Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Lagos My Nigeria – A Young Man’s First Experience Of Lagos #AmProudlyNigerian

Ever wondered what makes Lagos special?

Some would say that it is because countless opportunities abound in Lagos, others would argue that it’s because of the crazy traffic.

Speaking of traffic, ever driven over the famous 3rd mainland bridge on a Monday morning between the hours of 8 and 10? Then you know what traffic in Lagos means.

Here’s a story from Jerome, a young man who relocated to Lagos from Issele-uku, Delta state, in search of a Job:

Sitting down in the danfo bus, sweating profusely, I began to wonder if this job interview was really worth the struggle. Between the incredible heat, the smell in the danfo and the noise – both inside and outside the bus - I would be lucky if I got to my interview in one piece. But I needed the job badly; so going back was not an option.

Finally, the bus begins to move – approximately 150 cm and it’s back to standstill traffic again. The driver switches off the engine and I feel my heart sink into that special zone of despair reserved for a jobseeker on the brink of missing his interview due to traffic.

An argument ensues between the conductor and a passenger who wants to know why the driver took this route. Very quickly this disagreement takes two left turns, crosses a bridge, climbs a hill and somehow ends up with both men screaming at each other. And that’s how both men became a source of joyful entertainment for all passengers, as loud laughter rocked the bus.

Eventually the traffic starts to move and we get to a bus stop.  I have less than 5 minutes to get to my appointment and so I get off to catch a bike from Festac to Apapa. The two men are still heartily calling down evil and chicken pox on each other’s presumably innocent parents when I get off. The bus is a bowl of laughter as it drives away.

Already 7 minutes late, I find a willing okada rider and instantly hop onto his bike without negotiating – big mistake. I get to the venue of my interview 11 minutes late, unable to argue with the opportunist okada man who charges me N1000 for a 4minute ride. I guiltily find my way to the reception and tell them about my interview with the MD.

“You’ll have to wait,” the receptionist says, “Oga is still in the go-slow. He said he might not get here for another 40 minutes.”

And somehow, it was the most normal thing in the world. This is Lagos, after all.

In Lagos you learn the distinction between being smart and being street smart.

Lagos, a paradise for Nigerian hustlers, the city where everything is for sale, the city that never sleeps.

That was Jerome’s first real experience of Lagos.

We know every Lagosian has a story, and so does every city in this blessed country of ours. Feel free to tell yours on twitter, instagram, facebook with the hashtag - #AmProudlyNigerian.

Despite how crazy Lagos is, the beauty still remains.

Take a drive through VI at night or is it the view of Lagos from the air? Breathtaking indeed.
Ever driven past Ajose Adeogun Street, VI on New Years Eve?
Yes, Eko is beautiful.

Every race and religion, every tribe and language, come to Gidi, you will find someone.

This city is real, this city is unique.

My Eko My Nigeria.


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