Over the past 24 hours, the Nigerian cyberspace has seen a brutal fight for superiority between the Center of Excellence and the Center of Unity. It is unclear who started this fight or how it started, but in a few minutes, we will know the superior place.
From my observation, there were lots of ‘cherry-picking’, I just hope we will agree with all of the most important points I have gathered from the defenders of both cities.
Defenders of Lagos: Chukwuba Chiluba, Akhigbe Samson, Victor Ibeh, Vasily Mikhailovich, Rhamcee, Mercy Ebiere Promise, Uzoma Divine, Ibraheem Ayodeji, Andy Akhigbe, Jennifer Emelife. Imisioluwa Ifedayo.
Knights of Abuja: Victor Daniel, Bibian Chinenye, Azaya, Afolayan Oluyemi, Mitchell Odimegwu, Burning Bush, Nkechi Bianze.
Judge: Soogun Omoniyi.
We will be examining the points under 10 categories.
1. “Lagos is the heart of business in Nigeria.”
2. “Lagos has a huge influence on Africa, not just Nigeria, Abuja can remain on their codeine diet.”
3. “Lagos is the 5th largest economy in Africa.”
4. “Most companies have their headquarters in Lagos.”
My Verdict: Lagos wins this easily. It has the best economy in Nigeria with a GDP of 33.679 billion USD as of 2010. On second place is Rivers state, then Delta state, Oyo State, etc. Abuja, asides yams, and millet are not known to produce anything important to Nigeria.
1. “It was in this same Lagos that we decided Abuja’s future o.”
2. “Abuja people don’t even have shame sef after borrowing land from Niger, Nassarawa, and Kogi.”
3. “The Lagos-Abuja debate is a case of biting the fingers that fed you.”
4. “Where was Abuja when Ikeja was the capital of Nigeria?”
My Verdict: Abuja is like Dubai; artificial and planned. Its history started after 1960. Lagos does not have the richest history in Nigeria but it has seen and survived things. It holds many secrets, beautiful and sad memories. History is good, memories make us. The foundations of Nigeria were laid in Lagos. Another win for Lagos.
EASE AND QUALITY OF LIFE
1. “We jump out of the bus before it stops.” Lagos.
2. “I need to be in Lagos in not less than 6-months from now but less than a year from now, and my heart is already pounding. I keep thinking how I’m going to cope. What kind of a city is that?”
3. “Each time I get into Lagos, I feel suffocated. The air seems so “over-saturated”. It feels like 1000 people are using the air naturally meant for 50 people, so the air has an unhealthy mix of carbon dioxide and other “foreign oxides”.
4. “You can get a medical degree, a law degree and a girl who you’ll court and marry while in a Lagos traffic.”
5. “The ultimate ambition of the Lagos state politician is to quickly finish serving in Lagos and get elevated to live in Abuja.”
6. “Life expectancy in Nigerian could have been 75 years but Lagosians dragged downtime average to 48 years.”
7. “It was in Lagos I first experienced hold up while trekking.”
My Verdict: Abuja deservedly has this point. I dread Lagos too. Abuja is one of the best places you can settle in Africa. It’s in the top 3 most beautiful cities on the continent. Great road network which provides an amazing transportation, good air and therapeutic landscape, clean city, relatively fine customer care services and steady power supply.
ENTERTAINMENT AND FUN
1. “How many events that bring people together from all across the country and world are held in Abuja?”
2. “Lagos is the heart of entertainment in Nigeria.”
3. “Abuja is becoming too lonely among the league of cities, we need to do urgently stop this before people assume no one lives in Abuja again and cut out Abuja from the map.” -Ayo Animashaun, concerning the Headies.
4. “Please, can someone remind me when the last Beach Party was held in Abuja?”
5. “I’ve lived in Abuja for nine months now. Yeah, calm and beautiful sceneries. We get it. But please, I miss my Lagos. Abuja is a nonliving thing, Lagos is effervescent.”
6. “Take Davido to Abuja and his career will just die.”
My Verdict: no-brainer. Lagos wins. Lagos has songs dedicated to it. I was in Abuja recently, and I got really angry at how quiet it had become as early as 8pm. Lagos is the capital of Nigeria’s music and film industry. It is about the only 24-hour city here.
Even that Jabi lake will soon die of loneliness.
SANITY AND CRAZE
1. “That time that I went to Ikeja City Mall, and I saw someone hawking bananas inside the mall.”
2. “Cooperate people in other cities do 9-5, but in Lagos, it’s 5-9.”
3. “I once saw a man brushing his teeth from the window of a moving bus around 5:30 am in Lagos.”
4. “Living in Lagos is like living in Syria, except that the bombs are psychological instead of physical.”
5. “There are less than 300 infectious diseases in the world, yet 285 can be contracted in a Lagos danfo bus alone. The conductor just faces you and yells into your face and gbam! You have Bolivian hemorrhagic fever.”
6. “The 90yrs old woman in Lagos can effortlessly beat a 40yrs old man in Abuja to coma!”
7. “In Abuja, you stop a cab and it reverses to meet you. Class! In Lagos, you see mad people pursue danfo/molue, jump into buses through windows, fight at BRT bus stops and 9 people struggling to enter an empty 14 seater bus. Madness!”
My Verdict: Abuja wins. Abuja is the saner place. Lagos saps and hurts you physically, spiritually and psychologically if you’re not strong. While Lagos steels people, it also has the ability to damage them beyond repair.
CRIME AND SECURITY
1. “In Lagos, they will package a Samsung phone with soap inside and sell to you. When you complain of being duped they will tell you to be streetwise.”
2. “Should we talk about your pickpockets? Where did one chance originate from?”
3. “I still get suspicious when a stranger’s body touches mine. I feel my breasts to be sure they are still two.”
4. “I still clutch my handbags closely while walking on the road.”
My Verdict: close one. According to a 2016 report of The National Bureau of Statistics, both Abuja and Lagos had the highest crime rates in Nigeria. FCT had 13,181 crime cases, while Lagos reported 45,385. Though population heavily influences these figures, Abuja wins. Cybercrime is also high In Lagos.
COST OF LIVING
1. “Lagos big boys own both a luxurious house and exotic cars. Abuja big boys only own a borrow-pose car that doubles as their home!”
2. “Abuja slay queen them will come to Lagos, pick grade 3 Okirika, go back to Abuja and start disturbing us. Be humble please!”
3. “If I get a job of N750/month in Lagos and I get the same job for N600/month in Abuja, I will move my entire family to Abuja.”
My Verdict: when it comes to housing, both Lagos and Abuja are equally expensive. But for other things like food and transportation, Abuja can get really cheap; cheaper than many other parts of Nigeria. Abuja takes this again.
HARD-WORK AND HUSTLE
1. “Usain Bolt can’t even in his dreams try to compete with a Lagos gala seller, and Abuja wants to be “opening” mouth.”
2. “Money in Abuja “is stolen” money. Lagos money is made from blood and sweat.”
3. “The reason why Buhari called Nigerian youths lazy is “because he” was speaking from an Abuja point of view. He should come to Lagos and bring his son that likes riding motorcycles so he can learn from Lagos youths.”
My Verdict: Lagos. There’s no need for plenty story.
1. “Is there even a worthy university in Abuja?”
2. “Corona secondary school in Lagos is far better than University of Abuja. That’s why Nassarawa State University is popular in Abuja.”
3. “You get the best law practice in Lagos. I had my law school in Lagos, unarguably the best campus of the Nigerian Law School. But that’s just all that there’s to Lagos.”
My Verdict: when you’re talking about schools, from primary to tertiary, Lagos leads. University of Lagos, according to the 2018 uniRank rankings, tops all other universities in Nigeria. University of Abuja comes 28th. The American International School, Juilliard Academy, Atlantic Hall School, British International Schools, and Kings’ College are all in Lagos.
1. “Come to Abuja and meet courteous civil servants who will most likely not ask you for bribes to do their jobs.”
2. “In Abuja, if you ask people for directions to a place, they may even take you to your destination with smiles. Try it in Lagos and you’ll find yourself in Ogun or Oyo State.”
3. “In Lagos, police officers will frisk you for just having dreadlocks. They will ask for Laptop and phone receipts.”
My Verdict: Abuja wins. To a large extent, the people and workers of Abuja are more polite. Civilized folks. I had few Russian experiences here and there in Abuja.
THE NIGERIAN DREAM
More like its American counterpart, the Nigerian dream is to ‘blow’.
You want to make a lot of money, you want to be able to buy what you want and cater for your family, so you pack your bags and transport yourself to Lagos- a small land filled with many people of anger. No, you don’t go to Abuja, you know you stand almost no chance of achieving the dream, of beginning from the scratch and making it to the top. Lagos, the peak of tolerance and liberty, accepts you and gives you, laced with some madness, the population, the audience and the stage.
Talk of musicians, movie stars, writers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and politicians; they all pay homage to lord Lagos. Lagos is like a god they have to keep appeasing to stay relevant.
You then ‘blow’ and pack the money to Abuja to build sleek roads.
FINAL VERDICT: Lagos is the superior city. Now and forevermore.