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Articles Daily Prompt Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

#MyLagos – A pot-pourri of their lifestyle.


Early one morning on my way to work, we passed by a healthy black goat (she looked pregnant, that’s how I knew it was a ‘she’ ๐Ÿ˜Œ), who fled from our path as a car approached and I mused to myself, that even the goat was wise and loved her life better than whatever it is she was attempting to pick up from the road.

So, how come, when you are walking or speeding down the road, grown-up men stand casually and intentionally in your path, expecting you, the car, bike or *Keke to manoeuvre around them rather than them stepping off harm’s path. You get to hear things like, nah “Omo ni le” meaning โ€œthe child of the landownerโ€. The last time I checked a vehicle with failed brakes or one driven by a drunk doesn’t recognise titles or anything in it’s path that won’t step aside.

#MyLagos people not only stand in the way to assert ownership, the *louts, do worse. For that driver trying to make ends meet, who probably ran away from school because he didn’t understand the signs and symbols or whose parents couldn’t afford to pay his basic fees, he found himself a new ‘teacher’ complete with marker on the road, to score the number of times he has settled his logistics bill. It’s amazing how they (the taskmasters) recall if you had paid the morning, afternoon or evening’s charge or you had a balance to complete.

The really funny one is that every day the marker or sign for the day is different.
Did it end there? For where?!
After the driver has survived the ‘usual’ suspects, the next day he meets a new group who are collecting money for their own branch and guess who suffers this “teacher’s” fees? The passengers, of course!

You asked what they do with the money? If only I knew, but it has been said that the owners wait patiently to receive as donated.
Suffice to say that the teachers are global, by this I mean, they come from neighbouring towns and states. I know we have a lot of Ibadan and Abeokuta “teachers”. I’m wondering if they don’t have vehicles in their vicinity to obtain. It is surprising what the “teacher” uses his own ‘salary’ to do at the beginning and end of the day – drink sachet gin, eat small rice or beans with plenty huge pomo (cow-hide) and beef and more sachet gin and water in between.

Permit me at this point to say that if you are loud enough and have the coarsest of voice! You will make a good teacher and your marker makes you ready for work. Did I mention the flip-side of not submitting your windscreen for the marks and your money for the course manual? You either lose your fuel tank cover, the rubber that protects your window or door, your wiper (if you have one) or your side mirror if it is convertible. Talk about convertible side-mirrors ๐Ÿ˜‚ others lose their Keke foot mat.

For what it is worth, Lagos has a mix that I love sometimes. How about you?

Glossary
*Tricycle or Auto rickshaw
*Lout – an uncouth and aggressive man or boy.

@imanikel 121121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Daily Prompt Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

#MyLagos: Action People ๐Ÿ˜ณ


My buddy, Dee seems to think I should continue writing about My Lagos till I end the series. But can you ever really run out of drama in Lagos?! The City thrives on the noise and the excess drama and when I say “excess”, I mean excess. Their parties are loud, music loud ๐Ÿ™‰, meat inside the food loud…sorry BIG๐Ÿ˜‚, the bikes don’t have side mirrors but some definitely have boomboxes blasting away, their greeting, loud…across your afro or wig! ๐Ÿ˜… Their fight? Legendary! Hmmm

Speaking of which, on my way to work yesterday as I attempted crossing over to the other side of the road to catch a vehicle, I heard someone walking really fast behind, as if to catch up with me and sounded very angry as he was talking. I quickly turned, so I’ll know if to step out of the way or something. Thank God I did – phew ๐Ÿ˜… because from the corner of my eyes, I say his hands fling past my hairline literally, as he described whatever to the other listening party in the phone! So, here am I feeling like a bulldozer was behind, meanwhile someone was just having a descriptive conversation with another and his hands spoke more than his speech.

Another thing about My Lagos is their ‘Eye-witness’ nature. To get home from my estate gate, you either drive, walk down or take a bike. I was on a bike in and I saw someone running away. He had good reasons to, because the next fellow was shirtless, but clothed himself with “you go hear am today” and had a big stick in his hand, chasing after him. Of course, the street and the house they came out of, had enough spectators to form a *wakapass crowd for a movie. Who knows, maybe they were playing a movie role. But I didn’t allow my bikeman to wait and watch, which would have been natural for him because the fear I noticed in the first man’s strides and face were real. It is better to be safe than sorry.

“Na which person *gra-gra loud pass, nah him dey win argument”. That’s what they are trying to turn me into, but God pass dem. Last night, I had to walk a distance towards the bridge before getting to another bus-stop. An unknown ‘pally’ who doesn’t live in my side of Lagos walked with me, as I tried helping him with directions to where he was headed last night. From the corners, some boys came out and tried surrounding him to get money ‘for the boys’ and he told them he didn’t have any.
So this is the new pattern now, not only do they harass bikemen and buses, they harass pedestrians too – mostly guys. So, I continued our conversation and told him to keep moving (stopping is an error he would have regretted). The first lad left apparently because he saw me and the genuineness my unknown pally spoke.

Were we in the clear? For where?! A taller bully showed up and demanded for money, I told him there was none and he said to me, “you dey like person wey dey give person money?” I told him if the first person who had asked initially came back, I’d give him money. But no money for this bully. He was upset and talked about how I would cry if my bag was snatched, I offered him the bag, but he kept saying “you get money?” All the while looking around. I wonder if he was checking to know the source of my boldness or an escape route should he snatch his grand-mother’s bag ๐Ÿ˜‰

Glossary:
*wakapass – extras
*gra-gra – uncoordinated opinion

@imanikel 051121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles My Lagos Nigeria Rant Tuesday Thoughts

#ThoughtfulTuesday


Where are my thoughts this warm Tuesday afternoon…on my Lagos of course! Someone would think I hold shares in the way wealth is distributed in Lagos by my claims, “My Lagos!” But you see, I used to live in the Garden City aka Port-Harcourt and ever since I relocated by force abi nah choice (I don’t know again), I tried adjusting to Lagos speed-life and couldn’t (or so I thought). But by the time I went to visit Port-Harcourt, the City felt too slow for me. I just couldn’t cope! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Now, I can comfortably say I’m a Lasgidi person but there are things that I still don’t get that put me off. Here goes some of the complains:

  1. The always wet street, because Iya (somebody) is cooking rice or ewa (beans) for her numerous clients by the corner and it’s only natural to pour the pepper-water on the tar or sand in front of the shop, but definitely in the middle of the road. So, the LG chairman ensured the road was patched with interlocking stones, but Iya Somebody still pours her pepper-water faithfully like libation. Mtschewwww ๐Ÿ˜‹
  2. The ‘normal’ habit of conductors, market women, a passer-by speaking to you in Yoruba, because you are in Lagos and therefore must speak Yoruba. For these sets, when they do, I respond in English to enquire what they are talking about and trust a typical Yoruba person to bad-mouth me because I don’t understand, that’s when I go FBI (Full Blooded Ibibio) babe and respond in my language, “Abo di e?” So both of us are stuck in a field of no-experience. Unlike the ‘Field of Experience’ in Communication, where interaction is achieved. ๐Ÿ˜Œ
  3. Why do bus drivers or bikes always have the desire to buy fuel, when you are rushing to work, or stop to gauge their tires.
    Speaking of which I’m reminded of an incident yesterday. So, we managed to secure occupancy in a bus headed our way and the ‘Uncle’ decided to pump his tires. He passed a vulcanizer who was relatively free and went to his ‘customer’ who was patching another vehicle’s tire, with a trailer waiting in line (to do who-knows-what) and our bus was number 3 – on a Monday morning in Lagos (Ajah) traffic ๐Ÿ˜ณ One of the occupants in our bus, ‘Aunty’, dared to complain about this stopping, which would make her go late. The ‘Uncle’ responded in a very angry and rude manner, that if she doesn’t like, she should come down and collect her money. Trust ‘Aunty’, she subsequently demanded for her refund. As if drawn by some unseen spirits 8 persons joined ‘Aunty’ to drop. The conductor returned their monies to them, but used ‘Aunty’ to do ring-a-ring-a-roses (she didn’t stop following him and demanding for her money because the driver didn’t know how to speak to someone). The conductor kept at it, till the vulcanizer seeing our forlorn faces skipped the trailer and attended to us! Pheww ๐Ÿ˜… Just as we drove out of that spot, ‘Aunty’ was still by the bus-stop yet to find another vehicle. Remember, I told you it was a Monday morning and you swallow your pride on Mondays, as bus no dey dey! I don’t buy into the rudeness arena but when it comes to a Monday morning and I’m carrying an extra bag which is heavy because of content, I’m humble o! Did I also mention that the driver was initially nasty to me too, I ignored.

Well, my Lagos isn’t so bad (sometimes) but that’s where the life is. Share a bit of your ‘Lagos’ or world with me. I’m keen on discovering it with you!

@imanikel 021121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

A Year After…๐Ÿ˜Ÿ


Last year, a normal day which began with a planned protest against certain ills in society, didn’t end well. Several stories went viral, but truth be told, we lost a lot that day. Some may say those losses were seeds sown to the cause. Some may say, those losses could have been prevented. Hmmm. Truly a sad one which leaves a bad bitter taste in our mouth and in the fabric of our history if you ask me.

A year after…we remember the pain of the losses and all the trouble that came from the day we call the #BlackTuesday. As I think back in retrospect and desire to celebrate the changes that may have occurred, I am held back in my expressions, as I still see those ills replay themselves on an another level…lets say in a subtle brazen way. I sense an unspoken “speak and I squash you” in the atmosphere. I sense a “we are not saying don’t protest o, but I dare you to show your face.” If not, how else do you interpret the flood of security manpower all over our access routes this morning in my Lagos especially around the site of earlier protest? How else do you explain why people are scared to come out and go about their usual business today because of a perceived attack. What do you call the ORDER to not gather at the location.

Why is a protest that will bring change, often considered dangerous and yet killings of innocent citizens in different parts of the country goes unchecked, because we don’t have the resources to handle such. My mind has so many questions, are you able to answer them?

Well, we have a proverb in Nigeria, “If hunters have learnt to shoot without missing, birds have learnt to fly without perching”. Hence, the drive-through protest. What do I mean by this, remain in your car, drive past the Lekki-toll and say whatever (but you know you can’t say some things sha), but keep moving. Trust Nigerian youth, they are maximizing it to the fullest.

The tear gas has begun to spread, some persons have been arrested whatever for, I don’t know, the men in black look on waiting for a call – perhaps, the youths refused to be gagged, as they sing ๐ŸŽผHow many people government go kill o! (2x) eee dem go kill us tire (3x) How many people government go kill.
The others chant ๐ŸŽผNo Justice, No Peace!

Truth be told when people get tired to being tossed about, they take a stand and that reaction never sits well with anyone because it is coming from a place of ‘we have endured this for too long, been silent for too long, we are done being passive because this is a time for action.’

I just passed by today to remind you that we didn’t forget this day last year and whilst that seed is yet to bear the fruits we desire, we will keep watering it, till it buds positively in our land and nation.

@imanikel 201021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria

#FreedomFriday – My Grouse!


I have noticed that most bikes in Lagos if not all, are without their side mirrors. This got me wondering why the manufacturers would risk lives in such a manner. Poor manufacturer, getting blamed for what its user re-invented. How did I discover this? A young fellow I spoke with this morning, when I asked why his bike was without the mirrors, responded in his defense that “Nah only Baba dem dey use bike with side mirror!” ๐Ÿ˜ณ Meaning it is only the elderly who ride bikes with side mirrors. In other words, it is uncool and if you did that, you are old!

I watched him as he kept turning back to see if there was an on-coming vehicle, something he could have easily seen if his mirror was in place.

My second grouse, is with a certain presentable young lady whom we shared a ride with, who didn’t use a face mask and as if that wasn’t bad enough, kept putting her finger into her nose, dug around a bit, bought up ‘gold’ and effortlessly flipped the ‘gold’ from her fingers into the surrounding space. The first time I said to myself, probably I didn’t see that well, maybe she just touched the tip of her nose which was tingly. But when the digging continued for a while, I shook my trousers and sweater lying across my bag to ensure that nothing was left on them. Such things I think should be done in the privacy of your home and your ‘tools’ or fingers washed properly. If it must happen anywhere else, please use Kleenex.

Nothing annoys me more than people who get into a vehicle and the next thing you hear is ‘shift or adjust’ even when they have enough space to fit their structure, and the next thing is, they are shooting daggers at the one whom they think has consumed all the space. Mtchewwwwwwwwwww. Like one wise man said, we are only together for a few hours or less, so just endure me till I get off the bus!

Last line, but not the end of things people do that is annoying:
I had just crossed over a semi-busy road about to board another vehicle towards home and I heard someone say by my side “I love your boobs!” I was livid, bemused and wondering why a grown up man would look at another man’s wife and say that. Of course, you’ll say he’s appreciating God’s handiwork and who asked him to? I was a tad concerned if he was normal and genuinely asked him, “are you okay or is there something intrinsically wrong with you?” He looked somewhat unkempt, but I’m sure he was okay. I quickly crossed over and carried it back to the owner to avoid-stories-that-touch.

What do people do that gets you thinking, where are we headed? Please share.

@imanikel 151021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung