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The Nigerian Way – Survival Of The Fittest

Well little did I know when I arrived to Lagos the life I knew abroad was going to come with an unbelievable price tag. Believe me, I’m not naive. I expected some change but nothing compared to what I actually experienced. My previous visits were on vacations which was short and sweet. I would visit friends and family all over, go to social events, do some shopping, and lay out on private beaches, meditating. These experiences lured me back. Being a fashion designer, I sometimes pulled inspiration from the different cultures. When the opportunity came to move to Lagos, I hopped on it. I was filled with so much inspiration and new energy…ready to conquer this part of the world.


As I began to learn the system here, I realized that all the things I use to take for granted like having electricity constantly, internet access, customer service, security and good health care were all considered privileges with a hefty price tag. And, though, you pay for them, it doesn’t mean it’s going to function well either. Having lived in a city like New York that is structured and efficient makes it hard to deal. I quickly found out through interacting with the locals daily that lying, scamming and prejudging people was a way of life here. For example, when you enter a market you are immediately prejudged by the seller based on your appearance and accent. If you are new in town like me, you already know they are going to hike the prices up. You go back and forth with the seller trying relentlessly to come up with a reasonable price point, even when you do get it you might later find out the price you paid was double its actual worth.


People here are so hungry that they will go to any length for the sake of survival. All my thoughts are how can we change this lawless country? I try to do my part by re- educating people that there are other ways of life. I truly believe that each one of us can make a difference if we don’t give up. Taking a phrase from OBAMA” Yes we can”. It might not be in my life time but maybe in my kid’s life time.



  1. Trendy March 10, 2009 Reply

    Hmmm…. more like our grandkids lifetime, because we have a looooong way to go in Nigeria. Stay strong i can relate to your frustrations of returning back to Nigeria, after having been away for over a decade.

  2. kemi March 12, 2009 Reply

    living in nigeria is like living any where else. you have to take your time and i hope you have good friends and family that can assist you. as far as the fashion industry is concern i hope you know the key players eventhough it seems like the fashion industry is not organized there some hand full of people and media outlets that control it that why certain designers in nigeria are popular. i have been living here for 3 years just stay strong.

  3. Adewale Ajadi August 18, 2010 Reply

    It saddens me that the children of privilege always find Nigeria wanting . But wanting for what ? If you come to Nigeria to plant then you will find it a season of incredible opportunities as you sweat and toil in the fertile land with 150 million potential mouths to feed. You expect that the toil will be demanding . You cannot use the experience of reaping from somewhere else to compare with toiling elsewhere. Somebody toiled in New York so you can reap. Many of the toilers were raped, abused and tortured for centuries. Nigeria is not one thing but many things to many people and for me who is 4 years returned the saviour of my life and the renewal of my soul. It hurts that all the time many casually disdain and defile her name for failures of consumption. For all you consume will become waste ! To also reduce the people to exploiters , come on. The Nigerian market is the most honest of places. The price goes up because the real price is always at the price you can pay. Is it right for the downtrodden to pay the say price as your silk swathed palms? In trying to find the real price of course when I arrive in my 4×4 it is an opportunity to make a profit that might have eluded all day. It is a sophisticated and just manner. Have you ever tried to sit down one day in the market and just observe and talk? Your white friends would. As for us we rarely even engage our people beyond what we need from them. I am the son of a market woman. I find life and honesty in the dialogue amongst the true custodians of our Zietgeist.

    All these like the story of a Great Tuareg leader who had the story all over the Sahara about Shadia the great love of Sulaiman of Timbuktu. He asked his men to find this great beauty and have her brought before him by all means. After months of search his men finally dragged the woman into his tent . He had her unscarf her face and before him was no great beauty that set the rain falling and the moon smiling but a simple desert girl. In his shock he could not hide his surprise. Shadia then responded you are not the first or last to be disappointed by my look but like others you are not Sulaiman . So read his poetry and leave his woman.

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