Did You Watch My Documentary on Moving Back To Lagos?

In 5 days, I was able to document some stories from returnees and their move back to Lagos.

Returnees (defined by Dudunorth) n. 

Those who have left Lagos, Nigeria to either study or work but chose to return to Lagos upon completion to set up their lives.

The reason for this documentary is that I have found that we, (those of us still living outside our home country) are often advised to return home after graduating from Uni/College.  Knowing that some of us left “home” so long ago and in our teenage years, it is safe to say that we are more likely to identify with our new residences as “home”.  Personally, I know I do.  Having spent my adult life in Canada, there are a lot of things that I consider normal practice that aren’t in Nigeria.  Does this mean, I would have a tough time adjusting? Absolutely not!  Does this mean that I should move back because Nigeria is my origin? Nope!


What is so fantastic about returning home?

Why is it suggested so frequently?

Are there opportunities looming that we fail to see?

I wanted to know and I figured others in my shoes would too, so a documentary was born.  After spending these days with friends, I have come to my PERSONAL conclusion and if you are considering the move, I hope this helps you out.

A few tips though:

  1. You are not a celebrity! Don’t expect people to treat you as such.  You may not think that now but the truth is I notice people acting like they went to fight a war and now that they are back, so everyone should fall in line.  I'm back
  2. Change your mindset.  When you move back, remember that you are now in AFRICA.  If your mindset accepts this, your ability to adapt would be much faster.  Not every time and every where would there be hot water running out of the taps.  Sometimes you may have to bathe with a bucket and a bowl.  In the case of unforeseen circumstances, it may be wise to be well acquainted with a keke (a.k.a motor bike) or keke marua or napep (I donno the a.k.a for this but let’s go with tricycle).  Getting a hand fan and sun screen may is great especially for early adaptation….
  3. Drop the Accent.  Do everything in your power to DROP THAT ACCENT but maintain the diction or you will be an awesome candidate for kidnapping…lol.. they will sell you.  You’d find yourself paying N1000 for things commoners are spending N200 on.  A friend of mine was always known to speak like the Queen herself gave birth to her.  One day, we were in the car and as usual, we were having a normal conversation with her accent on the regular 100. Once we got to the gas station, this girl converted to proper naija accent.  One thousand was pronounced as “wan tansand”.  I was FLABBERGASTED.  I almost stepped out of the car, out of shock.
  4. “LEARN THE SYSTEM OF BUSINESS”. Hustle till you’re grey and feeble.  If you’re not ready to do so, please DO NOT live in Lagos.  Go to Ekiti, Jos or Benue state, if you decide to relocate to Nigeria.
  5. Be respectful.  Respect involves not greeting your elders by saying, “hi” or you would never hear the end of it.  “OUR” people never forget EN-E-THING lol.  In case you forgot while you were away, no one older than you is addressed by their first name.  Your family becomes the great extended family again, when you return.  Sunday who is in no way related to you but is 10+ years older is likely to be Uncle Sunday.
  6. liveMake TRUE friends.  You can mingle and dine with tons of people, as there’s always a party in Lagos but you really need to know those who are true and spend your time with them.  Not to sound snobbish but “like-minded” people are still your safest bet otherwise…*well a word is enough for the wise*.
  7. Have a game plan before you leave.  Don’t just arrive in Nigeria with nothing set up.  You might find yourself back abroad in less than a year, out of fear, with missed out opportunities on both ends of the globe.
  8. NETWORK! You need the right uncles and aunties to help set you up.  Don’t be a snob or ITK.  Otherwise, you will beg for food all the days of your life it may be tough to adjust.
  9. Develop a savings habit.  The salary is still not comparable to the expenses.  Don’t always eat out as you might be tempted to go out with friends.  Save as much as you can so that you can build a business you might find interesting.  Lagos is a hub of creatives and business gurus.  Take advantage of that space and intel.  Save to make the dream come true.
  10. Complaint is normal.  You will complain!  Everyone in Lagos complains about everything lol.  You will complain about the traffic, the driver, other staff, appointments missed etc.  You.Will.Complain.
  11. AGGRESSION!!! Quickly, your character will change.  Introvert or extrovert or ambivert.  Your character will be AUGMENTED.  You will learn the ways of the street and aggression will exist in this new character.  While I was back for just 5 weeks, two years ago, I experienced a new side of me that I’m not sure I like very much.  Also, my friend.  My very quiet friend and I were driving around on the island when she, in my presence converted into a new person.  Honestly, I was stunned.
  12. beggingThe Great Rip-Off! Beggars are the most creative people in Lagos, if you ask me.  The compassion you once had would swiftly be converted into strategic thinking, “is this a lie?”, “should I believe?”, “what if it’s true and I don’t help”, “I mean it’s just N200″… In Lagos, the deaf will hear you, not because you have done a miracle but because they were never deaf in the first place but since you called them to receive money, they.WILL.hear.YOU.  You will come across mothers who have hospital bills to pay because their kids are dying.  They will show you the bill and all the drugs required and you will pay a medical bill that is 6months to 1 year old because there is no child dying anywhere… (The level of poverty in Lagos has pushed many people to immense corruption and I’m not sure you can blame them entirely tbh)
  13. Lastly, LIVE!!!  In Lagos, everyday is an adventure.  Allow yourself to explore new things.  Learn your roots and ultimately, ENJOY it!

Dami is the Founder and Creative Director of Dudunorth. She has an immense passion for media, marketing and all things creative.

One Response to “My Tips on Moving Back to Lagos”

  1. Kola, Reply

    wow – i can’t believe you did all of that in just five days and AMEN to dropping the accent. If you have good friends, they’ll call you out sharp sharp and be like ahn ahn warrisalladis? Lmao

Leave a Reply