It was a cool Tuesday evening of the Orators meet. I was happy to resume from the long break, the meeting proceeded and I was called on during the impromptu session to talk on “Will Nigeria survive if there was a war?”
The impromptu session ended and it was time for prepared speeches, the young man who sat beside me stood to give his speech and I was thrilled. After the presentation I asked if I could share it with Perry’s Tots fam, but guess what, he was going to ask too! I was excited, so enjoy and don’t forget to drop your comment!
I hate Lagos! Hate has caused a lot of problems but hasn’t solved one yet once said Maya Angelou a poet I admire so much, but the question I ask you is what emotion comes to the fore when you are being suffocated in the midst of 20 million people; each one of them contributing to the horrendous mix of odors that is all pervading in this city, each one of them paying their daily tithes to the explosive noises that can paralyze elephants. I know I must have deceived most of you with my title into believing that this is a piece that sets out about extolling the virtues of this ‘charming’ city but I’m sure at this point you have a contrary opinion. What I have simply done is play a card on you, a move Lagos makes on us every day; because Lagos lies to us and hoodwinks us every day of our lives from dawn to dusk. My friend, do not be deceived, Anthony is not a village and Maryland is not where saints reside.
I hate Lagos but not just because it serves as a ready theatre where acts of atrocities of the basest kinds are acted out to an enraptured audience. I was one an unwilling witness to a robbery that involved two young men tearing out the earlobes of a grandmother just for a miserable pair of copper earrings. I have heard about a particularly wicked one that was staged at another branch of the Lagos theatre of evils, not far from my temporary city abode, this one again involved a diabolical set of twins in the form of two young men but this time their victim was a nursing mother, and what did they do to her, they cut off her two nipples just because she had nothing to give to them. Believe me only psychos borne of Lagos are capable of such an abomination.
I hate Lagos not because of the stifling overcrowding of its neighborhoods or the constant overflowing of its repugnant canals that make its slums fit only for bestial habitation at best.
I hate Lagos but not because of the multitudinous patois spoken on its narrow ugly streets and definitely not because of the mountainous divide, the large pit it has dug to separate the rich from the destitute; forget the fact their affluence and their squalor are so starkly juxtaposed.
Now some of you might think that this is just a passionate diatribe of a wide eyed, naïve, village boy against this sophisticated machinery of a city that he cannot understand but I tell you that I like the boy that I was and the man that I have become. The kind of man that actually stops to admire the simple but pristine wonders of nature like the ocean waves gently kissing the golden brown sun in a majestic sunset. The kind of man that gazes in wonderment at magnificent skyscrapers and complex overhead bridges that are proof that the human mind is capable of magic. I would love to do my ocean watching and skyscraper gazing without having to hear a tobacco-smoke sautéed voice behind me grunting ‘chairman, anything for ya boy?’ neither would I like to turn around and stare into the cold muzzle of semi-automatic pistol demanding for my phone so I hate Lagos !
I hate Lagos because it is impersonal and cold to its core. Because of its cutthroat standards of living; if the unit price of garri in Lagos is 1,000 naira for example, the unit price for the same quantity of garri of even better quality in Ilesha or Akure will be 500 naira. Lagos brings out the worst in the best of us. It imbibes in our psyche an excessive urge, not just to survive but to live large by feeding on other peoples misery. I’m not saying bad things don’t happen elsewhere too but Lagos is the capital of all things evil. Lagos sets the trends in the latest fashion of immorality, profanity and corruption. So I hate Lagos.
I hate Lagos because its inhabitants who speak in affected and ‘high class’ dialects look down on newcomers and beginners as picayune and cheap. Do not get me wrong though, I’m not asking you to flee this bedlam of a city; because for some of you even if your body leaves, your soul will remain here in this city. All I’m asking from you is that you should attempt to lessen your own contribution to this hullabaloo and maybe, just maybe one day, sanity will return.
All in all never look down on a visitor because their name might be Umar Farouk and they are going to hate you for it and believe me you don’t want an Umar Farouk hating on you.
Photo credit: Google images.
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Well, I love Lagos! Lol, brilliant article Umar!
I knew this would be Umar way before i got to the end! He writes well, I’m sure he even said it better than i read it in my head.
Very “beautiful” write up….really got me thinking…you are still a bush boy tho Umar :p…nice piece..keep it up!