for food and shelter. Livelihood in Lagos creates a different scene and tale for everyone, few overcome its challenges, many struggles to live by its expectations irrespective of the fight to attain its position.


Lagos is an accommodating state for strangers and indigenes of different tribes, religion, and languages. Lagos as a city has no permanent occupant or indigene, it is likely seen as a land for no one, a place anyone can be sent out if you cannot afford the luxury.

Demolition of buildings and structures establish this truth hereby various individuals are rendered homeless by voluntary action of government, erecting a structure for the comfort of the rich and mighty discarding the poor. These acts have thrown the masses off balance while they seek for shelter, many are killed while protecting their people from the oppressive execution of orders by the government.

Lagos state government in its anticipation towards the megacity project, neglect the poor people, the average market women and ordinary citizens struggling to survive, evoking an act against the masses to satisfy the elite that can afford its luxury. We observe the scene within the suburb, the presence of police and security agents at the garage chasing innocent people away with guns across the suburbs, an action that is not implemented while searching or chasing a suspect.

The young man settling beneath the bridge, jobless, homeless, hapless, devoid of hope for the future, he is neglected and unidentified. A dramatic situation raises an alarm of an ironic safety we claim to possess in the city that never sleeps. Dreams abound in the mind of an ordinary boy who arrived Lagos on his own, his premonition about Lagos could be a place he can succeed yet extort from individuals across the road, likewise be involved in illegitimate trade and not caught or prosecuted by the law.

Events are unpredictable in Lagos, every second, minute, and hour is tuned to be controversial. In spite of its ongoing development and socio-economic growth, Lagos does not consider the effort and task of ordinary citizens within its environment, the affluent benefit from the struggles of the poor yet the poor are not acknowledged by the effort to ensure Lagos is lively and effective.

Lagos is the story that is continuous, a drama that has its beginning without an end, yet it has been a city that has survived by the initiative of various political leaders whose business, economic and social acumen has built the reputation of Lagos as an economic and business-driven city. Lagos has generated much revenue via the payment of tax by corporate bodies and organization operating in Lagos, it has generated much that would sustain the state yet it does not change the status of living.

The uncertainty and ragging issues of our transportation system are controversial, we encounter the reckless accidents on our highways, often perpetrated by the drivers of our commercial vehicles, the private cars are not excluded. Lagos has recorded a high rate of casualties via accidents. Traffic congestion [go-slow or hold up] remains an unresolved riddle.

The tale of the city still persists on the page of doubt, robbery persists and there has never been an end to the story of criminal activity. Lagos is a story mixed within the realm of the affluent, the poor, the middle class and ordinary citizens whose dominant struggles explicitly define what make Lagos thick and vibrant.

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