Heart of Arts

 Lóri Rọ́

Toyin Falola


I am surprised you don’t know that my father owns the Cocoa House in Ibadan. My brother just bid to buy the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. We will soon change the name of British Airways to Oduduwa Air, and we don’t have to call it an Airline since we own all the skies. Land is not as expensive in Lagos as you think. I will talk to Sister Bola, who manages my mother’s estate. I have not seen Chief Adeoye for some time, my friend in Abuja who is next to Dangote in wealth. I am tied down with too much work, as I plan to buy Polaris Bank to merge it with the First Bank. I must create my conglomerate, the Baba Isola Empire. Let me call you back, as I must pick up the call from President Joe Biden, who has been wishing to speak with me for three days without luck.

Growing up, my father had a plane that was powered by water. We rarely traveled by road as we went everywhere by air. At age 3, I had toured the whole of Europe. My father later sold the plane because he did not want me to be a spoilt rich kid who was proud of other children living in our estate. He put the money from the plane sale in a trust fund for me. I have not accessed it, though, because I am now self-made. I might eventually do a giveaway with the money on Facebook.

Did you say “God When?” or ask God if you are a spoon or a potato? No, you are not. I am only rehearsing my lines since the motto is “Fake it till you make it.” I would not want to be caught off-guard when asked to share my “from grass to grace” story. My story is inspiring, although none of the above is true. But since we are faking it, the above story will sell more. I should also do an Instagram Live to motivate others and give them tips on becoming a successful trust fund kid since many people look up to me.

It is very easy to create the life we want in our heads, and truly, nothing is wrong with that because we sometimes need to escape from reality. It only starts to become wrong when we start to live a lie. Fake life; that is what it is called. Fake It or Make It is now the motto of life. Lóri Rọ́.

The street code for fake life is Lóri Rọ́—statements and claims grounded in lies. Lóri Rọ́ is now the way we roll in Nigeria. The government will magnify its achievements, giving 100 million people jobs this year. A church of 54 people becomes a million members. Everything is “double-double.” We have fake professors, fake millionaires, fake nails, fake faces, and even fake lies. Someone who has never travelled out of Nigeria has a coaching office at Ilesa to assist you in living in Canada. Last year, his company obtained visas for over a thousand people. His brother, a professor in the United States, secured jobs for all Nigerians and could assist you in writing your PhD statements for admission. He even said you were his Research Assistant and had already collected all the data needed to complete your degree. You can use a Webinar to conduct a conference where we see no one, but you can claim that over six hundred people are in attendance. You attended the University of Texas because you visited Toyin Falola for two days. Lóri Rọ́!

Lóri Rọ́ is a way of living, especially for those in the diaspora who permanently mislead those at home. A crowded one-bedroom apartment in London becomes a life of luxury, like living on Banana Island in Lagos. A struggling janitor in Houston is a businessman. A tailor in Dallas is now a fashion designer, making clothes for Beyonce. All is Lóri Rọ́. Mothers forget to tell their daughters the personal experiences of how their fathers told them they were wealthy before they got married. A week after the wedding, creditors began to knock on the doors for unpaid debts. Snakes suddenly swallowed the money. Friends betrayed them. Fraudsters cleaned their accounts. The fathers did not change their ways: they all came first in all their classes, and all grades were 100 percent. Lóri Rọ́! Do you want that Yellow Sisi to say “yes” right away as you brew instant coffee? It is easy: you will buy her a car and send her to Dubai for a few days. Lóri Rọ́.

Interestingly, little children usually create funny fantasies just to impress their friends. The largest TV in the world can be found in their father’s mansion, with plenty of rooms and uncountable servants. Meanwhile, the poor father is probably a civil servant waiting for the government to pay his six months’ unpaid salary. Unfortunately, adults who are supposed to know better have become specialized crooks, serving very cold zobo (lies) just to put themselves in a certain light. Original Zobo!

Fake life thrives so well on social media. It is a buzzing hub for wannabes and people who make a living from manufacturing fake lives. Surprisingly, several Nigerian celebrities and some people’s role models lead fake lives. It is worrisome that some people compete with those they do not know while others try to impress strangers, forgetting that social media is not real life.

Social media users only put out whatever they want people to see, called content. People dish out content as they deem fit, whether to gain followers, become popular or be acknowledged or accepted. It is common to see people flaunt luxurious items, vacations, sophisticated houses, their daily routines and every internet-worthy thing they can think of on social media. However, it is an open secret that many people borrow or rent these things just to pepper people on Obasanjo’s internet, and those who were successfully peppered put themselves under unnecessary pressure over a borrowed outfit or jewellery or even a photoshopped picture. Did I let out a much-guarded secret? Forgive me, please. Everyone on the internet is living their best life. #zeroworries #lifeisgood #chasingthebag #livinglavidaloca

Nollywood actors and self-acclaimed influencers are at the fore regarding fake life. Some celebrities will stop at nothing to remain relevant, even if it means renting wads of money from Aboki for a couple of hours to take pictures for the gram. There are stories of how some of these celebrities will send out housewarming invites for a borrow pose house, together with aọ ẹbí for a party that will be thrown in a house that does not belong to them, ah lóri rọ́! Several celebrities have been dragged on social media for refusing to pay after renting jewellery, clothes and even wigs to an event. These celebrities go as far as chasing “clout” for fame. You see them post senseless philosophies, especially women who come on social media to “advise” other women on what they deserve and how to be treated by men. Lori Ro!

Funny how these attention-seekers are unmarried, divorced or, worse, homewreckers. Many people live happier and better lives, but the façade most celebrities are cloaked in deceives many into thinking they are better off, causing them to feel unsatisfied with their lives. It does not matter what it is; as long as it makes them go viral, they are okay with it. Anything for the gram, my darling.

In 2019, a relationship blogger, popularly known as Blessing CEO, was arrested for allegedly misrepresenting herself as the owner of a 7-bedroom duplex. She had posted the house on her 30th birthday with a few motivational words to celebrate her “achievement”, only for the displeased owner of the house to debunk her claim and expose her. She, however, insisted the house belonged to her and went on to share a house plan and pictures of herself in nightwear in front of the house. Unfortunately, the owner of the house, who had flown in from China, had her arrested, and in a video that went viral, she confessed that the house was not hers, that she had only begged the gatekeeper to let her in so she could take pictures. Two years after being dragged for lying, she now has a mansion of her own. Talk about faking it till you make it! Such motivation!

Fake life is neither age-specific nor gender bias; it cuts across both males and females, young, middle-aged or old. You will be shocked to find men living fake lives to impress a woman! They show off their flashy lifestyles with borrowed pose clothes and fake bling bling, in a desperate attempt to get the attention of a lady who may even be above their social class. Some spend lavishly, lying about their occupation and salary.

In May 2023, there was a case of a certain Saul Murray, a father of 6, who a woman and her friends murdered after seeing pictures of him on social media showing off expensive watches and wealth. After communicating via messages, he invited her to his house, and she came with a friend. Unknown to him, it was a planned robbery, as they had two other male accomplices outside the house. His drink was spiked, but it was not enough to knock him out, and he was unfortunately murdered when he tried to fight back. However, in an interesting turn of events, the Rolex watches they came to steal were all fake. Lies kill lies!

You may have heard of mechanics who pose with their customer’s cars as theirs or drivers who use Oga’s cars to flaunt to look good to women and their friends. In their defence, the breed of women in this generation will not look at you twice if you have nothing to your name. Awon iregbe! As a man, you have to be able to guarantee her a secure future laced with the finest things in life. Unfortunately, you have only love to give, but love will not pay for a trip to Maldives or a bikini party where she will ṣèdí bàlàbàlà in a thong on a yacht. Also, as your set’s best-graduating student, it is unfortunate that your efforts to get a good job have been futile. Now that you are a driver, it will not hurt to fake it to the unserious student in your set who is now a Lagos big boy that the car is the least of the many exotic cars you own as the Chairman of a multinational company. You even give him one of the fake complimentary cards you printed for this purpose. Sodiki!

Do I need to talk extensively about women who, on a normal day, have about two or three fake things to wear and then decide to make their lives more complicated by living fake lives? Instead of a woman sticking to wearing fake hair, eyelashes, bum and breasts, she goes on to live a lie, telling anyone who cares to listen that her synthetic hair is 100% human hair and it costs one million naira only, minus installation. After washing and ironing to remove the familiar okirika smell, she claims that the dress she bought from a thrift store at Balogun market for 3,000 naira costs 85,000 naira only, and she bought it at Fashion Nova’s online store. Check her posts on IG; it is giving everything it is supposed to give. Purrrrrr! Like Bose, she is a trust fund kid who can only access the money 10 days after her wedding. She does not know why, but it is probably because she is Daddy’s girl, and her daddy does not want her to chase potential suitors away because she is an independent rich woman. Aminatu-lie!

Surprisingly, many so-called rich people you admire live off loans and borrow money to fund their expensive lifestyles and pay their staff. They acquire debt to keep up the image they have presented to the public. The frequent trips, vacation homes, private jets and excessive shopping are bleeding red and leaving huge minus signs while you, who are debt-free, are screaming “God when?” in their comment section. Rich people live fake lives too. E shock you?

There are varying reasons why people pretend to be what they are not, but it all boils down to one main thing: pressure. The pressure is always getting wesser. Pressure from friends, parents, and society can be so overwhelming. There are ridiculous standards set for people that they must maintain, and when it becomes impossible, living a lie seems to be the best resort. One would be scrolling through the streets of Twitter or Instagram and see a post that reads: “What have you achieved in the first quarter of 2023?” or “I became a house owner at 23. What about you?” followed by comments of people who may have hit a milestone or had a major achievement in barely 3 months. An image of perfection is constantly painted on people’s faces. This can be quite an insensitive post for someone who may not even have a job or is going through a mid-life crisis. This alone can put thoughts into such a person’s head, and they begin to live a lie.

Some are not under any pressure but may be under a curse to use the whole of their lives to impress people. What explanation can one give to deciding to “feel among”, to impress others, particularly people you do not know? Many people have lived fake lives so bad that it has been integrated into their system, and they can no longer differentiate between reality and the lie they are living. The misrepresentation of truth has distorted the actual lives they have fabricated over time.

Low self-esteem and an inferiority complex are other reasons people fake their lives. Humans generally want to be seen and accepted and get approval and praise from people. Irrespective, living a fake life does not help solve a low self-esteem issue. You must understand that people will always be people, and their opinion of you does not define who you are. You have to realize your worth and know that you are enough. The people you are trying to impress or get acknowledgement from with your fake life do not even care about you. Any “friend” who makes you feel less of yourself because you are not living large or living like a baddie is not a true friend; you do not need such people. A superiority complex also contributes to fake life. The idea of being better than others fools people into living a lie just to keep up appearances. Pride goes before an internet dragging. To thyself be true.

Fake life only sets you up for disaster. It affects your mental health and well-being. You will even chase your helper away because, with the life you project, you are richer than your helper. If you have been contemplating living a fake life, this is a call to order: Desist! Abort mission!! Over!!! If you know someone who is a fake life ambassador, approach them with wisdom and talk them out of it without judgment. If you live a fake life, start coming out with the truth gradually before everything blows up. Yellow Sisi, return to your black skin. Distinguished Professor, your books will not create jobs in Lagos. Fine Mummy, wrinkles are on the way. Area Fada, cancer will knock you out. Sai Bai is now in Daura, ten miles from the Niger Republic!

As for me, pay no mind to the story at the beginning of this piece. Na imagination wan wound me.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people.

× Let's Chat!