Last weekend, the water kept flowing into the tap, in our toilet with fury, that led to the excrement from our neighbour and thus we were sceptical about this misfortune that had become a torturous event— in Lagos in most recent time. That describes Lagos to have a preacher and congregation. It is never a prudent circumstance for us to come to this event that Lagos usually brings which are lies, pretence and empathy.
One fateful day, the sun began to let us fear the outcome of our political terrain. I became curious and worried. And even my father was watching the Channels TV sunrise programme. He brought his eyes closer to the Television as if he were to write the UTME EXAM. And I was furious. I wondered what he could be watching like this; that would have allowed him to not notice that our entire neighbour smelt. I gave a rueful hiss; and I sauntered to my room, and I began to play one of the evergreen songs from a highlife maestro, Bobby Benson. The music is titled: Gentleman Bobby. I increased the volume of the stereo so as to disturb my father. But he ignored that disturbance and he too played the music of Fela Anikulapo: Trouble sleep yanga wake em .
These two songs always give us paradoxical meaning to Lagos. They even tell us what we need to accept from Lagos at all times. I muted my own music to listen to the music dad was playing. It came into my eardrum in a sonorous form with the musician’s percussion.
Also, I know the imagination of Lagos is that to become what you want, you need to understand the potential things that come from the city itself. Having taken all directions about thought and dissonance; that means, it is presumably, the factor of our existence and to know what is special about Lagos. Does anything seem special in Lagos from my toddler days?
I was born in Lagos; in the time, when the military administrators were perpetrating the country. It was in Lagos, that our commercial buses were always filled with people that led to the jocularity of our rebel musician; 32 sitting, 49 standing. This was Molue bus.
I grew up to know the city to be dishevelling and stench. All the serenity was pious of fume and all sorts of atrocities. Even mother testified to that after I was conceived. That there was a time in Lagos when people died of hunger. While oppression was a standpoint, as everybody feared the camouflage; be it army or any type, they would run for their lives.
Well, as I was growing up in the city, I noticed that my nostalgia for the city kept growing with me to the level that I didn’t have patience to things around me. Indeed, nobody will dispute that the spirit in Lagos never sleep. It is a spirit of a woman who carters for her children in the midnight and yet; still hangs out with men, to have nice fun, so that they can throw condom at all spot. It is in Lagos that you will know the meaning of red light district.
Understandably, you don’t have to believe in the corrigibility of Lagos because when you think about it; that means, you have eventually fallen into the racketeering of its people.
So, commuters in Lagos wear their groan without sympathy. Since everywhere is home of horns. Lagos is a statuesque of fun and crime. It has one blood of happiness and many bloods of menace.
Lagos is a chrome of parvenu; and also a city of notoriety, that makes us to hobbling for buses at our own expenses. Nobody will say that the weather in Lagos is friendly or maybe such person has not given a vicious journey to a part like Lagos where everything seems not to be friendly in business relation. To buy in Lagos is condemnable because we are scooped with price.
I remembered one day, when I first bought something for myself after a long years under the watch of my mother. I entered a grocery shop, I picked what I wanted to buy; and even with the price tag, I promenaded to where I was to pay. The sales girl looked at me; and she began to give me an akin look. I did like as if I didn’t see her and immediately, she opened her mouth that she had painted with lipstick. It is most often, in Lagos that you see ladies painting their lips with all sorts of lipsticks.
‘’ your money is 5k’’ she said with levity
I looked at her upfront. Probably, what I was thinking was that maybe she was talking to other colleague of hers. And unknowingly for me, she tapped me with her fingers. Well, it is in Lagos that ladies now become an eagle. They keep all facial fingers nail all fashion.
‘’ Sir, your money’’ she demanded. I sneered. I felt frustrated with her look; but however, that is how ladies dress in Lagos now. To the extent that they still wear facial eye lashes. It also pre-empt their dignity as meritorious customers. Well, I was even thinking maybe she had admired the denim jean I wore.
‘’ Thank you’’ I said. And all she did was that she squinted her eyes back at me in a raucous manner. It is not an anomaly in Lagos that we all have lustful affection to each other. No efficacy than that in us.
‘’ How much is my money?’’ I asked her jokingly because I had already calculated the money. And she replied: ‘’ Bros, your money is 5k’’— nobody calls naira anymore, all we call is K. K stands for a thousand naira. I looked at her discreet way. Well, price of commodities in Lagos have the seller’s choice.
Everybody decides their price tags without the conscience of the buyer. Most of all times, it is not certain, that commerce in Lagos is friendly. It is a simultaneous occurrence of pain and lucre; where everybody foolishly becomes delinquent.
Those periods I do buy things in Oshodi, I always fear the atmosphere of those women and their use of language to accustom customer. It is indeed a traditional way of selling product that you will buy and complain later because what they mostly sell in those areas are goods feel not to concern your well-being.
Perhaps, anything I buy I do test my product there. This style of market research was what I learnt from my mother whenever I followed her to Balogun market on the Island to buy cloths. Modestly, my mother acted as a rugged customer— in the sense that she poured water on those Ankaras that were given to her for sample.
Afterwards, I asked her, with an abeyance, that what had she done; and she sighed and replied: ‘’ My son, if you come to Lagos, it is like a twisted destiny, that is emblem with frustration; and it sometimes coherently affects your choice and decision. So, the only way to overcome the nostalgia of Lagos, is to know that no matter her masquerade; and to communicate effectively to her strangers. Since you already know that market in Lagos is where the spirit lives. Life of a Lagosian is not a myth’’
And to know Lagos, you will definitely understand it myth, and naturally, you will begin to know that to live in that, there are particular things that bring, and a deep direction to the upbringing in all circumstance. It is perhaps a grandiloquent.
To how we live and how we accommodate each other, in a society that is felt with deep sense and trajectories. It is exponential. However, the city is brought out of indiscipline than a stranger whose enthusiasm to the city is borne out of caution and incredulity. That city is despair. It is filled with mercenaries that have almost turned the city to a home of hooliganism.
I know Lagos than my soul. It is a city that describes my character and it has always given me the poses to determine what I am expecting. It is actually a city that creates laughter from our sorrowful eyes. It always depicts us; in a colourful attributions and how we identify the expectation of life’s reality. Lagos is where you see the reality of criminality in such a way that you will be eschewed.
Meanwhile, at a time in my life I always think about the cultural differences of people in Lagos. To the level that I ask myself; how do they relate to each other, in term of language and cultural chauvinism or attitudes that have made them to live as co-habitats for years? I always believe that Lagos has its own spirit that has conjoined them with one thought. That means everybody in Lagos speaks the same language so as to survival: HUSTLE.
I began to notice this cliché in the life of everybody I meet in Lagos. At my prima, I believed that to be rich in Lagos depends on the kind of lucre you perform or the kind of abracadabra you put in people’s wealth. It is just what I felt then, since the peculiarity of holding Lagos is apparently the kind of affluence we do give the city. Indeed, it is a city that is filled with excrement, and many dishevelling dirt in all the environs in Lagos.
So, whenever, I see pastor or any hypocrite preacher, I do tell myself, that it is in Lagos that majority of the church mongers has turned to pastors and clergymen. The God in Lagos uses them to preach evangelism just because they want to have money to feed their children.
Hence, it is in Lagos, that you will see motley crowds walking at the same time to one destination and they will feel gaiety at the same time even when their minds is reluctant to what is happening to them. That is where you will see people in Lagos dressing like as if they are happy; with agog of happiness, also with a blaring sound speaker closer to them. They play all sorts of music. And the commuters dance, while the market women and men concentrate on their businesses.
The major factor of growth in Lagos is being conceptualized by the factor of inadequacy that is strongly affecting the thought and it occurs to vainglorious activities in the city. This happens at all time; and it is a process of engendering the expectancy of the government and to definitely understand that the prowess of our economy is not a monotony of complacency. Therefore, what happens in Lagos is not melodrama.
It happens on the basis of how we treat ourselves and the kind of ability we have to promote our thought and inclusiveness. I start to understand Lagos as part of human that I need to embody in term of exposure and it’s lackadaisical disorderliness that happens often in the city. I had a motive about Lagos; to view the lifestyle of its ebullience and how we have fun in Lagos. To know what is about me and my inclination in the city so as not to engage in delinquency. It was even my mother that told me Lagos is a prostitute to its stranger.
Sometime, she would describe Lagos with an allegory, that is not reverted, but with mesmerism, she would even call; the spirituality of Lagos to be a myth that has ordained the city with a sorrowful piety. That means the antic of the city is not desperate about the condition of growth and economy upbringing. It is seemingly known, that in Lagos, nobody feeds anymore.
Still, this is the main reason, why the struggle is tedious and with is ruggedness; there is time for fun. There was a time, after I had graduated from school; I was working in an office that I would be travelling to Abuja based on the job I just collected. So indeed, I jerked up from where I sat; and I prepared for the voyage.
However, it is during the process that Abuja is far. When I got to the bus terminus somewhere in Lagos I discovered that richness is totally different from poverty.
I left Lagos to Abuja and I began to know that the centre of excellence in Lagos is premature. To the arrangement Abuja has for her stranger. To live in Nigeria is to be selfish with your mentality since we all know that Lagos itself is not great to us if we insist to accept that we all are preachers because of what we have to live for as misery. Incidentally, Lagos is a home of pain and long time frustration; as the affluence goes beyond expectation.
Ankara: A Nigerian cloth material special to the Yoruba tribe.
Molue bus: A long bus – popular in Lagos during the 90s and early 20s