Lagos Story is a weekly series that features a quick story of an individual who lives in Lagos, detailing why they came to Lagos and how the struggle has been.
This week, we speak to Folami, a 32-year-old litigation lawyer who came to Lagos as a kid from Akure. He lets us in on what his journey has been like, and where his Lagos dream is currently at.
What made you come to Lagos?
I lived in one of those remote areas of Akure where the kids ran after the people from Lagos and their rickety cars. Back then, it seemed it was Lagos versus every other place because the people who lived in Lagos and came to our village always seemed well-to-do. As a kid coming from that kind of environment, I saw my whole life in Lagos, but my parents always made sure that education was a priority for me, even in cases when they don’t have enough to sponsor the education.
Luckily for me, I listened to them and always read my book, putting extra effort into passing and all of that, and my efforts paid off. An organization was doing charity work in our village then, and one of the things they did was to make sure kids who are bright get a chance at higher education. That was how I got a scholarship for secondary education at St. Gregory’s College in Lagos, and that was how I made it to Lagos.
What was the first mistake you made while you arrived?
I was young and naive, and I had the chance to be with young boys who had been exposed to a lot of western life and TVs. I remembered the first time I ever smoked was in JS2, then I started moving with boys from rich families that can easily get their school fees paid. I almost lost focus on what I came to Lagos for, and almost got expelled.
I and the boys (my friends) would sneak out of school to go to parties, play games, and even go to the brothels on Club Road at Obalende then.
That was the first mistake of my life in Lagos, and I almost paid dearly for it, with my future.
Do you still think coming to Lagos was a wise decision?
At the time, I didn’t want to leave my village because I was a mummy’s boy and I didn’t know how I would live without my mother for a day, not to talk of six years. I remember the day I was supposed to go to Lagos, I ran away from home, hid in a bush just so I won’t leave.
Today, I can say it is the best decision of my life. After secondary school, I got another scholarship to study Law at the University of Lagos. I finished with good grades and an experience that always paved way for me. Did my Master outside of the country, and came back here still.
I currently work as a litigation lawyer with a big law firm here in Lagos, and I couldn’t have asked for a better life than I have now.
How often do you go back home?
I rarely go home these days, because I am the only child of my parents, and they’re both late.
Even before they passed away, I had moved them to Lagos so they’re close to me and I get to see them often so I don’t really go home like that. And that’s not because I don’t want to go but because my job doesn’t give me that much time.
Final take away
It is very easy to lose your focus in Lagos, especially if you don’t have anything you stand for or that gingers you to do what you have to do.
There are a lot of distracting factors, but if you know what you want, set your eyes on it, and discipline yourself, Lagos is a place where dreams come true.