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 Efosa, a Brand Communication Executive whose parents sent her to Lagos when she was young as a maid just to give her a better life.
What made you come to Lagos?
It was back in the early 90s, and Benin has not developed as it is now. Back then, people said our eyes were dark, which literally interprets us as being uncivilized so every parent was always in the race to either send their children abroad or even to Lagos just to give them the good life.
There was a woman who had lived in Lagos for close to thirty years and every time she came back to our village, she always flaunted how well she is doing in Lagos. She comes in her car, wears the latest lace materials you can find in town, with her gold jewelry shining so bright.
My parents wanted a better life for me since I was their first child so I can pave the way for my other siblings so they allowed me to follow Madam Caro back to Lagos to work as a housemaid with a promise from her that I would get a proper education.
I came to Lagos because my parents wanted a better life for me.
What was the first mistake you made while you arrived?
I really can’t say I made any mistake because I was under close supervision. Unlike other people who bring maids to Lagos to maltreat them, Madam Caro made sure that I got a good house, with good people who treated me like their child. She also demanded that I run back to her whenever I feel maltreated by them or if they fail to send me to school like they agreed to.
Apart from that, she checks in on me once every two weeks just to make sure I was fine and that was how I started seeing her as my idol. She really tried for me, and I’m glad for her in my life.
The only mistake I might really say I made was nearly allowing a Lagos boy to ruin my life with his sweet mouth back then, but that is a story for another day.
Do you still think coming to Lagos was a wise decision?
I couldn’t have asked for more, to be very honest.
From the village girl who couldn’t speak proper English back then to a career woman with an impressive portfolio, I think coming to Lagos was the best decision my parents ever made for me, and I thank them for it every day.
I was enrolled in St. Mary Convent School in Lagos Island back then when I came, and I guess I made my wards so happy with my academic performance that they decided to help me get into Queens College, Lagos for my secondary education. It was not hard for me to get admission into Lagos State University afterward, and from there, everything started to fall into place.
So far, I have worked with a bank as the Head of Communications, I have worked in an advertising agency as Team Lead for Content, and a couple of other big organizations. So if you ask me a thousand times, I’ll tell you coming to Lagos was the best decision.
How often do you go back home?
Not very often. When I first came, I go home after every school holiday to spend time with my parents and siblings. But my parents died two years after I graduated from the university. Thankfully, I had a job then so I was able to move my siblings to Lagos to come to stay with me.
They are also doing well now. One works as a Front End Developer for a tech company while the other is doing his Masters degree in Canada at the moment.
We only go home for Christmas and all those other festivities just to check on other relatives.
Final take away
Opportunities don’t lie on the floor in Lagos. You have to be prepared to take it when you see it or it will stroll past you. For me, I had people that were ready to support me, but they would probably have lost interest if I was not showing the proper effort.
So when coming to Lagos, understand that there will be opportunities, but also have it at the back of your mind that you have to be prepared so the opportunity meets you well.
There are too many people waiting to take your place if you don’t stand well.