There is something about Lagos, something you will never find anywhere else. Lagos is many things to different people and it is the reason many people love Lagos.
I personally do. There is a feeling about Lagos, something no where else gives me. I love the energy and the never-say-die attitude of Lagosians. Lagos has the most amazing and incredible people. Lagosians are never low-spirited and have a way of motivating themselves. There is no city like Lagos; I guess there will never be. It is almost like Lagos never sleeps, with people waking up as early as 4am you have workers, business people, hustlers, pick pockets, hoodlums, armed robbers and all categories of MOGs (Men of God) at the bus stop. There is a rhythm of noise and fun that lives in Lagos. I love Lagos for so many reasons.
Dreams come true on the streets of Lagos, you find people with energy and boundless optimism. It is a land for everybody and no matter whom you are, you can find your level here. I have to admit that Lagos is very noisy, that is the bad side, everything is loud, music vendors play music very loud and it can threaten insanity if you are new comers, people get used to it. Lagos is a place that people grow with experiences and with all these things, the love for Lagos have to be acquired (don’t you agree?). People from all tribes, religion have made Lagos their home because there is no other place to them. Lagos is fun, Lagos is energy, Lagos is style, Lagos is Lagos! Everything seems to be available here and you find strange things here. Lagos is the entertainment capital of the Nigeria, it no wonder M.I called it LASGIDI. Over the years, Lagos has been transformed and it only makes you love Lagos more. It is truly the centre of excellence.
The history of Lagos makes me love Lagos even more and right from the very beginning people have drawn to this city and people will always be coming.
Lagos is located in south western Nigeria on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, West of the River Niger Delta. Located on Longitude 3° 24̍̍E and Latitude 6 27̍̍N.
AWORI (Awo ti ri) : “The plate sank”
Originally inhabited by the Awori, a sub-group of Yoruba speaking people. They were ruled under the leadership of their Olofin. It is believed that the Olofin and his followers left the palace of the then emperor, Oduduwa in Ile-Ife and migrated southwards along the river. The emperor gave Olofin a mud plate which he put on the river and was told to follow till it sank. Anywhere it sank, would be where he would settle. The plate was said to have stopped several places. It was said to have stopped temporarily near Olokemeji near the present day Abeokuta in Ogun State but moved after 17 days to Oke-afa still in the present day Ogun State. Some of Olofin followers are said to have settled led by one man named Osho aro-bi-ologbo-egan. The plate stopped at Isheri where it stayed longer and some followers remained but after 289 days, the played moved towards Iddo, where it stopped briefly after 2 days and finally it moved to Idumota, where it sank to the bottom. Olofin was said to have told his group in excitement when he was asked about the plate. He said “Awo ti ri” meaning the plate has sunk. This is the origin of the name AWORI. Very interesting, I have to say.
In the 15th century, the Awori settlement was attacked by the Benin Empire following a quarrel and the name EKO meaning war camp was given to the place under the then Oba of Benin, Oba Orhogba. This is getting even interesting, I used to think Eko was Yoruba; it is a Benin Language after all.
The name Lagos was given to it by the Portuguese meaning lakes. A Portuguese explorer named Rui de Sequeira visited the area in 1472 naming the area around the city Lago De Curamo. (reminds me of Kuramo beach) It is believed that it was named after a maritime town in Portugal, the main centre of the Portuguese expedition down the African Coast, whose name is derived from the Latin word Lacobriga (Lakes).
Migrants from all over Nigeria and other neighbouring nations were returnee former slaves, some whom have been freed (known as Creoles) came from Freetown, Brazil and the West Indies to Lagos. These people contributed to the modernization of Lagos, having travelled far and advantage of western education, civilization, some used their knowledge of Portuguese architecture in development of Lagos and some of these building can be seen in Lagos Island. It is no wonder Lagos and Eko for short can not be like anywhere else. With that calibre of people coming into Lagos at that time, it makes it clear why Lagos is ahead of many cities in Nigeria and people will always be drawn to it. Lagos is such that after you have been “Lagosilized” (my description of Lagos civilization), you can hardly stay longer time in other places in Nigeria and sometimes, other countries of the world, you always want to come back, the other places seem too bored. I love Lagos!
Creoles or Saros
These are the freed slaves or former slaves who migrated to Nigeria early 1830s. They were known locally as Saros (those from Sierra Leone) or Amaros (migrants from Brazil and Cuba). Returnees from Brazil were known as Aguda (reminds me of Aguda in Surulere). Some have settled in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Brazil and Cuba. The interesting part is that many of these returnees chose to remain in Nigeria and particularly Lagos for cultural and economic reasons. Very interesting. Some also did for missionary purposes. The feeling is still on, we love Lagos and there is something about Lagos.
The history of Lagos is fascinating. It tells why Lagos is different. I love this city. It inspires me. The population of Lagos is growing constantly and the city is growing. The government of Lagos has a system that works better than many states and Lagos never gets boring. Lagos is one state with what I like to call a “flag”. The state has her motto. The last time I checked I cannot count how many states have that except in America where each state has a flag. I am beginning to think that Lagos is a country on its own inside Nigeria. Things are different here, people think differently in Lagos. The system and the workings are different. So much for Lagos, I guess.
I remember that Jayz’s song with Alicia Keys, Empire State of Mind where he talks of New York being a concrete jungle where dreams are made of; there is nothing you cannot do when you are in New York. Nice song! Lagos may not be as developed as New York but the song applies to Lagos and the people. Lagos is the land of hustling and here, people’s dreams happen. You see people’s lives change and here I tend to see that people cannot be intimidated. The man in the Hummer Jeep cannot oppress
Even after the recent flooding, people still want to stay. Many people have stayed here all their lives and they do not see how they can fit elsewhere, one of the reason why Lagos is Lagos.
Inside Lagos Traffic things happen, on the streets things have personalities, as you ride in the bus or in your car, what you see or hear is most times peculiar to Lagos.
Lagos inspires me and it builds my energy……love this city. There is always someplace to go, things to do. If you are the type that takes chances, you’ll enjoy Lagos. Lagos is the land of opportunities. Stories of grass to grace are common in Lagos because in Lagos you don’t have to know anyone to succeed. The lessons you learn from everyday interactions, situations build your character, sharpen your thinking and guide your choices. Not like you cannot do it anywhere else but in Lagos, your chances are better. This is Nigeria’s entertainment capital. As crazy, fast and loud as it is, I still love it. I have acquired that taste! I love Lagos. It is an interesting city. It may sound biased but I believe if you can survive here in Lagos, you can anywhere in the world.
Lagos is a great place to live. Lagos is Eko and Eko is Lagos!
Eko oni Baje o, O baje ti…..