Lagos: The City Where Dreams Come True

Lagos, Nigeria – In a city where dreams become reality, the story of Zion Orubebe is a testament to the transformative power of Lagos. Orubebe, who left Rivers State for Lagos in 2015, has experienced a remarkable journey from joblessness to multi-millionaire status in just eight years.

Orubebe graduated from Rivers State University in 2013 but struggled to find employment for two years. Encouraged by a friend, he moved to Lagos with only N3,000 ($15 at that time) in his pocket. He started a business selling baby clothes at the International Trade Fair Complex in 2016, using funds from the sale of a piece of land to pay for a shop and invest in his business.

By 2019, Orubebe had become an importer, and by 2021, he expanded into the export business, shipping products to countries like Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Central Africa. Today, he owns seven shops at the Trade Fair Complex, three commercial vehicles, two houses, and two private cars. He now enjoys lunches at a French restaurant in Ikoyi, a posh area of Lagos.

Orubebe’s success story is emblematic of Lagos’ spirit of enterprise and reward. Many come to the state with little and leave as millionaires. Lagos attracts 6,000 people daily from across Nigeria and Africa, drawn by its economic opportunities and vibrant market.

Lagos State’s GDP, estimated between $137 billion and $145 billion, surpasses that of many African nations, including Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia. The city is home to 4,200 millionaires and several billionaires, including Nigeria’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and other notable figures like Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Cosmas Maduka, Tony Elumelu, and Jim Ovia.

The city’s commercial prowess is further highlighted by its concentration of major businesses and financial institutions. Headquarters of banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, and telecom giants like MTN, Airtel, and Globacom are based in Lagos. The Nigerian Exchange Limited and numerous government regulators are also located in the city.

Governance in Lagos has been stable, with the same political family ruling since 1999. This stability has contributed to rising tax revenues and significant investments. The state generated N651.2 billion in tax revenue in 2022 and attracted a substantial share of Nigeria’s real sector investments.

Despite its economic success, Lagos faces challenges. Traffic congestion, high living costs, and environmental issues persist. The state also contends with illegal revenue collection by touts and a high population density, which strains infrastructure and services.

Nevertheless, Lagos remains a city of opportunities, where the enterprising can thrive. As Muda Yusuf, former director-general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted, “Being a commercial city throws up a lot of opportunities for people who are enterprising.”

While Lagos offers a path to prosperity, it also highlights the need for balanced development and addressing socio-economic challenges to ensure sustainable growth and improved living conditions for all its residents.

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