Lagos State, Eko as it is fondly called is the modern day “Westeros” amongst the 36 states of Nigeria in this 21st Century generation. Compared to its size on the map, it houses the most businesses in Nigeria as well as over 21 million people. All of these individuals are not all from the bubbling city but it is their experiences that make them part of Eko.
Glazia’s Lagos experience column was created to bring the vast diversity of the Lagos population together through true stories of its bonified citizens. This will help those who do not dwell here, experience first-hand the life in Lagos and build a community of Lagosians through experiences.
Here’s our debut tale. A typical “morning to work” experience in Lagos;
“It was already bright when I got up. I could hear the birds chirping but not in the kind of ‘melody to the heart’ type. My noisy gate men were at it again – talking loudly in what I assumed was Hausa. They were from the north, it was usual to have gate men and ‘okada’ men from that part of the country.
I climbed on the first okada I saw and gave that approving nod when he said the “madam good morning” as they would usually say to get your attention. I didn’t say where I was going but he knew, there was really only one important bus stop in my estate – the gate.
I sighed at the sight of the gate without paying so much attention to the chants from the tricycle riders “Ajah…Addo”, “Ajah Sistah”, “One person”. It was funny the way everybody was “sistah or bros” here or lied that they had just one space to go for the tricycle to be full. I would usually get upset on an off day but I guess I couldn’t be bothered today. It was sunny and 7:30 am already, only 45 minutes after I had rushed out of bed to do my usual morning rituals.
I tried scanning the bus stop to see if I would find a good bus to go with that morning. Aggressive looking park boys – or men if you would- were screaming at the top of their voices and were trying to convince people to go with their buses. One of them had tried to tug at my arm. I wasn’t having none of that as they were used to randomly touching people in the most inappropriate way in the name of getting passengers. Two ‘conductors’- as they were popularly called – were having a brawl caused by what I only assume was the struggle for passengers or for parking space.
I found a bus finally after being abused by a conductor. “Ode ni ye” he had said, because I thought his prices were outrageous and I refused to enter his bus. I settled into the back seat quickly, plugged my earpiece and wanted the bus ride to be quick. Lol! the jokes were on me. There was traffic jam everywhere I expected it to be. ‘Banter’ I thought to myself, as I pulled out my crisp note to pay the conductor. “Aunty where you dey go?” he said. “Law school” I answered, I had no smile on my face, I didn’t want unnecessary friendliness.
After about 30 minutes into the ride, I asked the conductor with a stern look on my face “baba where my change?” “Abeg take”, he said in a tone to suggest anger, I didn’t even care, my concern was that I got my change and in good time. They were usually in the habit of letting you forget your change with them and speeding off when you got off at your bus stop.
There was a loud lady, trying to get the other passengers on the same row as I was sitting on, to move a little so she could be comfortable “Make una shift na, abi make I fall ni?” she said moving her body rigorously to get everyone else to be as uncomfortable as she was. I shook my head as other passengers were trying to calm her down but decided “Nah not today Satan, I refuse to be stressed”.
I crossed the road swiftly after I came down at Law school. Everyone except the dreaded ‘okada’ men stopped when the traffic light turned red. I hopped on the next tricycle and hoped he would be quick. In a matter of minutes, it started drizzling. I got down and rushed into the office building, it was cold as usual. I said my usual ‘hellos’ and dashed to my desk.
My manager looked up, “Lekpa (as they usually called skinny ladies), what time are you supposed to be here?” he said in his normal cheerful tone. I smiled and replied in my typical witty voice “9 a.m.”
Writer, Technical business Analyst
Bohemian and All –round creative female