We are lucky to be living in Lagos. Do you know the hip name of this city? “Lasgidi” that’s the hip name for Lagos. There are many reasons why we christen our city “Lasgidi” but you never know with Lagos. We are lucky to have a city of our own. We are lucky to have such nomenclature to tinker with. We are lucky, too, to have so much little blessings that we will never leave here if we begin to count them and name one by one. We will start my Fela Kuti, and we may stop at Raji Fashola, but half the story will never have been told nor half our blessings counted.
Now this is not the only Lagos there is. This city- before it became such metropolitan monster- used to be called “Eko”. The earliest oyinbo explorers to visit this shore- in those days of empire expansion and the insatiable search for Gold, Spices and the Fount of Youth- had seen such great future prospect of this place that they were inspired to name it Lagos. Our Lagos!
In some enlightened circles, it is opined that the name Lagos is born of the fact that the place is a jumbled collection of lagoons. Lagoons? correct! but I tell you verily, verily, verily that this city of ours is named after such beautiful Obodo Oyinbo place as the Lagos of Portugal: the sun shiny, garden city of Lagos. The Open City of New York used to be called Lagos too before the imperialist gold seekers evicted the natives and changed the name to something new, and something yuck.
Living in Lagos, has its highs and lows; its perk, its shine, and its chaffs too. Lagos also has its wisdom and it’s madness. In here there is the necessary variety that is the spice of life. Little wonder the name “Lasgidi” stuck. There are folks- good peoples- who think Lagos is a loco city. Yes, it is a mad city, but loco? not at all. Which 21st century mega city isn’t mad? Lagos is a Open City like Teju Cole’s New York. Many who have been born here, or ever lived here have nostalgic affections for this place. We all love this place. Someday we will write her tales. Don’t pay no mind to those Aljazeera and BBC video clips about our street life. This is the Lagos of The Poet: Lasgidi.
This is Lagos, home of Legendary Gold, Goethe Institut, Henri Bol Foundation, the Muritala Muhamed International Airport- the busiest airport in Africa; Sheraton Hotels is here, virtually every kingdom and free Country have an Embassy or Commission here in Lagos: Britain, America, France, Germany, Russia (defunct) Trinidad & Tobago, Ethiopia, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Atlantis, to name but few; This is the home of Fela, Charly Boy, Rolling Dollar, Victor Olaiya, Wole Soyinka; Badagry- the slave port from where geniuses were exported to other parts of the world- is in Lagos too you know. I’m sure Einstein was originally from this part, somehow.
Living in Lagos is, a fine story weaving that never ends. No one remembers how it started, but we are all caught in the middle of it. Lord have mercy, the thrills! The frills, the zenith-hitting climax, the plunge-into-nadir ebb of the good feeling- one would think the story draws to a close, but nay! The pages keep turning, the story keep unfolding, new heights, new depths, and we are caught still in the middle. Like fine wine, it leaves you with a good feeling, and like jazz, it plays on even when the music stops.
Eko for show! That’s Lagos. You have to live up, or live down the Gidi of this place without losing it. There is a way to beat the madness of this city. Get mad. Get so mad that you go loco, that is exactly what any mad city will make you do. Beat it, get madder than the city when it gets that way. You just have to be crazier that the senseless traffic jams; racier than the aboki okadas; more rugged than the rickety molues; nastier than the life-sapping mosquitoes; more hapless than the area boys and girls; the way to go in Lagos is to get madder than the mad city. Nothing ever get spoilt here. Everything here in Lagos, AKA Lasgidi, is for show. In Lagos, we say “Eko Oni Baje o!”