Lagos Chronicles

Las Gidi
Lagos as we know it.

You see, I live in the heart of Lagos – Ketu Mile 12 to be precised just short of going to Ikorodu and getting to Ojota or Maryland. I was born and bred there, so I am what you can refer to as a proper “omo eko”. Not only is my place a central area but also the razz uncivilized part of Ketu as it is properly referred to by people anytime I tell them what part of Ketu I live in (you see Magodo Phase II is the posh area of Ketu).

Almost everyone has been to my side at least once or twice during his/her sojourn in Lagos; mostly because the famous mile 12 market is located around my area and that is the place people come to shop for their foodstuffs in bulk i.e. tomatoes, peppers, bags of rice, beans to mention a few, and what’s the catch, it is at cheap rates.

My name is Tinuola and this is my new brand of inspired specials – the life and taste of Lagos from the Ketu girl’s perspective. I make it a point of duty to be up as early as 4 a.m and coming from an area that never sleeps, my pipu people have also woken up with me.

I get out and begin the day’s hustle, if the day favors me, I get an okada motorcycle of N50 to my designated bus stop (Okadas are still banned o! ehen!) and probably get a BRT en route island but if I am a tad bit unlucky I get the infamous yellow buses a.k.a Danfo to my bus stop and board another ‘danfo’ to my destination before I get picked by the school bus.

“Ojota-Yaboyinbo_Palmgrove” is the noise that meets me anytime I’m about to board a vehicle, as a hard core Ajebutter (buttey for short) lagosian, I get to haggle the bus fare from N100  to N70 or N80 on days I am lucky and/or have enough to pick my choice of danfo; on my not-so-jolly days it’s either I am late or I have entered the bus only to find the conductor has ‘gbana-d’ smoked that morning and will no sooner beat me up if I even make a protest about my balance (popularly called “change”).

“Ahan! Conductor e da fun mi ni change mi” (Conductor, won’t you give me my balance?)  I always try to protest in my camouflaging confidence. “Change buruku wo ni yen, ehn? Omo yi, mo ti so fun e pe N100 ni, o ni change gba o” (what nonsense change, I have told you that it is N100. You don’t have any balance to collect) he replies in a gruff drunken voice. As I have the fear of God, I am always quiet after the retort while quietly begging God under my breath to punish the unruly conductor for me.

It is always a scene in the morning to see hawkers with a fresh batch of agege bread – the branded bread for Lagos workers, commuters or dwellers; or the ewa-goin, the fried akara balls or fried yams; did I forget puff-puff? All these herald the start of a new morning in Lagos. It can’t be missed. It is still a budding romance between Lagosians and these items; and I doubt if they would ever leave the honeymoon phase of their love.

Did I forget to mention the early morning rush hour traffic or queues for the BRT buses that are as long as walking from Lagos to another state even as early as 6 a.m. I love the fact we are ready to do anything to make ends meet; it is a decision that has kept both hawkers and beggars alike alive as they get up early to strive for their daily bread. It is not a question of class but a common goal – MONEY!

Survival is crucial and of utmost importance to everyone and that’s why I love to live in this city despite all its activities.

Expect inferences and more melodramas from this series; there is a plan in place to get more Lagosians aboard to share their own tales – so we may have both regular writers and those that have never written anything to begin with.

Till I come your way another day, keeping it real – the Hardcore Ajebutter!

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Hey you, I'm happy you are reading my blog. If you have any comment or advice, email me - tinuolaidowu@ymail.com

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