… where sa-tyres never go flat

From Our Allies

Street 101: Five lessons from the (Lagos) city

Street 101: Five lessons from the (Lagos) city

By: Timileyin Precious

The city tag — in very few words — is a goldmine. It attracts fame and respect to any place that carries it. Well, naturally, there is a rush for golden things   — that’s a gold rush.  As it stands, however, many small places in Nigeria — not more than mere settlements — proudly identify as cities! This is quite ridiculous, but well, who no like better name?

The following are life lessons that my city has taught me. If your place doesn’t have these things, if you have no knowledge of them, duhhh, jokes on you, village person. Never ever say you are from the city.


In the city, you have to be fit to survive. But wait! How do you define fitness? Is it by having 12 packs like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Oh! You think it’s by running 1000 miles every morning on some fancy track? Nah, those are very wrong definitions.

In my city, fitness is defined by how fast you can run and grab a moving locomotive. It is by how smooth you can perform a James Bond when you want to get down from a Danfo. It is by how gracefully you can strike a Kylie Jenner at the entrance of a moving bus without falling to the ground.  Life is evolving; it has no place for slow people and weaklings. Such is a lesson from the city.


This confirms the wisdom of the famous philosopher, Adamu Aristotle, when he said, “ENI MO WAY LO MO WE.” No dear, wisdom is not in your ability to read Shakespeare and analyze it. It is not by being a nerd too!

True city wisdom solely lies in your ability to scam (this is an old word; it is called leveraging now) people, especially the ones who throw caution to the wind. It is the ability to quickly see through when you are about to be a victim. You know, a wise man once sold fufu for 300 USD. Well, if that is not wisdom, then I don’t know what is. Life has no need for dull people, such is the wisdom of the city.


In the city, you are expected to be strong and always ready for action. Everyone is (or should be) a fighter. You have to be ready to defend your rights. Isn’t that the ideal of freedom, of democracy? is that not what we are trying to uphold? fighting your way through?

For instance, if a taxi (you do not call them this in cities by the way) driver does not give you your change on time, demand for your rights, curse him! If another car bumps you on his own lane, slap the diver! If you are on a queue, fight your way to the front! The way to ever achieving true freedom is by fighting. Therefore, a fighting spirit, we must all cultivate.


My city has taught me that greatness demands sacrifice. Do not be scared, you don’t need blood and rituals. You sacrifice money! In the city, you (must) buy a bunch of bananas for a thousand naira. A plate of food for 50,000 naira, a bottle of water for half that price.

It is one of the sacrifices for greatness. Great things are never cheap and only great men can live in great places. Don’t expect to eat Amala at the same amount those villagers do; don’t expect to spend like they spend. This is a price for greatness.

To succeed in life, you have to be different from the normal, you have to stand out, just like my city. If these lessons just provoked very deep thoughts in you, tule joor! Introspection is a thing of the past, a village thing. Learn from my city, be wild, be random, be cool.

Timileyin Precious is a student writer and a lover of art. He is interested in politics, history and philosophy, and tweets @san_toryuu.

3.8 6 votes
Article Rating

Share this post

Wanna leave a reply?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x