The norms of transportation where I come from is that there’s a fixed price for the cost of transportation and if there’s going to be a hike in transport fare, then it must be as a result of increase in the price of fuel. You can then imagine my shock, when I got to Lagos, and I discovered that the fixed price to certain destinations aren’t fixed at all.
So if you aren’t a Lagosian but you are hoping to visit Lagos one of these days, or you are new in Lagos, this issue of life of a Lagosian is for you. Let’s look at some reasons why transportation fare rises and falls in the Mega City Lagos. Take note that I said some of the reasons, I didn’t say all because believe me when I tell you, prices go up for the most reasonable reasons and even the most ridiculous reasons.
JJC dues: I guess there’s a look that is ascribed to people who have been in Lagos for a while and if there isn’t, then Lagos drivers have the uncanny ability of recognizing a JJC, and when they see you as one, you will most likely become a victim of personal hikes. Personal hike is a situation where by, you are heading to the same place as every other person in the bus, but you end up paying more than every other person in the bus. My first trip to Anthony from Oshodi, I didn’t know where to get the bus and I made the mistake of asking a driver who was heading to Bariga. In pidgin the man said ” you no fit get Anthony bus, no Bariga bus you go take”. I took the Bariga bus, paid standard Bariga fare, only to discover that Anthony was just about five minutes ride from Oshodi, coupled with that, there were danfo going to Anthony and if I had boarded the right danfo, it wouldn’t have caused more than 50 bucks. Consider the JJC dues or what you can also call the personal hike a rite of passage. It’s an initiation ritual, welcoming you to the land where all dreams are attainable. Owambe Weekends: If you find yourself around Ikeja, Oshodi, CMS or say, Iyana Ipaja on a busy Saturday night, where you have lost of people heading in your direction, then be ready for an hike because crowd gets Danfo drivers high on greed, the same way cocaine gets a junkie high. If there’s a perfect example a scenario that blatantly contradicts the law of demand, then the way Danfo drivers hike fares when there are lots of people on the road, will be it. Personally, I think hiking of price on Owambe Saturdays is as a result of drivers’ belief that passengers are often in cloud nine after enjoying themselves and as such, have a lot of cash to throw away.
Rainy Lagos: “Eko a romi sa legbe legbe”. You know how rain falls 300 days out of 365 days in Lagos? Well if it were possible, rain will fall all year round in Lagos and drivers know how to exploit this. Any sign of anything that looks like rain, be it a gloomy weather or a drizzle, then the next thing you see is that danfo fares skyrocket immediately. The annoying thing about rainy Lagos is that, unlike other hikes where prices are increased a teeny bit, for rainy days, the hikes always hit the roof. For instance a danfo that cost an hundred naira has the tendency of moving all the way three hundred naira. Unfortunately, having no choice on days like this, Lagosians still troop into this danfos and life moves on. Greedy Drivers: It isn’t rare to find drivers who just personally choose to hike fares as an individual. Where everyone charges 200 naira for Berger to Oshodi, he will decude to charge 250 naira or 300 naira. To add insult into injury, this is quite common in drivers who drive the most rickety buses and it makes you wonder, why should he charge more, when he has the one of the worst danfo that plies the road of Lagos.
Does the increase in price frustrate Lagosians? Definitely, but then it’s one of the spice of Lagos, it constantly hammers into us that just like a member of the boys scout, one has to be always prepared. Go out with enough cash and a little extra. Avoid spending on frivolities when you go partying lest you become stranded in the middle of your journey. Overall, when I find myself facing the fare hike, I say to myself, “if life throws you hay, don’t wallowed in self-pity, rather, make a ball out of the dry leaves and enjoy a game of soccer”.
Still your nerdy girl, CiCi
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 Ositelucomfort@gmail.com or follow me on instagram @C_pen_ and let’s get better together. For more interesting stories like this, visit our website @ www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
Ehn ehn.. I’m back and truth be told, just remembering my experience in that hellish hospital just makes me want to rant like Lasisi Elenu. Honestly speaking, the experience makes me even angry even at this moment. OK.. Here’s what happened. When the Doctor told me I needed to run some tests, I left his consulting room with a medical note containing all the test I needed to run, went back to the reception and I met only haughty Nurse 1.
In the best CiCi’s sophisticated voice, I addressed her “Sorry to disturb you, where’s the laboratory section?” The Haughty nurse didn’t even seem impressed with my voice because she didn’t even deem it fit to look up when she answered. With her head stuck in a magazine before her, she said “underground” and pointed her hands in a direction. I followed her hands with my gaze but there was nothing to see. I stood there like a dimwit for some minutes before I noticed a kinda map ahead I moved towards the map and got my directions from it.
I should have known I was in for it the instance they told me the laboratory is in the basement. Like, for real, who in their right mind puts the laboratory of all departments in the basement? The last time I checked, only things that should be hidden stays in the basement. Thinking about it now, the only time I’ve seen laboratory in the basement is in Sci-fi movies; where grumpy scientist are trying to create a terror for the world. Pardon, I digress a lot when I’m angry. Well, back to the point, I got to the basement, and believe me when I say this; This basement is really an alien zone. If I met quite a few people in the main hospital building, I saw twice that number here in the basement. The first thought that ran through my mind was; Is this some secret ops or something and inwardly, I started chanting all the psalms and prayers I could remember. One of the technician noticed I was standing aloof and beckoned to me, I moved towards her, and gave her the medical note. She told me to have a seat while she went to get someone to attend to me.
Some couple of minutes later, she appeared with another technician that looked like Adam Baylin from Kyle XY. Considering that Adam Baylin knew his trade, I made the mistake of thinking that this technician did too. Oga Adam Baylin, with one kain weird smile comot needle, tie tourniquet for my hand. Sharpaly, I don close my eyes, make im shook wetin e won shook. I no know say I be joker, cuz Broda Technician shook Needle but e no gree see blood comot. E con dey shook, reshook. Mr man begin dey prick me again and again, My eyes don red wella, as e won do am d fifth time, na so I shout;
“Oga wetin, dem talk say make you give me incisions for hand? My shout got the attention of the woman I met first and she took over. With one trial, the woman was able to draw the blood that Mr technician couldn’t draw. I looked up to give him my specialised evil eye, only to discover he still had that sheepish smile on his face. My palms itched to slap him but i controlled myself. In like 20 minutes, test results were out and headed back upstairs to the doctor, I gave him the result while I sat down waiting patiently to get a diagnosis and a prescription to get rid of whatever was wrong, but lo and behold, Mr Doctor dropped a bombshell
“Young lady, (I rolled my eyes when he said that too) I’m really sorry I didn’t think about this before , but you will need to go back to the laboratory they need to get blood samples to run a Widal….. “ The moment I heard blood, I sprang out of the chair and I was out of his office before h3 finished saying widal agglutination test. I was sure everyone who saw me as I ran out of his office back to the reception, straight out of the hospital, would be wondering what in heaven’s name was after me, but I didn’t care. The only thing that was on my mind was getting as far away from the hospital as possible. Woe betide me if I let them turn me into a lab dog!
You know the funny thing? The cold disappeared immediately after this somewhat wonderful experience and in lieu of cold, I woke up to a swollen hand the next morning Phew! That was the terrible experience I had on my first visit to a private medical facility in Lagos. As much as I hate to admit it, public health institutions might be below standard, but there are quite a lot of private medical facilities who will give government owned hospital a run for their money when it comes to being tacky and unprofessional. All in all, when you are in Lagos, behave like a Lagosian and this implies that don’t just walk into any hospital, try to make enquiries about the standard of their service before you walk in. Biko 🙏🙏🙏🙏
Still your nerdy girl CiCi.
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 Ositelucomfort@gmail.com or follow me on instagram @C_pen_ and let’s get better together.
For more interesting stories like this, visit our website @ www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
One thing that also stands Lagos out amidst other states in the western region of the federation is Rain. Believe me sincerely, if I say Lagos during its rain days is different from the Lagos on dry days. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on which you like), the “Rainy day Lagos” is more popular than “Dry Lagos”. This means that rain practically falls like 300 days out of 365 days in Lagos, for someone like me who has quite an unhealthy relationship with cold, this is quite unfortunate. Well, if you think I enjoyed the two weeks break from Life of a Lagosian, that can’t be any further from the truth. I had a visit from “Rainy day Lagos”
Three Fridays ago, this lady was unfortunate to be in the bus, heading back home when rain started. As it is typical of Lagos when rain falls, Fares were hiked by Danfo drivers and by the time I got to the point of taking a keke that will finally take me to my house,I discovered that there was nothing in my wallet. Angry at myself and the rain, I had no choice than to walk to my apartment. Na so I waka inside rain enter wahala oh. Fast forward to Saturday morning, I discovered that this poor nerd has cold. I went to the pharmacy, got drugs but by Sunday morning, Mr Cold told me he came for a long visit. Since he was an unwanted visitor, I decided to solicit the help of an hospital so, that I can get security agents (drugs) to send him parking. Na so I carry my bag, go general hospital. Na where I siddon, I con see flier “5 symptoms of corona”.
Cold Cough (CiCi you don dey cough since yesterday night oh) Fever (How person go get cold, wey in no go get fever?) Difficulty in breathing (I roll my eyes, of course if pesin get Catarrh, Nostrils go block and breathing go become difficult Sneezing Person wey get cold go dey sneeze na
I look myself, CiCi na cold carry you come hospital oh, no be say you get cold alone, you don dey sneeze and cough since you enter rain the other day, and na normal thing for fever to accompany cold. Jesus! Hope doctor no go talk say CiCi get corona like this, The next thing that came to mind was this video skit I saw on Tik-tok 👇👇👇 Yes exactly, that what I’m saying, because I was asking them, Do you know somebody who has Corona? They said No. Do you know somebody who know somebody who has Corona? They said No. OK. Do you know somebody who has a friend who knows somebody who has a cousin who knows somebody who has Corona? They said No And I was like, do you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who has Corona? They said No 😂 😂 😂
Before I become the person you know who has Corona, I quickly carry my bag, Na so I leave hospital, straight back to my shack. Cold never stop, public health institutions I no fit go, drug sef no work, I con dey think wetin I go do. Na so I decide say make I go private hospital. Let me share wetin my eyes see for there oh. So, a friend recommended an hospital about two streets away from my house and off I went. When I got to the hospital, I met three nurses at the reception. For over ten minutes, I stood right in front of them but they were neck deep in a conversation, so they didn’t pay attention to me. Well, professional Aproko that I am, I decided to draw my conclusion about them. Nurse 1 kept on flinging her right arm in such a way that the gold band on her third finger kept winking at me. In addition to flaunting the wedding band, she ensured she said something about her marriage in every of her sentence, I could deduce that she is a newly Wed.
Nurse 2 on the other hand seems to be a loud person or she’s probably frustrated, considering that they were gossiping, she kept on raising her voice so much that you could literally see the veins on her neck Nurse 3 seem to be the Matron or better still, the most senior among the three. Her attention was divided between the conversation and the Yoruba movie showing on the television in the reception. Finally fed up of standing, I coughed for the umpteenth time and it got the attention of Nurse 2. From her expression, it was obvious that she felt I was a nuisance who just disturbed her fun. Well, I didn’t care, I told her I needed to see a doctor blah blah blah.
In no time, I found myself in the doctor’s office, explained my plight and I kept on stressing the fact that I didn’t have this cold until I took a walk in the rain. He sha told me I needed to run some tests…. Pheww…. Time has gone 🤔 🤔 🤔 I’m sure you are wondering if there is any spectacular experience I had in the hospital that is news worthy. Well, join me in the laboratory next week and you will be surprised. Still your nerdy girl CiCi.
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
Ositelucomfort@gmail.com or follow me on instagram @C_pen_ and let’s get better together. For more interesting stories like this, visit our website @ www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
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 CiCi.
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 @Ositelucomfort@gmail.com and let’s get better together. For more interesting stories like this, visit our website @ www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
OK… So, where did we stop? Yeah! I said I will be talking about some other category of passengers. If you live in Lagos and you are not so lucky to have your Church around the corner, just some minutes from your place of abode and you therefore need to take a ‘danfo’, or you are one of those few who go to work on Sundays, then you must have had an encounter with the category of passengers that I refer to as “The Overloads” The seats of a ‘danfo’ can be really uncomfortable, but a combo of an uncomfortable seat and “the overload” is the genesis of my Sunday journey rule, Which is; Never sit anywhere else but the seat beside the driver.
When you are seated in a ‘danfo’ and the bus stops to pick passengers and the next thing you see is a group of people, all clothed in the same apparel; Daddy, Mummy and their five or sis kids, , getting into the bus and then you begin to hear phrases like “Bimbo sun fun Aburo e dada, aunty e mabinu, Junior wole na” (Bimbo, make room for your sister, aunty sorry, junior get in the bus) and you see the family cramp themselves into a space meant for three people, when you meet a family like the one I just described, then you’ve met the most popular type of “The Overloads”. I naturally don’t have issues with these subcategory because some of these kids are always really pretty and you find yourself offering to help their parents by carrying one of them. Sometimes though, some of these kids can be garrulous and restless who end up ruining your Sunday wear. Another type of the overloads are often met in ‘danfos’ that shuttle along markets. For instance, ‘danfos’ that transport passengers from Mile 2 to Oshodi, Ikotun to Oshodi, Ketu/Mile 12 to Ikorodu, Oshodi to Mushin. If you are a regular passenger in ‘danfos’ who do this, then you most likely have met that woman who despite having quite a lot of load, will refuse to pay extra charges so that her stuffs can be put in the boot. Instead, the overload, will hurl all her wares and loads on her laps, then put on an angry face that makes it impossible for whoever is seated next to her to complain.
Asides the overloads, we have the infamous Chop-chop. These are the category of passengers who sees even the smallest traffic as an avenue to buy something. Take for instance a journey from Iyana Ipaja to Iyana Iba, the chop chop will buy gala and soft drinks when the driver stops for passengers at Alaguntan, buy boiled eggs at Egbeda, if she’s lucky to see a girl hawking boiled corns in Isheri, she buys. If the ‘danfo’ makes another stop at Hotel bus stop, then she uses that avenue to get Chin-chin and Yoghurt. You think that’s all? Well you are mistaken because when she gets to Igando, she will still get bread, get orange at Akesan and on and on until she alights. The fact that she has roving eyes and an insatiable appetite isn’t the problem, but the fact that Chop Chop’s by design don’t seat where they can easily get all these things, rather they always have to ask the individual that is unfortunate to seat close to the window. You hear them say things like “No be pawpaw be that? E don tey wey I eat pawpaw oh, bros (Bros is the young man that’s unlucky to be seating closest to the window) abeg help me call that Mama wey dey sell pawpaw”
Asides all these popular categories, we have ‘the stylishly nosy’. When the stylishly nosy are in a bus and notice that the pasengers closest to them are trying to converse without a third party listening in, they pull out their earphones, plug it in their ears pretend to be listening to music(even when they aren’t), giving them ample opportunity to listen in on any conversation going on without appearing nosy
What other category haven’t I mentioned? 🤔 🤔 Oh, yeah! A reader dropped a category in my comment box last week. We have the category that I like to call the “Wannabe” Footballers. This is that group of 2-5 guys who board the ‘danfo’ after watching an interesting match. They come into the ‘danfo’ arguing on top of their voice and keep arguing until they drop. Looking at it, this seems like my favourite category; you see them flaunt muscles, talking about international players as if they are the coach. When the talk about football goes stale, they will move the discussion to politics, or even start making jest of each other.
I’m sure you must have met some other cool category asides the ones I mentioned in this issue and the previous issues, well not to worry, you can mention it in the comment section or drop a mail at Ositelucomfort@gmail.com and I will consider it for a sequel issue. Still your nerdy girl CiCi.
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.
For more interesting stories like this, visit our website www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
In issue 2.0, I hinted that the ‘danfo’ conductor isn’t the only personality that makes every ‘danfo’ trips memorable one. We have other personalities, in particular the passengers, who add spice to every trip. It’s is quite funny how much fun you can have in a bus packed with strangers but believe me when I say that, 5 to 10 minute friendships are common occurrence in a ‘danfo’.
When every individual boards a ‘danfo’, he or she does it with the sole intent of facing their own worrries and minding their business but then a clown or a frustrated being in the ‘danfo’ will end up cracking you up or add to your woes. I’ve met different categories of passengers (Aproko like me be one category too). So, fellow Lagosians (and even the non) let me narrate my ordeal, the first time I went to Oshodi, which is incidentally the day Chidi stole my bathing scrub.
My first trip to Oshodi introduced me to quite a number of personalities. When I boarded the ‘danfo’. I was still seething over my stolen bathing scrub but no sooner had the journey started, when I met the first sect of passengers; “The gossips” The gossips are often a group of two or more women who boards the ‘danfo’ at the same time and all through the ride, they talk about an invincible character. These two women (the gossips) were seated right behind me. This gave me ample opportunity to listen in.
Woman 1 and Woman 2 were neighbors and throughout the journey, they fed the whole bus stories about their Co-tenant who borrows money but never pays back. Their conversation started like this. Woman 1: Why Mama Boniface dey shout for yard this morning? Woman 2: Na mama Jubril oh. She borrow money from Mama Boniface since January but she no gree pay am back. Woman 1: She don borrow from Mama Boniface too? I don talk am, that woman no get shame. She too dey borrow. Woman 2: E no surprise me sha. How person wey dey sleep for house everyday, wey no dey work, go get money to pay back. I even hear say that her son wey she talk say dey work for Abuja, na prison in dey.
Ehn ehn, why he no go dey prison? The boy dey thief. If person no stand well, he fit thief person. (I started disliking these category of passengers when I started missing my bustop because I was listening in their conversation). Don’t roll your eyes, I know I’m a certified Aproko 🤦🤦 but to be candid, they are known for never being discreet, so, if I wasn’t seating right ahead of them, I would still have heard everything. I bet everyone in the bus could hear then loud and clear.)
Their conversation kept on going until the driver in a bid to avoid a pothole in the road makes the unfortunate mistake of swerving his rickety ”danfo’ ‘ , the bus lurched forward precariously, shouts erupted from the occupants of the bus and that was when I discovered category 2; The every experience Woman. When everyone got their bearing from the swerve, ‘Madam all experience’ faced the passenger next to her and started
“Make God save us from all these drivers, last week for Ikeja along, Na so one drive jaja-jaga go jam trailer, all im passengers die but driver take juju disappear.” Another name for Madam all experience is “Witness of doom.” If your driver speeds too much, they will share an experience of how passengers died in a bus earlier that week because the driver was driving at top speed. If a student crosses the road without looking and almost collides with a coming vehicle, she will share a scenario of how some 10 boys were killed because they were playing by the road. In short, she has an experience of every bad occurence you can think of.
Fortunately for ‘Madam all experience’ but unfortunately for us(other occupants in the bus), the passenger next to her was another category that I call the ‘Historian or Oldies’. Be careful of those elderly men and women who wear glasses and are often seated in the front seat or in the row right behind the driver. Unlike ‘Madam all experience’, these ones are always quiet until you give them an opening to talk. Most of their conversation starts with “in the year 199…. or “during the time of…, back in the days….” These ones are educated and they therefore use big words and they have enough gestures to demonstrate their pains.
Immediately “Madam all experience” took a breath, Mr Historian kicked off. Madam, you’ve said the truth, when Lagos was still Lagos, I mean in the days when we still have a military governor, a driver wouldn’t dare to drive after drinking but what do we see now (takes a pause, readjusts his shirt and continue). There is no law and order in Lagos. Yes… everyone in lagos is now after money (he shakes his head, looks around the bus and continue)… Imagine, even police officers who are meant to set these drivers right are also to be blamed….. When the Historian starts, this is always my cue to plug in my headphones and sojourn into la-la land because believe me when I say that no one, not even the Over-sabi government clerk can beat him in a battle of words.
OK.. I think I should stop here and let you get to the business of the day but not to worry, I will introduce you to all other category of passengers in the next issue but until then, when you board a ‘danfo’ today or over the weekend, look out for the Historian, “Madam all experience” and the gossip
Still your nerdy girl CiCi. 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 @Ositelucomfort@gmail.com and let’s get better together. For more interesting stories like this, visit our website @ www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
My first morning in commotion Villa was quite an historic one. I had gone to the bathroom (I guess you know what bathrooms in “face me I deck you” looks like), when I remembered that I didn’t pick my towel, I dropped my bathing scrub by the bathroom, rushed inside to pick up my towel, only for me to come back and find the scrub gone. At first, I thought I took in, so I rushed back in, scrub was nowhere to be found.
Na so Ultimate Search for scrub start oh. I con dey waka up and down. Wetin carry scrub? Iya Farouq dey look me, small time she call me
“Akowe, wetin happen? You dey find something? “
“Hmm…. Kind of. Na my scrub, I drop am for here”
No so she burst for laughter. As she dey laugh, I con dey wonder, which kain thing be this? Person dey look for scrub, she dey laugh. She kept on laughing for a while before she moved closer and whispered “Akowe, no worry yourself, Larinka don carry am”
I became more confused, Did she mean larinka like a rat? How can a rat carry a 500ml scrub? All these and many more confusing thoughts raced through my mind but since I had to get to work, search for scrub had to wait. I had to take my bath without the scrub.
That was my first of many other experience with the ‘Klept’ or the one Mama Farouq calls Larinka. Well, let me introduce you to Chidi the Klept.
Chidi is the most handsome dude in the villa but as handsome as Chidi is, Chidi fit thief person if person no stand well. Chidi steals everything and anything. When I first moved to Commotion Villa, I was his regular Victim; from the missing bathing scrub, to the ear pod that vanished down to the pot of noodles that disappeared mysteriously on fire. As if stealing from other tenants in the yard wasn’t enough, his pilfering prowess is unrivaled in the neighborhood. Every petty trader in the neighborhood knows him well. If he tells you he wants to buy a soft drink, watch him well, lest you discover that one or two “gala” is missing.
Another weird albeit interesting character in the house is the Alarm.
Was he anointed as a pastor or people just call him a pastor because he looks and acts like one? I don’t know but I know we call him Pastor Tee. If you ever find yourself in our villa during the day, you are sure to see him trying to piece together some woods to make a chair or see him washing clothes (for someone who isn’t a dry cleaner, I find his washing way overboard). Have I seen him with a Bible before? No, atleast in public. Except one is dead though, his baritone voice praying in his Ibo dialect between 3.00am and 5.00am is a sure alarm that wakes everyone in the yard and neighbouring yards.
Villa’s Gigolo Just like his name implies is Dafe; the pimp who lives adjacent my room and also my least favorite co-tenant. If ever you see a strange lady sneaking out of the house in the ungodly hours of the night or in the wee hours of the morning, then know it’s one of our gigolo’s many partner. I personally haven’t met him without an unclad lady accompanying him. It’s more like he can’t walk without support, but what do I know? He could claim they are his business partners or maybe he tutors them. Whichever it is, Dafe remains my least favorite co-tenant.
Tunde or the one I teasingly call ‘I never chop’; my favorite and padi of life. Have you ever met an individual who never gets filled, an individual who is always hungry even when they just finished an heap of food? If you have, then you can relate with the personality of Tunde. When I met the insatiable Tunde, I never thought we were ever going to end up being friends, but little by little, I came to realize that beneath his skinny exterior is a young man who will do anything on the right side of the law to get to his dreams; even if it means begging for his daily bread once in a while.
If you ask me how all these personalities have contributed to my Lagos experience, I will tell you they’ve done so in no little way. For instance, Chidi taught me firsthand that it’s a grave sin to ever loose guard in Lagos, people like him lurk in every corner of Lagos and if you aren’t careful, then you will loose valuables on daily basis.
When the voice of the Alarm wakes me up every morning, I wake up to the realization that many sleep their dreams away in a city like this but sleeping away my aspiration isn’t an option.
The Stabber taught me that getting angry is fine but if one has a reputation to build, then it’s imperative that you learn how to get angry constructively. Even the infamous Gigolo has shown me time and time again, that even if I live in this Mega City for decades, I will never lose the modesty that comes with being a small town girl.
Think we aren’t doing anything 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 @Ositelucomfort@gmail.com and let’s get better together.
For more interesting stories like this, visit our website at www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
Last week I introduced you to the first personality I met in Lagos, well, let me introduce you to my place of abode in the beautiful city of Lagos. If my encounter with Lasgidi conductors was a foundation block in my falling in love with Lagos, then “Commotion Villa” is one key factor that cemented my love for Lagos. Growing up,”Fuji house of commotion” was my best TV series…. Well more like the only one I saw. I don’t know if I liked the series because the actors caught my interest or because the series was my Momma’s idea of fun. If you ever saw the sitcom, you will know what sort of craziness abode in living in a crowd. Well, fortunately for me, I live in a real life fuji house of commotion.
3, Adele Street “Commotion Villa” is a typical house of commotion… Yeah commotion without a Chief Fuji and with all its occupants being unrelated. Ours is not a flat, instead, it is the infamous “Face me I slap you” or what I like to call “Face me I deck you.” Well that’s not surprising, considering that these sort of apartments are known for their drama. If you’ve never had your pot of soup stolen while it was still on fire, or fought a neighbor for using your bucket of water, then I’m sure you must have queued to use the rest room or wrestled over who never pays their utility bills on time. Whichever way, it is a taboo to live in what is termed the poorest living condition in Africa and not witness or be a part of the drama.
Am I lucky to be living in No. 3 Adele, I think I am. Did I always feel lucky to live there? No but like I said, Lagos grew in me a little at a time, and this house is another element that fostered the love. Let me introduce you to the occupants of my house. At the helms of affair is the “The lion of the barrack”. Ideally a lion should be a man but in the case of my apartment, the lion is my landlord’s wife. Everyone including her husband and neighbors call her ‘Mama’. Nothing comes into or goes out of our apartment without her. Her word is the Law. I particularly love it when Mama tries to string together her non-existent English vocabulary when trying to communicate with me. You hear her say things like; “Akowe, nepa e come, bill we pay next week” (Student, the electricity distribution company officials were here, we need to pay our outstanding electricity bill by next week), or things like, “Akowe, dustbin outside, people e cum carry it today” (Student, drop your dustbin outside, they are coming for the them today”. Despite Mama’s half-baked English, she wields a power that her husband doesn’t and in the little time we’ve spent together, I have discovered she has a heart of gold. Like the day she made me a bowl of hot pepper soup because I had cold.
Next is mama’s closest pal and the one I dub as BBC Yoruba is Mama Farouq. Mama Farouq is a loose cannon, if you ever need news about happenings in our street, just get a bottle of cold Lacasera and off she goes. I naturally won’t like a woman like Mama Farouq but trust me, I’ve learnt that people like that come handy. For instance, she was the one who told me about my next door neighbor, “The Stabber” This is one personality, you want to meet, Nkechi, whom everyone calls the stabber, was my first friend in the house, she was infact the only friend I had for a long time. It was therefore baffling that when people people started addressing me as the stabber’s friend. I decided to get the full gist ’bout Nkechi and this is what I found. My very calm and collected co-tenant happens to have a terrible anger and whenever she’s pissed, her weapon of warfare was always a knife. One fateful day she had a quarrel with a neighbour and ended up stabbing the neighbor. Hearing that was enough to put the fear of God in my heart and also marked the end of a not-so-advisable friend.
“Abegi! You dey wonder why I ended the friendship? Well, make one gel no cum stab me over a bucket of water one day” Want to meet other occupants of my commotion Villa? Well join me next week, as I introduce you to the “Alarm”, “Klepto”, “Villa’s gigolo” and my favorite neighbor “I never chop” Ever had a terrible experience living in the most popular kind of housing in Lagos; “Face me I deck you? Or your own block of flat is a one-day-one-trouble kinda housing?
Well slide into my mail box @Ositelucomfort@gmail.com and let’s laugh it over.
For more interesting stories like this, visit our website @ www.amiablemagazine.com or download our Mobile App on Google Play Store.
Where did we stop? Oh!.. I remember, I started introducing you to the Lagos I know and I’ve come to love. So, let’s continue…
In my first week in Lagos, I met a personality that set me on the path of falling in love with Lagos irrevocably. This personality is none other than the infamous Danfo Conductor. For an average Lagosian, “Danfo” is the major means of transportation. You see people wake up as early as 4:00am just to catch a Danfo, because meeting deadlines or getting to work in the metropolis of Lagos, is dependent on it. You can actually spend the whole day boarding one Danfo to another without getting bored. This is because you are sure to meet another average Lagosian like yourself, who will spice up the journey and make it an interesting one.
If you don’t have an “over-sabi” clerk in the bus who is hell bent on letting the whole world know how much the government is failing in its responsibilities, you will see the petty trader going to Oshodi who is ready to recount all her financial woes to whoever is ready to listen, or you meet that Ibo Pastor who will sing a Yoruba song using his Calabar accent. It’s rare to board a silent bus in fact, it’s almost non existent because when everything fails in making the journey a loud one, a wailing infant will disrupt the peace of the bus. All this being said, there are two constant personalities in every Danfo: The driver and the conductor.
You see these conductor guys, they are one set of unique men. The experience of any Danfo journey is largely reliant on the specie of conductor in it. Therefore let me run you through some of the many types I have met:
The Violent Species : Woe betide anyone who isn’t familiar with his or her bus stop in this kind of Danfo, because your conductor isn’t ready to help out. If he calls your bus stop once and you are slow to reply or your voice isn’t audible, then you might miss your stop and it’s over to the next stop. He picks fight over little or nothing. You better don’t haggle prices with him or try to set him right because he’s sure to turn it into a fight. Mere looking at him, you will see the barely concealed anger!
2.The Rude Species: These ones are similar to the violent conductors, in that, they can also be violent but sometimes you meet some members of these category who aren’t violent. The most peculiar thing to this ones is “insult”. If you don’t have a tough skin and you board a Danfo with this category of conductor, then you are in for a bumpy ride because you can’t be right with them. They will find something wrong in the way you boarded the Danfo, they will see something wrong in your sitting position. If you are fleshy, they will accuse you of sitting in a space meant for two. If you are slim, then you are undernourished. The beautiful thing about this specie of conductor is that when they aren’t directing the insult at you, it is often an interesting sight to behold but never pray to be the object of their insults.
The Flirts: I love this ones because ladies like myself actually benefit from these ones. They are a sucker for beautiful ladies. Regardless of how grumpy and violent they naturally are, immediately they see a fine “gel”, their tense muscles automatically becomes relaxed. As a lady, if you know your way well, you can get the ride for little or nothing. Unfortunately, if you are a guy and you are unlucky to be sitting next to the conductor’s object of interest, then you are in for it. As a lady, if you know your way well, you can get the ride for little or nothing.
The Crooks: These ones use their violent nature to cover for their dirty tricks. Pray that whenever you meet these category of conductor, you have the exact fare with you because they have the tendency of holding on to passengers change until you forget. They are fond of sayings like “Mo ma fun yin Mama” (I will give you ma), “Wetin dey do you, I talk say I go give you una change na” (Stop pestering me, I will ensure I give you your change before you disembark)or “Cool down na, at least we never reach your bus stop.” ( Be calm, at least we are yet to get to your stop.) I particularly abhor these ones even more than the violent ones because I’ve been a victim of their tricks many a times.
The Humane: My favorite guy; they actually speak to every passenger sanely. They help the aged settle into the Danfo and even help them when they want to disembark. They handle the goods of traders with care. Funny though, this specie is very rare. I know if you’ve ever used public transport in the Lagos metropolis, you will definitely have encountered at least one of the aforementioned. Well if you’ve never tried Danfo, Pls do and you might just be lucky to meet a specie different from all I’ve mentioned. SEE YOU NEXT FRIDAY
Your nerdy girl, CiCi
Danfo. – An Eighteen Seater bus that serves as the major means of public transport in Lagos, Nigeria.
Calabar – An ethnic group in the eastern part of Nigeria.
Oshodi. – One of the busiest part of Lagos, Nigeria.
Lagosian – A slang used in categorizing residents of Lagos