Lagos: The collective madness

The view from outside the hen house

I was born in lagos. 4am at the Onikan maternity home on the Island. I lived on the island till I was three. I remember very little about those years, but I do recall it being very full. Full of life, love and family. Lots and lots of family. Fast-forward two decades and it all still looks familiar even though everything has changed.

I have visited Lagos only a couple times after moving to the capital city, staying indoors for the most part and no longer than a couple weeks. It is needless to say; I am no expert at anything Lagos. And that is exactly why I am qualified to write this.

I am currently visiting Lagos again but something is different this time. I am older, so I get to experience Lagos the way everybody does and I come armed with my right to hold an opinion. And so far it has not dissapointed.


I went out to the Lagos Metropolis “èkó” on the island a couple of times with my uncle. He would puctuate every ten or so minutes whilst he was driving with “These people are mad men” or “See this mad man” and I would just laugh! Not because I like seeing insults hurled around but because at some level he actually means it. These people are mad.

As I sat on the BRT bus to Ojota from Ikorodu and thought about that day, I reckoned he was right. Maybe everybody in Lagos is actually Just a little bit mad. Everybody is just a little psychologically imbalanced, not enough to be condemned to Aro but just enough to ensure that everybody is just a little bit “crazy”. As if on cue, the bus driver stopped on the way and the guy at the back of the bus that was standing room only, felt entitled to tell the driver when to move and was consequently dissapointed when the driver ignored him. I mean ?! 😂

I think this kind of behavior is normal in Lagos and I dare say expected. My theory is Everyone expects that sort of behavior from the next person so they in turn prepare themselves for it, even preempt it sometimes. Everybody feeding off the energy from the next person, creating some sort of hive.

Lagos demands something from you, if you don’t put up, you would be taught a very painful lesson.

I’ve met people who grew up in Lagos back in university and they are just normal folk. But put them back in this city and I believe the story would be different. Lagos does something to you. I once met a man who was a leader in his parish, come to grips with a “Faragon” bus driver. Should he have done so? No, but it is not that simple. There has to be book that covers how to handle life in Lagos. And as sure as dawn there is. Behold:

I am just glad that the government had noticed this and published this because I dont know what we would do, we would be totally at sea with out this. It comes fully packed with useful titles like “Dealing with the traffic”, “A guide to Morning Devotion in the bus -by 5am” and “Dont slap that Faragon driver”.

Lagos might be many things but never let it be said that it lacked character. I would always feel a connection to this amazing city. èkó òni bajé ooo.

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