While Lagos is quite a familiar city to me, it is actually my first time living here. My first visit here I was age 7 or so and didn’t return till I was in University. Before now, it was easier for me to enjoy the sights and sounds of Lagos because I was merely visiting. Seeing it all polished and dandy because I was a guest. However I have lived here now for six weeks and while it has been ok, my eyes open daily to things that are peculiar only to this city that I quite frankly can’t compare to anywhere else I have lived. It’s just there, in a world of it’s own. I have put together a few of the things I have acclimatised to.
Always carry a power bank and wifi every where you go. I found this particularly odd, but this is the way Lagos people roll. Nobody has time to be dragging with mtn or glo over their undependable data. So the solution is to buy a mobile mi-fi plus a power bank to charge your device(s) because of course, no light. It’s more of an accessory to clothing now because they come in all types of colour and pouches.
Isale apoti is for church. That is to say your best clothes are for church. This is weird for me as I am a casual dresser but apparently your lace, your suit, best shoes etc are to be worn to church. Sundays are for taking photos. You need to be on fleek both for Jesus and for instagram.
The real MVP in Lagos is not the guy whose generator comes on seconds after NEPA takes light, it’s the one who leaves his generator on for hours after light has been restored.
If you weren’t before, Lagos forces you to be in the moment. Be observant. It is not a gradual thing that you adjust to. It is sudden. Perhaps because half your life is lived being stagnant in traffic, you see more. You see that a street beggar has tribal marks, you notice a car that has been following you for a while, you notice all the cars that look like yours in traffic, you fear getting robbed so you look out, you lock your car instinctively and still check the handle to be sure it did lock.You are alert.
Dress to impress. Literally.
Incase of any emergency perhaps due to someone maybe hitting your car, trying to pick your pocket, driving recklessly or generally just bullying you, switch to your native language immediately. Or pidgin atleast. Do not be the one speaking English by the side of the road trying to explain your dilemma while everyone stares at you like who is this JJC. In an emergency, English is not your language. I repeat, English is not your language.
Flood is not anything. Just too much water. C’mon get in there and wade.
If you are a lady riding a car quite early in the morning without make up or fancy shoes on, an okada rider is likely to call you ashewo despite he hitting your car rear. (One day, we will discuss this one exhaustively)
As long as you live on the island, you have made it in life. The End.
If someone messes with you, say to them very categorically without blinking your eyes – Do you know who I am in this Lagos?
BONUS; If you want to get priority parking, entrance into executive hotels and clubs, you better be driving an SUV.
***NEPA- I know the name has changed quite a few times but I insist on calling our electricity company NEPA.
***Isale Apoti- Sunday best. Literal translation; The clothes you keep down below the box for special occasions.