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Surviving in Lagos


Coping with Madhouse Lagos

“In a madhouse, inmates scramble to reserve a space for their own fiefdom.” -Wokinda Saresihn, 2015

When you hear someone, in a rural area and fresh with ambition, say “I wan go HUSTLE for Lagos”, say a prayer for them that they might succeed and not be caught in that perpetual gyre of urban confusion.

The population in New York City is more than what Lagos can ever manage yet it still stays sane. The level of chaos you will witness in New York is organised chaos while that in Lagos is something else. I do think that if such environment as is in Lagos continues to fester, we cannot have growth-minded youth come out of such system. We should take a breather.

First of all, there is the agbero thing which has become synonymous with danfos (commercial yellow buses) and Lagos commute. They cause more chaos and add to the stress which traffic commuters are forced to face every day. Sometimes they provide comic relief which is good for the brain centres associated with good feeling. Nevertheless, the chaos in Lagos is cancelling out most of the positives one can get.

Lagosians have also imbibed so much of agbero brigandage etiquette that they begin to act like one anytime they face a desperate situation. The police are not doing much either; in fact, they add to the whole confusion most times.

The aspiration to enter Lagos and begin the ‘hustle’ proper by any young Nigerian is the signature of ambition. But do we care what this hustle and madhouse culture is imparting on the youth? It seems the “make it by any means” culture is now pushing the young population of Lagos into a life of societal pressure and a life of opting for crime in desperate times. It is beginning to look like the “make way or I jam you” doctrine is getting more preference in our daily outlook to life as well.

The worst is seeing hordes of people in thousands going in one direction and returning in the other direction at rush hours, every day. Not that they have any choice to be picky with jobs and the times they work. How can one be productive and achieve ambitions in such an environment?

Desperately, those who have enough time to be with their partners in the weekend turn to sex for relief. The result is more babies for an over-populated city. Hanging out is not so much an attraction as tourists spots are few and traffic is a huge discouragement for people’s movement to and from these places. When the night comes, people move again to rush what they have been deprived during the day; jumping from one strip club to another nightclub – in a bid to find fulfilment. Yet, no fulfilment still.

Some try to isolate themselves from the mess, holed up in cosy estates; but when they go out the mess stares them in the face everywhere they go again. There is no way an environment such as this won’t eventually chip away at what is left of our humanity until we no longer have any good life left to live except that of perpetually angry and depressed people.

There may be no room for escape except you find some peace in the midst of that chaos. While some have opted for vice in exchange for vice, the smart ones are going for meditative treatment. So while we wait for the government to fix, the only tenable survival line left is to hold to dear sanity.

Breathe. Meditate.

Taking just about 10 mins of your time daily to practice a meditative technique such as mindfulness, yoga and/or transcendental meditation could go a long way in determining whether you make it through the madhouse with your sanity intact. Spending a few minutes per day meditating can help you to absorb the shock effect of the stress and avoid transforming into a horrible human.

Perhaps, once we are clear, and no more in the rush to pick up an estate in the madhouse, we should be close to collectively fixing what used to be our home.


Featured Image Source: Urban Ophile

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Adedoyin Tella

Adedoyin is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you



  1. olusanya Lajubutu

    23rd December 2018 at 7:20 pm

    The writer is absolutely right. What is the solution to this madness in Lagos? I think PATIENT is the solution. Lagosian are too much in an hurry, driving against traffic, hawking goods in the streets in the midst of traffic is some of the issues I identified when in Lagos .The bad roads does not help the situation either. If the law enforcement can do their jobs and not be part of the problem, I think we can achieve some sanity.

    • Adedoyin


      27th December 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Thank you for the thought

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