In Lagos, Everyone Is A Hustler

Even the graduates are not left out


During my first year in the University 6 years ago, I was involved in a deep conversation about issues of life after school with a close friend.

She obviously could not come to terms with the idea of “hustling” after school i.e a graduate hustling.

“Caleb, can you imagine after 5 years of schooling someone is still having the plan to hustle” she said with bewilderment all over her face. I had not really thought deeply about life after school or hustling at that time – it was my first few months in school. I gave her an on-the-fence smile, not dampening her boldness about not hustling after school while at the same time not making a joke of graduates who have to hustle after school.

Jesus taught his followers to pray “give us this day our daily bread”.

That’s hustle! Doing whatever (blameless thing) you can to have bread for your stomach. My friend had obviously seen hustle as hard labour; the most strenuous of physical work on could imagine.

Hustle means different things to different people. For some it is seating in an air-conditioned office doing paper works and sending mails, for others it is travelling from place to place, for others still it is persuading people to part with their money to register for a multi level marketing business, yes for many it is physical from mild to very tough.

On my way from Ajah to Obalende this morning I saw a guy my age smartly dressed and standing at Ajah bus stop. Seeing that the driver of the bus I entered had no conductor, he spoke a language of the street to the effect of do you need a conductor “oya na” the driver replied. And that was the beginning of the day’s hustle for him.

On that same journey I saw many corporately dressed people who I perceive work with various corporate organizations struggling to catch buses so as to be in their work place on time.

At Obalende bus stop, I saw beautiful babes, neatly dressed that they could go for Unilag students – selling okpa and other handy foods to early risers for whom breakfast at home is an unaffordable luxury.

The security men in banks and malls, the waiter in the restaurant who welcome people with rehearsed smile so as to get “tips” are all hustling.

The agbero who waits at the bus stop collecting money for loading and offloading from conductors and drivers, the omo on’ile who collects money for parking, street driving and building projects, the young-shall-grow artiste and the street footballer are all hustling.

The charge and bail lawyers, the beggar on the street, the soft skill guys who come to NYSC camp and speak as though they have it all – I caught one trekking from camp gate to the lecture hall during my camping days, yet he spoke like a CEO, the mechanic and technician who charges way too much for his service, the private teacher, the lady learning beads, make-up, tailoring and catering, the Pastor who preaches to travellers and thereafter collects offering, the life coach, motivational speaker, even myself writing this piece, we’re all hustling.

Hustling is what majority of humans all over the world do- particularly those born without silver spoon. And in this country, the rougher the city, the tougher the hustle, that’s why I’ll give it up for a Lagos hustler any day!

God bless your hustle!!!

Written by Caleb Imhangbe

A graduate of mechanical engineering currently teaching Physics in a secondary school.
Writing poems, articles and stories about love, life, human struggles, Christian faith, nature, excellence and of course capturing beautiful scenes make me feel most alive; they are my little way of contributing to the world.


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  1. This is Lagos and everything is hustling and bustling… In major cities of the world, you will see this traits if you want to survive in them.. Lagos own is just on another level and even though it could be a pain in the a**, its also fun sometimes especially when the ”agberos” are displaying..

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