Her age wrinkles are bellied by the generous dabbing of the Mary Kayish powder compact; the dark rings of her weary eyes are hidden under shadowy mascaras; and the uncompromising set of her hardlined mouth is effectively softened by a rouge lipstick smear. Lagos is a woman way past her prime. The impeccable, genteel, visage of this stylish hag, as seen on billboards and on TV, is a sham. She has a rotten core. Lagos wasn’t born this way, but a lot can happen in a one’s life to make or mar a one’s personality. Rumours have it that she is the bastard sister of Charles Dicken’s London. Like her sister, she’d been born in a Western Mega-City, but unlike her sister, who’d moved up North to live in a Modern Welfare State, she’d gone down South, driven by economic necessity to eke out a living in the in the slums. She had to deal with a hoard of some 17 million hustlers, turning tricks. And doing good too.

You wouldn’t blame Lagos. She didn’t chose This life, This Life chose her. What more can you expect of a child abandoned by her parents to fend for herself before she reached the ripe maiden age of “Sweet Teen”. Nobody really cared for her. Forster parents and stewards, with whom she’d lived in her formative years, had subjected her to far too much unutterable experiences. It is perhaps decent to say she’s been serially fucked, gang-raped, and robbed. She had cut her teeth on sevitude- not exactly a Cinderella kinda servitude, no! there’s no happy ever-after in her story. She’d grown up the realization that she could make money and get by, opening her legs and giving up her succulent blossoms to whoever has cash to pay. And she get paid in blank cheques for abuse by Money-Miss-Road Aristos; and in hard currencies for “sucking” up to foreigners. Lagos has a deep enough ditch to accommodate all sizes and shape. One deep ditch, and a pit she is, this Lagos.

Yes, Lagos is a whore. Isn’t “Strange Woman” a christian Euphemism for “Whore”? In Proverbs 23 verse 27 it is written that: “for a whore is a deep ditch: and strange woman is a narrow pit.” Lagos has not always been a “Strange Woman”, at least, we all have sundry knowledge of Lagos. I, and a few who fondly call her Lasgidi, had even had carnal knowledge of her, and are still doing. I don’t think we will stop anytime soon; we always come back to her. Lagos The Whore has got that pull, that irresistible attraction for us all- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; The Poor, The poorer, and The Poorest.

Spare me your moral uppity, Lagos isn’t exactly a proverbs 31 woman, she is The Whore of proverbs 23 who “lies in wait for her prey”. Sometimes, she sits at the door of her house on “New Grub Street”, like a dragon that guards a treasure trove, calling out to the gullible JJC saying “stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant”. It is her hustle. She has her oga to settle, who also has an oga to settle who also settles other ogas, all the way up to the Oliver Twisted Political agberus who holds the whole city in fiefdom. There is a cabal which run things in the gutter of a city we call home, where the Hustle is actually a battle of survival, where Money and Bullshit work together better than one alone.

Well, to my mind, if Lagos don’t change her ways (as if she can change) and get converted to a Proverbs 31 Woman, she may fall into ruins like ancient Rome, and only attract tourist and oglers. There seems to be hope for Lagos in Proverb 31 which goes, in verse 11: “the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil”. Talking about “spoil”. Her slogan always is “Eko ‘ni baje o!”


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