How I didn’t realise I was a ‘Lagosian’ until I went to Nsukka


There’s something about Lagos that leaves one in a bubble of feelings. It is easier to navigate around the labyrinth that is Lagos If you were born here than for a new entrant or a tourist. In fact, Lagos should never be considered a tourist destination. You would leave more jaded and confused than you came. Lagos is not nice and it does not care about your feelings.

If I had not met the good fortune of leaving for Nsukka for my undergraduate studies, I would not have understood that some of my habits were abnormal in an averagely normal world. I was impatient, I jumped queues, I expressed my dissatisfaction to anything very hastily. I easily believed that in an argument the person with the louder voice was right. I haggled prices with service providers. If they said N100, I ‘priced’ to N50, if they said N50, it had to come down to N30. Even if the price settled well with me, I would still bargain. It was a culture of ‘open your eyes’ that everyone learnt in Lagos through experience. The cliché ‘experience is the best teacher’ was probably derived after a Lagos review.

Everyone in Lagos is impatient.

On the last day of a particular semester in the University, our class organised a small get-together at a joint called Home Pride. I never really went to Home Pride. Even if we never heard about cultism in UNN, the joint had the markers of where potential cultists could go to. But it was really just a joint anyone went to. So, while the class sat around blue tables that had ‘Star Lager Beer’ crested on them, the other guys who proposed the get-together were intermittently coming and leaving. It showed they were still calculating how much was to be spent. This back and forth took almost an hour whilst we did nothing. Some others shared themselves to gist groups, but I grew impatient. My friend, Ngozi and I stormed outside to rake at the boys for the poor planning. There, we met Joy shouting about the same thing, asking them questions like ‘bomb dey una head?’ There I knew the tout in me was still ‘learning work.’ We all shouted and created a scene. Whilst we were at it, Henry, one of the planners who just really never got planning and still would not admit he was not getting it right immediately yelled ‘Una realise say na only Lagos people dey here dey shout? Una dey give me headache for this class.’ We stopped for a second and confirmed that what he had said was accurate.

It was the light bulb moment for me, realizing that I too had become a ‘Lagosian’.