Chiamamnda Adichie who reflected on living in Lagos in her new essay, stated that the suave man in Lagos drives a Range Rover but is penniless. The celebrity author who revealed that she has lived part-time in Lagos for 10 years and always complain about it each time she returns from her home in the US, added that her complaint borders on its allergy to order, its stultifying traffic, its power cuts.
Further stating that the suave man in Lagos drives a Range Rover but is penniless in her essay for Esquire’s new Travel & Adventure issue, Chimamanda Adichie wrote;
Lagos will not court you. It is a city that is what it is. I have lived part-time in Lagos for 10 years and I complain about it each time I return from my home in the US — its allergy to order, its stultifying traffic, its power cuts. I like, though, that nothing about Lagos was crafted for the tourist, nothing done to appeal to the visitor. Tourism has its uses, but it can mangle a city, especially a developing city, and flatten it into a permanent shape of service: the city’s default becomes a simpering bow, and its people turn the greyest parts of themselves into colourful props. In this sense, Lagos has a certain authenticity because it is indifferent to ingratiating itself; it will treat your love with an embrace, and your hate with a shrug. What you see in Lagos is what Lagos truly is.
And what do you see? A city in a state of shifting impermanence. A place still becoming. In newer Lagos, houses sprout up on land reclaimed from the sea, and in older Lagos, buildings are knocked down so that ambitious new ones might live. A street last seen six months ago is different today, sometimes imperceptibly so — a tiny store has appeared at a corner — and sometimes baldly so, with a structure gone, or shuttered, or expanded. Shops come and go.
Today, a boutique’s slender mannequin in a tightly pinned dress; tomorrow, a home accessories shop with gilt-edged furniture on display.
Admiralty Road is cluttered, pulsing, optimistic. It is the business heart of Lekki, in the highbrow part of Lagos called The Island. Twenty years ago, Lekki was swampland and today the houses in its estates cost millions of dollars. It was supposed to be mostly residential but now it is undecided, as though partly trying to fend off the relentless encroachment of commerce, and partly revelling in its ever-growing restaurants, nightclubs and shops.
I live in Lekki, but not in its most expensive centre, Phase 1. My house is farther away, close to the behemoth that is the oil company Chevron’s headquarters. A modest house, by Lekki standards. “It will be under water in 30 years,” a European acquaintance, a diplomat in Lagos, said sourly when I told him, years ago, that I was building a house there. He hated Lagos, and spoke of Lagosians with the resentment of a person who disliked the popular kids in the playground but still wanted to be their friend. I half-shared his apocalyptic vision; he was speaking to something unheeding in Lagos’s development. Something almost reckless.