If cities were a drink, then Lagos would definitely be a cocktail. No, not that expensive one they bring in an ice bath or that wear orange slices and covers itself in a straw umbrella, but local cocktail. I mean the cocktail that is a mixture of roots and herbs and lime and pineapple and gin … Yes, that agbo you see on the head of a hawker or a concoction joint. Lagos is that kind of cocktail: a blunt mixture of everything in life without sugarcoat.

Chris Abani captured the essence of our city in his collection of short stories he calls Lagos Noir, but this piece is not about his book. It is about our taste of these tastes.

How Lagos is to you is dependent on where you are and what you are experiencing at the moment under scrutiny. It is more like the part of the immiscible local cocktail that you are tasting. That is why we Lagosians talk about it in collections of complaints and excitements. It is our complex Lagos and we dole out its cynicism, fatalism and ambiguity to your ears as we wish. You only have to listen.

But let me warn you, IF YOU ARE NOT LAGOSIAN, DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT LAGOS TO US. Why? Because you are not entitled to. Your four hours in traffic to Lekki twice in your life is not sufficient, after all, it is a daily routine for many, so keep your traffic experience to yourself, that was tourism.

If you once stayed in Lagos, especially if you had not been a confirmed Lagosian, be quite too. I mean, you have no right, YOU HAVE LEFT!

Hold on, how dare someone ask if there is sunset in Lagos? Of course they may often be covered by buildings or we may be too busy to notice their beautiful hue, but don’t put these excuses to our faces. What did we do wrong for God to hide His beautiful canvas painted on clouds from us? Come on… He is more generous than that, He is not like Lagos merchants that can sell air if given the chance.

And so I took the pictures below as a response to that annoying question. Yes, the sun is beautiful in Lagos too. Some of us can spare the moment and stare, even as many passersby will look at us as lost children of Lagos, or perhaps as people wasting precious hurry-time in a venture that will not bring money.

yes, in Lagos we have sunset too

I know that some Lagosians think that if you are not here, you are in one primitive place where people live on trees like monkeys. I know that some even think this is the only city, but please don’t take away the fiery smile of the sun from a city that is livelier than life itself.

Eko oni baje o

Our Lagos fine, no spoil am pass as e dey with your mouth.

Your support is appreciated

I’m sure you enjoyed your experience here and would like to make a kind donation to me. Thank you, in advance!


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