What makes Lagos so special is probably the inherent variance in its description; the fact that no two persons can aptly describe it in the same way. Like New York, each man reads his own meaning into Lagos. A city that has been called the ‘megacity of the future’ and which could easily become the ‘Singapore of Africa’.
When it comes to describing ‘Eko city’, too many adjectives come to mind but none quite clinches it. It is a place that needs to be experienced to be understood and for people like us; the new age of Lagosians, each new experience serves as a constant reminder of what keeps us grounded.
There’s plenty to think about if the Nigerian city of over 17 million tightly packed inhabitants is the ultimate expression of modern urban living. Lagos is growing at such an astonishing rate that by 2015 it is predicted to be the third largest city in the world, behind Mumbai and Tokyo, but it is an unlikely model metropolis.
I will not attempt to bore you with tales of how three-quarters of Lagos residents live in slums, of how the rail network manages one train per week, of how a number of things should work better in Lagos. If you are looking to read stories in that vein I advise you hightail it off to the BBC where they have artfully documented Lagos as a city where the people manage to eke a living out of squalor and all manner of deprivation. Like any other metropolis around the world, it has its highs and lows; its mansions and shanties, its rich and poor.
I have managed to highlight some of the features that make Lagos tick, features that have made it such a pulsing town that despite its teeming population, more people pour into the city daily. Perhaps, these features do not suitably give meaning to the purpose(s) that brings some of these people away from the comfort of their farms and villages to this city to hustle, but then I already said everyone reads their own meaning into Lagos.
Avid Party Scene
A description of Lagos is incomplete if you haven’t factored in the passionate night life; a city that never sleeps. Lagos is well known for its diverse music scene, tastes ranging from highlife, fuji, Afrobeat and juju to hip hop and R n B, the Lagos party scene caters to all. It is a great place to see live band performances especially if you visit places like Swe bar, Fela’s Shrine and Bogobiri. If you are a party animal, the numerous clubs that dot the Island and mainland should sate that appetite. There are also several concerts and events so keep your dancing shoes on when you are in Lagos, you never know where you might happen upon a party.
While you are in Lagos, take a break from the chaos of the city for a while to relax in the hot African sunshine on one of the city’s beautiful beaches. There are more than a dozen beaches and islands in and around Lagos to choose from.
The Lagos Bar Beach, Kuramo, Oniru and Elegushi are some of the more popular beaches in Lagos where you will see all kinds of bars and people. You should be wary if you happen to be at the beach at nighttime, all sorts have been rumored to happen there. These beaches are often crowded, which might be desirable if a party atmosphere is your scene.
If you are looking for more of a quiet getaway, try Takwa Bay Beach. It is a safe and friendly beach for children, and has facilities for jet skiing and water skiing. You can also visit La Campagne Tropicana, an exotic getaway if ever there was one.
Even more secluded is Lighthouse Beach, where you have a chance of being the only person on the beach.
Museums and Places Of Note
There are several interesting museums in Lagos where you can escape from the heat and learn a bit more about African history and culture. The Nigerian National Museum has quite an impressive collection of Nigerian art, including many beautiful statues and carvings. Lagos is also home to the Black Heritage Museum, which has artifacts and documents from the historic slave route that once ran through the region.
Tafawa Balewa Square used to play host to many state activities like the Independence Day parade, etc. It has since come into disuse since the seat of government was moved from Lagos to Abuja. The horses and the eagles at the gate are national symbols representative of Nigeria’s strength on land and in the air.
Other noteworthy places in Lagos include Lekki Conservation Centre; Slave Relics in Badagry; First Storey Building, Badagry; MUSON Centre, Onikan; National Theatre, Iganmu; and the Oba’s Palace. The Silverbird Galleria, the Palms and the E- Centre are all in one entertainment centers for movies, shopping, events and food.
To survive in Lagos and truly enjoy a visit to this thriving metropolitan, pack an extra dose of ‘can-do’ spirit. I love Lagos. Eko Oni Baje.
Scenes From Lagos