Lagos my Lagos
Land of my paradigm shift…how do I mean?
Trying to escape the pains of a broken heart, I left Port Harcourt for Lagos. You know how heartbreak takes everything from you (for those of us that have loved and lost). For me, I needed to get away from the maddening crowd and breathe fresh air. Was the Lagos the place to relocate to? I wondered about this decision for years. But given the fun I had with my crew (Sunshine and Sweetheart…I’ll tell you about them later) and sister’s family. I didn’t mind the culture and noise shock I met!
Coming from a Garden City (though by the time I was leaving, most parts of Port Harcourt had cease to be anything like a garden but I won’t join the rest to call it a Garbage city), the garbage I met in Lagos by the time I arrived was enough to send me back. Well this is a thing of the past, as thanks to the proactive Governor Babatunde R. Fashola it has transformed before our eyes and the people too (at least most 🙂 ).
Beyond the garbage, Lagos has this fast paced spirit that looks like everyone is on the run to catch up with or run from something. It’s the hurry to catch the bus or jump down from one, while raining abuses on the conductor for not informing his driver on time or ducking from the spittle that comes from his mouth with his diatribes. This I couldn’t cope with as in Port Harcourt transporters would usually stop for you to alight and they only took the bus fare when you were halfway through the journey. In Eko, for where!! You had barely sat when the conductor would breathe heavily down your neck “ bring ya money or Owo da!” Yes, I almost forgot, they thrive on speaking their Lingua Franca to everyone, if you like, be foreigner that nah your business. In Lagos, everyone must learn the language.
All these amidst the blaring Yoruba music coming from the front which is evenly shared to every seat in the bus as speakers have been strategically positioned under the seat or on the windows inside. You don’t have a choice but to endure the noise inside, the blaring of horns outside from your bus and surrounding vehicles, the curses (more noise) from driver to driver, driver to conductor, conductor to passenger – the list is endless. Some had the effrontery of putting up siren though not like the ones the policemen use, but enough to scare you off the road for them to fly past. For the Motorcyclist aka Okada men (by the way these ‘Dennis-the Menaces’ have been forced to particular locations only), their bike horns have modified and replaced with car horns and radio attached to the front.
I said all this to paint the picture of the City, so you would understand why I am wondering if the Horn-Free day would be feasible. As a matter of fact, from my room this morning, my neighbour who was leaving to work by after 5am gave two very loud blares…she usually would forget her hands on the horn. I guess in the spirit of Horn Free day, she reduced it to two. LOL.
Listening to the Honourable Commissioner for Transportation Mr. Kayode Opeifa discuss it on STV news last night, I wondered if they had done enough broadcast about it as I was hearing of it for the first time yesterday. Well, I doubt if those funny bus drivers would agree with this initiative, as some of them even use their horns as drums to honk their favourite music regardless of whose ears suffers. The louder your horn, the more access you get on the road.
Today, is meant to inculcate in the people virtues like Patience, Respect for other road-users, less noise to protect our ears, avoid indiscriminate use of the horn amongst others. Whilst this is good, I would advocate for a NOISE-FREE DAY for Lagosians.
What’s your take on my suggestion?
Eko o ni baje o!
© 2014. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved