COUNT ME OUT OF LAGOS – By Babajide Michael Olusegun, Guest Writer (An Adaptation from ‘Come With Me To Alaska’ By Fitzgerald Umah)
Over the last 2 decades, I have lived and studied in serene states. But six years ago, I found myself in a ruffled state, precisely Lagos- a coastal and commercial state. As a Nigerian, I find Lagos very unique despite the harshness of its streets, characterized by hustling, bustling, filth, and luxury. My Lagos experience and reality trigger mixed feelings about it, and so, I have decided to share my Lagos experience.
It is interesting how the riches of and richness in Lagos do not reflect in the condition of living of many Lagosians. Lagos is indeed a wonder of ironies making the literati in me inspired but the humanity in me tired. My six year stay in Lagos was for the study of law as a second degree. In the process of my legal studies, I studied how laws and lawyers transformed Lagos yet I keep struggling with how this Lagos, with all its human and economic capital, has not become an Alaska and Australia; a California and Canada.
During my six-year course, I had the following Lagos experiences:
- Lagos is the commercial melting pot of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the prosperity hub of the Southwest region. And as such, you can set forth at dawn but still run late to your destination.
- That you are studying does not mean you cannot work and make money. Therefore, students are more attracted to food for thought and not thought for food
- That you live in Lagos does not mean you live in luxury and affluence; it only means you have all kinds of licit and illicit options to explore. Such that it is often said, albeit rebuttable, that Lagos money remains and resides in Lagos
- A tenant in Lagos can be/is a Landlord in Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Oyo. You can use the tenancy fees for crowd-living in a cubicle in Lagos to build a duplex or own a land in these other states.
- Lagos is not a place for the weak, idle and indolent but for the rugged, astute, and smart
I am glad to have concluded the first part of my legal studies at the University of Lagos while I look forward to continuing my legal adventure at the Nigerian Law School. Many thanks to my darling mum, Professor Veronica Folasade Titilayo Babajide who ensured that I ended up studying this law despite all the odds against my choice of it as a first degree in Obafemi Awolowo University. Studying law at the University of Lagos did a merciful factory reset to my understanding of law and a lawyer. I must however confess that I am more confused [not out of ignorance but out of the variety of career options] than I was some 11years ago about the kind of law I want to practise. I got to Lagos and I discovered that you don’t necessarily have to wear a wig and gown or always chant ‘Mei Lord; Mei Lord’ in a courtroom to practise law. This further lends credence to the time-honored ditty that the only constant thing in life is change.
Lagos is a vibrant place. It is a Nigerian state in the country’s southwest region. Lagos is a transit state. It hosts businesses, art, entertainment, industries, sites and scenes, peoples, limitless opportunities, and many more.
Lagos is not an easy-going flow like Alaska. The entirety of Lagos has a struggle and hustle feel to it, so if you love an easy-going flow, Lagos is not one of the best places to consider. However, if you want to create wealth and expand your social net-worth and network, Lagos can give you that. But during rainy seasons and political unrests, Lagos is the last place you want to find yourself.
What stands Lagos out among the other states in Nigeria is the ability of its residents to create wealth and its government to tax them. It is popular knowledge that there are over 20million peoples living in Lagos; many of whom live in squalor and a few of whom dwell in splendor. Lagos is considered the sixth largest city in the world, handling more than 80% of Nigeria’s imports, bears one of Africa’s largest bridges, and used to be a market for slave trading in the days of colonization.
Unlike Alaska, Lagos state pays no one for living in it. Those who live in Lagos do so at their own risk. The overpopulation in Lagos is largely responsible for the housing deficit in Lagos which in turn is largely responsible for its high cost of living and residency.
Some of the five most popular jobs in Lagos are:
- Business Development Manager
- Sales Manager
- Marketing Executive
Even though Lagos seems to be the most envied destination in Nigeria for young people and graduates, there is an urgent need to invest in employment and opportunity expansion across the other 35 states and federal capital of the country. This is to ease the pressure on the infrastructures and inhabitants in the state which is evidently reaching a breaking point. This would also reduce the japa syndrome in every nook and cranny of Nigeria’s economic, educational, and health sectors.
However, until this happens and things change, count me out!
Babajide Michael Olusegun [BMOscribes] has B.A. in Literature-in-English [OAU] and is waiting for posting to the Nigerian Law School for its BAR PART II 2021 session.