Anyone who lives or has lived in Lagos must have heard the debates and constant (unnecessary) comparison of these two parts or “divisions” of Lagos called “The Island” and “The Mainland”. I’ve heard people make statements like “I can’t live on the mainland oh! It’s too rowdy for my taste”, or, “These Island peeps sef. Always feeling like they don’t shit like the rest of us”. So that I don’t confuse those of us who don’t live in Lagos, here’s some info to help you understand this post better.
|Lagos Island at night
- Lagos is, and has been, since before its creation in 1967, Nigeria’s commercial centre and one of the most populated cities in the world with more than 10 million residents according to the last census. The city houses the country’s main ports and is home to the headquarters of major organizations like banks and other financial institutions, IT and telecommunications companies.
- Lagos is made up of three islands and a mainland. The islands of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lagos Island are located on the Lagos Lagoon, separated by creeks and connected to each other and the Mainland by bridges. Each Island has its own unique characteristics with Victoria Island being home to five star hotels, high class commercial real estate, big businesses, high class private schools, trendy cafes, night clubs and bars. Most foreign professionals,i.e, the “expats”(expatriates) live on this here piece of Lagos.
Ikoyi isn’t as noisy as Victoria Island and is the main residential area for the upper middle class elite and the expatriate communities. Extravagant mansions built during the colonial era still stand amidst more modern ones. Residential real estate in Ikoyi are some of the most expensive in Africa. And when I say, most expensive, I say it with a hushed tone of voice, because the kind of money we are talking about should not be mentioned in the presence of children. Mbanu. Other parts of the island are Banana Island, Eko Atlantic, Onikan, Lekki and the Marina.
Lagos Island is really just a mishmash of poverty and wealth living side by side in shocking contrast to each other. The Financial district, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Broad street and Obalende, which is one of the slums of Lagos are all situated on Lagos Island. Other landmarks include CMS cathedral, Tafawa Balewa square and the popular Balogun market.
The Mainland is where the majority of Lagosians live, and this area includes Yaba, Oshodi, Surulere, Agege, Mushin, Ikorodu, the capital Ikeja, amongst other areas. Ikeja is home to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, and is the administrative seat of the Lagos government as well. As a matter of fact, it is quite an exclusive area, competing with the Island in terms of polish. It is home to local industries and businesses(think Computer Village and Ikeja City Mall), and actually has many companies having their headquarters in it.
- There again is Yaba, home to the prestigious University of Lagos and Yaba College of Technology, two of the most well known citadels of learning in the South West. Yaba is also home to the popular Tejuosho Market, brimming with trade.
There are a lot of stereotyoes associated with this Mainland – Island tussle. In a nutshell the Island is assumed to be the home of the rich and the very rich, more secure, and better for clubbing(Can’t help but LOL here), while the mainland is assumed to be the exact opposite. Let me tell you brethren and sistren, this is quite false.
Now to the issue at hand. Is any one really better than the other? My candid answer? A conditional No. Here’s why. The Island, in my opinion, is a great place for work and fun, but when it comes to residential living, given the situation of the economy, is it really worth it to be paying for the area and not for the house? In case you didn’t know, to an average Nigerian, everything on the Island would be overpriced. The Mainland, in my honest opinion, while not so ostentatiously luxurious, has a good portion of relatively quiet and well maintained residential areas. It has a good number of entertainment spots too. You can say I’m putting in a good word for the Mainland, but then again, why not? *big grin* #proudmainlandgal. The Island is for the most part, more beautiful(especially at night), I admit, but mbok, we go chop beauty? If you have the resources and desire to live there, by all means, go ahead! I do not dislike the Island, I actually find it attractive in the way that you would rather admire something beautiful from afar.