Eko’ & the empire state of mind…

I’ve always dissed Lagos! (lagosians, wait a minute oh, don’t bury me yet, i may be talking about the other Lagos in Portugal..) ,

I mean, i found it completely unreasonable to sit in traffic for 2 hours on a daily basis as a life style … and how i hate the shouting conductors, i hated the perpetual rainfall & the crowded streets…  i was like “this place could actually shorten life expectancy!”… but something happened….

Ok, i had reason to travel to Lagos again last week for a PMP course and i decided before hand to just keep an open mind and have a great time. My course was on two weekends,back-to-back, so i essentially had the week in-between free for exploration. As usual most of my Lagos people didn’t have my time (i guess the never time at all) and on day 1 got showered by rain & got stuck in traffic but i decided that nothing will dampen my resolve,  i was going to really ‘feel’ the town in street-style and not just go-in and get-out as i used to…

So during the week i arranged a grand tour to see first-hand both the lovely and the abysmal places… so off i went;

Beger>ojota>yaba>VI>lekki>VI>obalende>maryland>ojota>beger

Ikeja>Iyana Kpaja>Sango>Ota >Sango>Iyana kpaja>one place like that>ajegunle>festac

Festac>mile2>orile>oyibo>yaba>Antony>mile2>Festac

Contrary to popular outside opinion, regular & exceptional people live in Lagos, i found people really helpful, nobody gave me misleading directions and the prices of stuff were fair. Also Fashola has done an amazing job in sanitizing the town, I especially dig with the BRT’s, and the internal revenue generation measure, other governors could learn a thing or two.

I do however have a problem with the lagos “Eko oni baje” brand (it’s Yoruba meaning “Lagos will not spoil” )… the brand is largely a success in its adoption and it generates a good feeling amongst people, i only wish it was phrased  in the reverse… i mean, if i told you “don’t think of elephant”, what first comes to your mind? that’s right, an elephant comes to your mind… in the same way, saying “Lagos will not spoil” continually somehow associates Lagos with “spoiling”… i wish we could find a way of saying “Lagos: centre of excellence” in such down-to-earthiness & acceptability as “Eko oni baje”… hey, its just my thought!

However, my biggest epiphany on this trip was the re-learning in practical terms of something i sort of always knew; Lagos is a Business Capital of Nigeria… no seroius biz man in this country can really thrive without appreciating and learning how to work Lagos… you’ve got to get into it’s empire state of mind.

There’s just how real Lagos business people think (and i’m not talking about the hustlers)… if you hang with them, they are constantly talking product launches, hinter-land distribution, arrival of containers, departure of containers, nation-wide recruitment, a South African or UK partnership, a rising or falling stock e.t.c. … its almost impossible to find a concentration of such active thinkers any where else in the country…and so i’ll keep coming back every now and then…

Lagos, i now longer diss u.. I’m full of respect!

 

2013 UPDATE ::  Guess what?  …  I now live in Lagos

2 Comments

  1. Intoxyka

    This is great article, mainly because it juxtaposes the impression of what people think of Lagos as to what Lagos has become. It was able to capture the essence of Lagos, the hustle n bustle, yet the business culture which is one of its predominant features (partying is another). The need to stand up and make lemonades out of life’s lemons had led to a tidal wave of entrepreneurs and business ideas, some of which are in Lagos. Lastly the ease of reading this piece; the simplicity of your words: simply amazing. Your finish line: classic!!!!!!!!! Great stuff.

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