Lagos, the city I have always known

lagos

Lagos is the commercial hub of Africa, a city that is the strength and heart of the Nigerian economy. It is a state that has diverse cultural and religious groups, multinational companies and organisations, social infrastructure and a high population from different states across Nigeria.

Lagos has its unique identity with the rowdy atmosphere of ordinary individuals who define what living in Lagos means.  It is  chaotic, stressful and draining to endure the intensity of  a cosmopolitan city as a middle class citizen whose pursuit is to remain a Lagosian.

A historical land, Lagos was occupied by several leaders in Nigeria before its status as the capital was stripped and given to Abuja. Lagos was a major city of importance during the colonial and independence era and has  many artefacts such as monuments and statues of Eyo, the three traditional diviners and nationalist such as  Obafemi Awolowo and Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. There is also the National Theatre, Iganmu, Muson Centre, Onikan and National Stadium, Surulere.

Lagos is considered by Nigerians as a place of dreams and ambition, a home away from home, the city of hustlers and a place for shows. As with any place, there is a negative side.  There is always  traffic congestion and there are  issues with our transportation system such as price hikes and  poor maintenance of buses . Lagos has recorded a high rate of casualties via car accidents in spite of the daily road constructions. There is also environmental pollution  which includes industrial waste, poor sanitation and air and water pollution.  In Lagos, the stench and filthy smell of waste disposals is a challenge we encounter in- spite of developmental projects and construction we observe daily.

The urban lifestyle in the city of Lagos is attractive, only few acquire the lifestyle and many people across Lagos are deprived of  basic social amenities such as water and electricity, a situation that makes livelihood  in the city difficult, raising the doubtful dichotomy of Lagos as a city for all. Lagos state government working  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. individuals are rendered homeless by voluntary actions of government, erecting structures for the comfort of the rich and mighty discarding the poor. Lagos generates much revenue via the payment of tax by corporate bodies and organizations that can sustain the state yet it does not change the status of living.

Dreams abound in the mind of an ordinary boy who arrived in Lagos on his own, his hope that Lagos could be a place he can succeed has not materialized.  The young man settles beneath the bridge, jobless, homeless, hapless and no regard for the future and would rather steal, mock, assault and harass individuals.

Lagos is a continuous story, a drama that has no end,  yet  it is a city that has survived by the initiative of political leaders whose business, economic and social acumen has built the reputation of Lagos as an economic and business driven city.

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.


Featured image | Lagos, Nigeria | Robert | flickr

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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