Life of a Lagosian 7.0


OK… Who missed CiCi? Going by the mails and feedbacks I got, I guess a handful number of people did and I missed you guys too. Well, your favorite nerd is back from a short break 😉😉. Oh! I can see the wheels in your brain turning. You are wondering what I was up to in the last two weeks isn’t it? Not to worry, we will talk about it next week. Let’s get to the business of the day.

Not all thriving businesses are legal, and not legal businesses will thrive. In Lagos, I’ve seen businesses that were built on strict adherence to business rules and regulations crumble within their first year of operation, yet, businesses who defy business principles and cross the lines of legality boom for decades non stop. Crazy right? Yes, but it’s also the truth.
Have you ever wondered how Sule – the “aboki” situates his ‘suya’ spot rght in front of a stinking gutter yet both the educated and non educated alike queue to buy his ‘suya’ every night not minding the environment. Strange but true!

It’s been rumoured that the roasted whole chicken that Abbey and his cohorts sell in Iyana Ipaja CMS, Oshodi etc are fowls who died strangely from a disease, but that has never stopped lagosians from buying. Lagos and weird ways.
So, I’ve been outta Lagos for a while (na Covid-19 pursue us comot), and while thinking about what to write for this week, I realised that one of the things I’ve really missed about Lagos is the fact Lagos is a place where everything and anything goes; all hustle is accepted. Lagos is the unique place where legal businesses struggle to survive and you see not so legal businesses surviving. So, I will be discussing some unique businesses, who have managed to defy business principles and yet they are thriving. Today’s focus is Business with weird advertisement.

Yeah…. I said “Weird Advertisement”. You are wondering if there’s anything like weird advertisement isn’t it? Well…, I also don’t know, but I do know, that in Lagos, there’s advertisement and then there’s weird advertisement. OK… Using mental picture, Let us visit popular motor parks in Lagos and I will show you what I call weird advertisement.

Next time you find yourself in Ojota, Oshodi or Iyana Ipaja, pls keep your earphones, earpiece, headset and the likes in your pockets or sling bag and pay attention to the environment. In the midst of all the chaos that is typical of the aforementioned destination, you will hear this somewhat popular ‘voice-over’ recording:
Oyon yon yon, Oyon yon yon…
Yoruba dey call am Jedi Jedi…..
Staphylococcus Aereus
I dey shame I dey shame, you are dying in silence
If you don’t want people to laugh at you,
They will cry for you….. “

Are you wondering why I call it weird advertisement? Well that’s because I know for a fact, that if I were to be in need of such help, I will work into an hospital, not into a shop in the motor park that claims to have a solution to my problem. Weird as it might be though, I’ve been in Lagos for quite a while and this “voice-over” has been and is still in existence, a clear indication that the business has managed to thrive without people like me patronizing them.
If the ‘voice-over’ above doesn’t sound familiar, maybe this one 👇 will
Register your Airtel, Glo, Mtn line here.
Buy your original car charger,
unlock your phone……
The above ‘voice-over’ will continue and you discover it’s just a single shop doing over ten unrelated business. I call this one the ‘shop for all’. If while growing up, you were told, that a jack of all trade is a master of none, well this is one shop that clearly defies that principle. Judging by how long I’ve been hearing that recording, even without transacting with them, I think it will be safe to say they’ve managed to stay in the market because they’ve mastered all that they do.

Another popular weird advertisement/marketing is that of these old men who make it an habit to jump from one bus to another advertising a single drug that cures scores or illness. Take a bus from Abule Egba to Oshodi and you will most likely meet an old man who sells his wares by bellowing the following lines or something related:
Aunty, Sister, Mama Baba,
(Aunties, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers)
Gbogbo-nise l’ogun owo mi yii,
(This drug I’m holding is a multipurpose drug,)
O n sise fun ito sugar
(it cures diabetes)
Ti ifunpa yin ba ga, e gbe lura
(If you have high blood pressure, use this)
Abi iju lo n ba eyin ja, oogun yii ni ke lo…..
(Or you are battling fibroid, this is the drug to use).

Am I saying these businesses are illegal, not at all, I’m only trying to further affirm my claim that the beauty of Lagos not only lies in its wonderful landscape or interesting residents but the beauty of Lagos is most seen in the way every labour of creativity gets rewarded. Every product or service in Lagos has a way of finding it’s own customers. If the elite won’t buy it, definitely the other tiers of social class will buy. If the educated ones feel that a commodity is substandard, you see the uneducated grabbing it with glee and joy in their eyes, and when the illiterates are wondering what the fuss about a service or commodity is, you see the literate grabbing it with both hands. In my years in Lagos, I’ve seen quite a number of people pursue a means of livelihood which wouldn’t have stood the test of time anywhere else but here in Lagos, these people have not only pursued those bizarre career, they’ve managed to succeed at it. For instance, I’ve seen a beggar manage to be the landlord of able-bodied men, I’ve also seen a roadside pepper seller be the proud owner of the block of flats that houses educated professionals.

This is Lagos; the land of opportunities.
Still your nerdy girl

Thank you for keeping up with the “Life of a Lagosian” series.
Think we aren’t getting something right? Or you have a storyline or idea that you think should be incorporated into the Life of a Lagosian series, slide into my mail box and let’s get better together.
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