Gbolabo Amusan: Lagos has a culture- it is hustle [Nigerian Voices]

by Gbolabo Amusan

“Don’t Be Stupid, Don’t Be Slow, Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a fool”, words on the plinth of the three Elders (Agba Meta) statue at the entrance to Lagos. Every society has norms, tastes, traditions peculiar to it and hustle is Lagos’ main culture. The attitudes and behavioural characteristics of people of Lagos reinforce one belief, “hustle till you make it”.

The ideology of a society plays a great role in how it sees and responds to life, in America materialism is one of such ideologies, that is why Americans keep producing and Americans keep consuming. Hustling is inherent in the spirit of the people of Eko, it makes us go the extra mile to succeed amidst negativities, to never feel satisfied until we have gotten to the top, it awakens us to the realities of life and we want to achieve more from life because we know that we can and we will. Hustling is the set of beliefs, notions and ideas that drive the actions and attitudes of the Eko citizens.

The beautiful thing about hustling in Lasgidi is that it is a personal yet unifying experience, it means something different to different people, some see it as being sharp, strong and agile in every situation while others see it as being cunning, to the rich hustle is about making more money while to the poor it is to get rich however, no matter how you view hustle, it requires hard work, resilience and perseverance to achieve a common goal which is to be prosperous. A northerner pushing wheelbarrow across Mile-12 market knows that for him to reach his intended target for that day he has to be faster than his competitors or rather a Danfo driver who has to deliver a fixed amount of money to the bus owner is aware that he has to be faster on the road than other commercial drivers on his route and a Lagos fraudster believes that to make money in Lagos, he has to be cunning and smarter than his client. For me, hustle is anything that you know how to do better than anybody else, one of my hustle is marketing and

This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organised by YNaija.com.

We publish, unedited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected]

Please see below the criteria for submission

  • The subject of your email must be titled Nigerian Voices
  • Include your full name and working phone numbers
  • Word Count:  400 – 1, 500-word article entries
  • The theme you are required to write on is My Sexcapades
  • Send your entries to [email protected]
  • Entries that don’t meet the criteria above will be disqualified

i sell anything I lay my hands upon because I a very good at selling and i develop myself at it daily.

Lagosians are assured that they will be successful in Lagos because other people just like them have been successful. Some of us have seen throwback pictures of 2baba, Phyno, Ice Prince, MI and are inspired by the stories of how they left their states of residence across different parts of Nigeria to push their sound in Lagos and they became successful at it. My father once saw his neighbour leave the walls of my hometown to ply trade in Lagos only to come back a few years later with considerable wealth and immediately he packed his bag and entered the next bus going to Lagos with a strong conviction that he also would make a living for himself like just like his neighbour and he did.

Hustle is a recurring rhetoric I have been hearing since I came of age, it follows me everywhere and anywhere. The ideology is reinforced by the media, arts, and literature and our daily interactions. Since age long, musicians have sung about their hustle in Lagos, Pa Chris Ajilo a popular highlife musician sang a song in 1956 which highlights the way of life of Lagosians titled “Eko o gba gbere”. In recent years popular musicians have explored the same subject most notably are Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba”, Orezi’s “Double your hustle”, Brymo’s One pound. Photographers often have a keen interest in capturing the daily hustle of Lagosians and Nigerian authors like Igoni Barrett have told stories of the Lagos hustle. I once sold Okrika goods popularly called “OK” to the students of Unilag, I had to wake up as early as 4 am so as to get to the market before Lagos traffic kicks in, the market is a Spartan war on its own as different buyers struggle to get the best clothes from the bay while also safeguarding their money in their pockets. If I become a musician I would surely include it in my song and the chorus would go thus “I sell Okrika before before but now I dey chill with Okorocha, Baba I hail you”

Finally, as Lagosians, we pride ourselves in our way of life and we proudly tell you “If you no get sense for Lagos, you no fit get sense anywhere for world”, what this implies is that -Lagos will teach you but it is left for you to learn.


This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organised by YNaija.com.

We publish, un-edited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected]

Please see below the criteria for submission

  • The subject of your email must be titled Nigerian Voices
  • Include your full name and working phone numbers
  • Word Count:  400 – 1, 500-word article entries
  • The theme you are required to write on is My Sexcapades
  • Send your entries to [email protected]
  • Entries that don’t meet the criteria above will be disqualified

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