“I didn’t step Lagos until my university days. I made the first trip to Lagos on my own when I was to sit for a scholarship test somewhere around in Maryland in my 100 level. I didn’t see much of Lagos because I came in and out hurriedly. Lagos didn’t look like much to me at the time because I only passed through Iyana Ipaja, Ikeja, and Maryland, plus the fact that the test I was to write occupied my thoughts.
All I saw about Lagos was its roughness (too many people) and the fact that I had to struggle to enter and drop from a moving bus. In Ibadan, buses and cabs waited for me to enter and drop safely before zooming off. I remember asking myself what the fuss about Lagos had been all about. My real Lagos experience started when I came to Lagos sometimes in 2013 for my SIWES (Industrial attachment). I was there for 8 months at a stretch. And from then on, I have constantly been in and out of Lagos.
I remember the inner battle I fought with myself because I thought that the clothes I wore in Ibadan would not be good enough for Lagos. That’s how highly I thought of Lagos. How wrong I was! Matter-of-factly, “bend down select” sells more in Lagos than in Ibadan. I had my first real experience with those clothes in Lagos. So-called big girls patronize thrift stores a lot. You ask this one where she got the nice things she has on, and she tells you they are from a thrift store. You ask the other one… same thing. That’s how I got initiated. lol. You get really nice clothing at cheaper rates than in Ibadan. Wares and wears are readily available to you here in Lagos than in Ibadan or any other place I have been to in Nigeria. And, at any time of the day, you can always get edible things to buy.
Another thing that amazes me about Lagos is the quality of cars on the road. Nothing like the worn out cars you get to see often on Ibadan roads. In Lagos, you mostly see the latest versions of cars; hardly will you see jaga jaga cars, save for the danfos. Talking of fine cars, unlike in Ibadan where having a fine car translates to being rich and having/living in a really beautiful apartment, it is not so in Lagos. People live in cramped apartments and still cruise around in really nice cars.
One of the things I enjoy in Lagos, which is somewhat missing in Ibadan, is the fact that cars wait for you to cross the busy roads. Now, I told some “Lagosians” that I enjoy this aspect of Lagos, and they were quick to debunk it. I only wish they would go to Ibadan for a month and see how nasty private car drivers can be. The mentality in Ibadan is that the car-owner is superior to pedestrians. Hence, it is the place of pedestrians on the road to try as much as possible to avoid cars. In Lagos, it is different: cars wait for you to cross.
Then I am aware that people are quick to say that “In Lagos, you are on your own.” I think this is not true, based on my experience. People are quick to help you especially in locating where you are going. You simply need to ask. However,
acting dull or dumb will not serve you in Lagos. Just as there are good people, there are also very many people waiting to swindle you in Lagos… many pickpockets.
In Lagos, there are more modern facilities and infrastructure accessible to you. It’s the place where I took the lift, used the escalator and many other modern stuff for the first time. These things are everywhere in Lagos. Whereas in Ibadan, you find them only in malls that just waltzed into the city not too long ago. Also, there are far many places to unwind in Lagos than in Ibadan. So, if you ask me, I’d tell you that Lagos has widened my horizon in many ways.
One of the big issues I however have with Lagos is the high prices of accommodation. Damn! It is killing. Agent fee alone goes as high as N100,000. Also, in Lagos, people are quick to exploit you. For example, this minute, transport fare is N100. The next minute, because of rain or increase in the number of people wanting to enter bus, it becomes N200 or even N300. The rate of increase can be exponential like that. Unlike in Ibadan where the drivers barely go higher than N20 or N50 extra.
Even though commuting Lagos and Ibadan takes less than two hours, these two places are worlds apart; Lagos being on the better side, actually. Lagos is populous and more culturally diverse. Lagos is rich – it is a home to many multinationals and promising SMEs. In comparison with Ibadan, Lagos is a place full of opportunities and exposure. This explains why people troop into Lagos day in day out in search of greener pasture.
Currently, I work in Lagos and based on logistics, I am here to stay. I am proud of my Ibadan heritage and I boldly shout it to anyone that cares to listen that “Omo Ibadan ni mi” but I will preferably settle in Lagos.”