Lagos, The City I Have Always Known

December 7, 2017 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Ogunniyi Abayomi


Lagos is the commercial hub of Africa a city ascribed as the strength and heart of Nigeria’s economy. It is a state that consists of diverse cultural and religious groups, multinational companies and organisations, social infrastructure, along with a high population density that comprises of migrants from different states across Nigeria.

Lagos is considered by Nigerians a place of dreams and ambition, home away from home, 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 despite the developmental projects and construction we observe daily across the street.

Lagos has its unique identity within the rowdy atmosphere of ordinary individuals who define what living in Lagos means by the zeal and aura to survive in a city that consists 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 offers 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 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 position enables 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 stripped and given to Abuja, Lagos had been a major city of importance during the colonial and independent eras in Nigeria. Lagos is a land of many artefacts 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 having its lifestyle and culture likewise an identity of a unique aura no one survives if you cannot endure the intensity the cosmopolitan offers you in the business and economic sector. How descriptive can I frame living in Lagos, its rigourous and tough conditions to attain a satisfactory level beyond the charismatic nature implored.

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

These premonitions about making it big in Lagos endeared individuals to the city, 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 overcame its challenges, many struggled to live to its expectations irrespective of the struggles 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 from if you cannot afford the luxury.

The demolition of buildings and structures establishes this truth hereby various individuals are rendered homeless by voluntary actions of the 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 shelter, many killed while protecting their people from the oppressive execution of order by the government.



Lagos state government, in its anticipation towards the megacity project, neglects the poor people, the average market women and ordinary citizens struggling to survive, evoking an act against the mases 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 suburb, an action that is not implemented while searching or chasing a suspect.

The young man settling beneath the bridge, jobless, homeless, hapless and no regard for the future rather strive to steal, mock, assault and harass individuals hereby he is neglected and unidentified, a dramatic situation raising an alarm of ironic safety we claim to possess in the city that never sleeps. Dreams abound in the mind of an ordinary boy who arrived in Lagos on his own, his premonition about the city could be a place where he can succeed yet extort from individuals across the road, likewise being involved in illegitimate trade hereby they are not caught or prosecuted by the law.

Events are unpredictable in Lagos, every second, minute and hour are tuned to be controversial unexpectedly in Lagos, despite its ongoing development and socio economic growth, Lagos had not considered the efforts and tasks of ordinary citizens within its environment, the affluent benefiting from the struggles of the poor yet the poor are not acknowledged by the efforts 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 organisations operating in the city, it has generated much that would sustain the state yet it does not change the status of living.

The uncertainty and raging issues of our transportation system are controversial. Inspite of the hard work to ensure the transportation system is effective, we encounter reckless accidents on our highway by drivers of our commercial vehicles, private cars not excluded also. Lagos has recorded a high rate of casualties via accidents despite the daily construction of roads; traffic congestion popularly known as ‘go slow or hold up’ in our Nigerian tongue, remaining a riddle that is unresolved.

The tale of the city still persists on the page of doubt despite the safe environment built for the rich, meanwhile the poor are killed along the roads, robberies persist and there has never been an end to the story of criminal activity despite its efforts to tackle crime within the suburb. 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 makes Lagos thick and vibrant.






Ogunniyi Abayomi

Ogunniyi Abayomi was born July 11, 1991 in the city of Lagos, where he resides. A poet and essayist whose works have been published in various journals.

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