I was raised in Lagos. All my conscious years were spent in Lagos. I would like to be able to use the phrase, I was born, bred, and buttered in Lagos, but thanks to my ubiquitous parents, I was born in Benin, moved to Makurdi, and then London, before coming back to Lagos, Nigeria, all before the age of 5. But I was definitely buttered in Lagos😁. My secondary education was in a boarding school in Sagamu so that didn’t count as time outside Lagos, as I could have been locked away anywhere. My university was in Ibadan, but since I’m a home body, I hardly got to know the town.
I said all this to prove that I’m a confirmed Lagos girl. I have visited many places, both within and outside Nigeria, but no place was Lagos; not Abuja, not Port Harcourt, they simply didn’t compare. The energy, the hustle, the possibilities, the availability, everything rose and fell in Lagos for me. Several times, I made the statement, “I can’t live outside Lagos, I can’t survive”.
But something changed. At the peak of a very turbulent period in my life, I started feeling like some things in my life needed a change . At about the same time, my husband was invited to explore the terrain in Osun State. He was in and out for about a year, and then he got an opportunity there. We discussed what we should do as a family. I started to see possibilities and advantages of living there. However, there was one nagging issue in my mind – my business was just starting to take root in Lagos. Leaving Lagos would mean starting over again. Butas I believe strongly in family ties, and am not a fan of divided families for undisclosed or uncertain periods, I sacrificed my personal fears on the sacred altar of family needs, and we moved to Osogbo at the turn of 2013.
I literally started over. I had to rethink my hustle. How do I do business smartly? When I was in Lagos, I could run to the market each time I got an order, how can I continue to maintain lean operations? How do I ensure that I can deliver orders in good time, and at a reasonable cost, without overhiking my prices? How do I remain relevant in the industry, and not get swallowed up in the small-town-hero syndrome? Almost 7 years down the line, I think I’ve done pretty well. In fact, I’m not too excited to go to Lagos these days, except for the fact that I get to see my family and friends. My trips to Lagos are strictly based on necessity, always well-planned, and strategically executed. I’m doing things I thought were only possible if I was located in one of the big 3 Nigerian cities, and I continue to be relevant in the right places.
My message today is mainly targeted at women. We have so many sacrifices to make everyday. Women are the participants of society whose lives are mostly dictated by others. We sacrifice our jobs, our resources, our plans, on the altar of our family plans, for our children, for our husbands, for the greater good. But we do not have to sacrifice our dreams and desires. Rather, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, we should learn to ride the waves, rather than get drowned in them. We can learn to use what we have at our disposal to make what we want. I’m not an advocate of servitude by or subjugation of women; on the contrary, many people tend to think I am feminist. But, I see so many women, everyday, spend too much time hitting their heads against the wall, and getting hurt in the process. Wisdom is profitable to direct us in all things. I have proven this in my life, and in the lives of people who have listened to me.
Wife material, for me, doesn’t mean making yourself into what somebody else expects you to be; instead, it means being a beautiful fabric that someone would be blessed to have, durable both on the outside and on the inside.
Your dreams, your aspirations, your vision will always remain valid. The path to get there may change, but the destination remains the same.
So I ask you, “What are you afraid to let go of right now?” Please share in the comments.