Growing up in Awka as a child, Lagos was a place I wanted to visit.
In an average Nollywood film back then, rich people stayed in Lagos. When someone wants to go to the ‘city’, it’s always Lagos. And boom, the person makes it in life.
Though, nothing will take me to Lagos, until 2013. I stayed for a couple of days. I had gone for an audition. I left from school and only my immediate elder brother was family that knew. Lol. A boy gotta hustle, yeah. A few more visits afterwards, now I reside in Eko.
From my visits, which I usually stay for at least a month and then recently settling as a Lagosian, there are a few experiences I have had. An experience that may shock people visiting for the first time. Below, are some of the things one should expect when one moves into Lagos or visit at least.
1. The Traffic Problem is Legit
Brothers and sisters, when you hear that traffic is a problem in Lagos, take it seriously. Chances are, you will think whoever is telling you, is exaggerating. Shioor. Don’t even go there. In my visit in 2013, that was the biggest traffic I have been caught up in, as at then. It was at the Third Mainland bridge. I was on a bus that didn’t move an inch for an hour. And when it moved, I felt it was all. 🙆Ewooo, that was an intro. It turned to be slow and steady. Las las, I was late for the audition. After my moving into Lagos weeks back, I have had to attend two meetings late, because of the traffic. I don’t even want to go into the details of waking by 4 am and leaving the house by 5 am to beat traffic. Traffic that is older than me, akụkọ Mike Ejeagha.
2. Transportation is Cheap
This is an unpopular opinion. I can’t say this in public and not get a slap. But, truth is, tfare in Lagos is cheap. Take it from someone who has lived in 3 different states – Anambra, Delta and Bayelsa. I don’t want to add Enugu where I lived the first two years of my life. Most people see Lagos as a town or city. But, it is a state. When you move to other states and see how much they charge, for transportation, you will understand. Considering also, the traffic that stalls movements in Eko.
3. Lagos Drivers have More than One Life
Don’t believe the lie, that we all have just one life to live. Once you become a Lagos driver, they give you more than one life. Just like that. Wo! The carelessness of the drivers; and the fact that it’s in the Lagos State constitution that every bus must be rickety. Don’t argue with me. I escaped an accident on my first day of moving back to Lagos o. The bus stopped a dozen times and in the middle of the road. My God, I wan mad. But, I was too tired to para. Or the fact that I was on a bus going from Lekki to Oshodi; and the bus tyre bust. Oga driver and conductor rush to bring a spare tyre. My darling, the spare tyre dey flat. I was shook. I no gree go again. I collect my money, after dragging the conductor. I didn’t even know that I have such madness in me. I can’t deal, Buhari is still president, every penny counts.
4. You Understand Yoruba
Even if you don’t, you do. Walk into an average Yoruba person’s shop to buy stuff and you will understand. Speak all ya phonetics finish, mama, go reply in Yoruba. Enter a bus and ask conductor how much, ọkwa “waso”(₦50.00). E no dey everly pass. Say, “sorry?” a thousand times, the conductor will keep shouting “waso” and the people in the bus will join him. You will be wondering if people learn Yoruba en route Lagos.
5. Everywhere is Far
In Lagos, everywhere is far. Look at me that made plans to see my friends who live in Lagos. My dear, a month down the line, I have only seen 3 of those friends. It doesn’t matter that one stays in Ikorodu, just as I do. The traffic makes everywhere far regardless of how close it is. So, because everywhere is far, people hardly go on luxury visits.
6. No one has Change in Lagos
If you are planning to move to Lagos, just go to your church and convert the money you have into small small change. To avoid being stranded. You go to a shop to buy something; mama will kneel down and greet you; mama will give you what you want; once you pay; mama will collect her goods back. And go all Yoruba on you about how she doesn’t have change. Reply and get called disrespectful(still in the Yoruba language), then “oni iranu”, “oponu”, “jati jati” and “ra ra” will be thrown in between.
7. Google Map is Bae
Hey God! In Lagos, you can ask three people for directions to a particular place and all three will give different directions. Ọkwa confusion. What to do? Before you go anywhere; ask your friends or relatives, whoever it is you know and trust in Lagos, for directions. Then, Google map should be your friend. Babe has helped me navigate my way in this mad Lagos. Saves me the stress of asking people for directions.
8. You Must Be Mad
You can’t be in Lagos and not be mad. It’s not possible. It doesn’t ever happen. You can’t wish it away. And therapists can’t do anything for you. Just accept your madness in peace. It’s only a mad person that can fight to enter the bus, even in suit and tie. Only a mad person can be ready to fight conductors for ₦50.00 change even before 7 am. You can only be mad to be leaving your house for work as early as 4 am and return as late as 11 pm. Imagine such a waste of sleep. It’s only a mad person that can buy from people whose language they don’t understand. How the hell did the communication happen? Only a mad person can deal with commercial bus drivers in Lagos.
What experiences do you have in Lagos that I skipped? Ngwanu, share with me in the comment section. O dabo✌️