“The grass is greener on the other side,” they say. The other side, for most people living in Nigeria, happens to be Lagos. The mega-city. The belief that life will get better once I get to Lagos has led several to pack their things in sacks, wrappers and boxes, and begin on a journey to find ‘greener pastures’ in a state where there are no green grasses (because space no dey for grass to grow). They soon realize like the many who traveled to the white man’s land for the same reasons that there isn’t fast money here.
Lagos. The bright lights, tall buildings and rush hour traffic. The vacancy posts seen everywhere despite more and more youths roaming the labor market with no jobs. The hope of a better tomorrow that usually never comes. The security that seems to make people more insecure. The commercial drivers who make you learn madness (because without that you can’t win against them). Don’t get me started on finding love in Lagos. *Scoffs*… the list is endless.
If, like me, you came in search of greener pastures and are frustrated, don’t lose hope just yet. There are three ways to survive in Lagos.
Ji Ma Sun (Don’t Dull Yourself)
The beauty of Lagos is that it gives to those who have the courage to demand what they want, those who are bold enough to take risks, those who are smart enough to work their way up the corporate ladder. If you want for opportunities or favor to come your way, my brother/sister, oyo lo wa. O.Y.O, meaning you are on your own. If you are told, “No,” go back till a “Yes” comes. Give reasons why you deserve the yes! Ji ma sun!
Build Networks, Make New Friends
Meet people, connect with people, make another family away from home. Help people in ways you can so they will help you too. What I have learned from my stay in Lagos is that the relationships you build make the stay sweeter. When you are down, having issues from work or your landlord, there are people you can turn to.
I don’t know how to make new friends? Go out, speak to people. Lagosians are always ready to engage in conversations with anyone, just start talking to people.
Develop a Certain Level of Madness
When you go to Rome you behave like a roman.
Let’s face the truth! It is a city of acute madness. From driving on the express to being in transit with Danfo drivers and their accomplices; from having a tailor to having a landlord or tenants (God help you if you live in ‘face me I sound you’); from NEPA and their ‘ladder-men’ to the police officers and Okada riders (these ones would have you switching to personalities you never knew you had *laughs*)—the list is endless.
How can you develop a certain level of madness?
Know when to be mad and be mad! After the episode has ended, shrug it off and go back to being normal. These ensure that you are not cheated or taken for a fool (Jolly Just Come JJC).
With these tips, ‘The Lagos Dream’ can be birthed irrespective of the challenges. Remember the challenge is meant to propel you to “Gbe Body E.”
Keep the dream alive…. “Eko O ni gbaje o”