Saturday, July 26, 2014

Everyone Is Crazy In Lagos! Etcetera Writes

Few weeks ago, I got a call from a friend asking me out for a drink, but I was already at the Lagos airport. “I’m not going to be around for the next few days,” I told him. “I’m going to Abuja.” His immediate reaction was – “Why? What’s wrong? Do you want to bore yourself to death?” That’s the typical response I get whenever I tell someone I am travelling to Abuja. Abuja is a beautiful city with a terrible reputation for boredom. I have heard people in other cities speak of Lagos as a noisy, dirty and dangerous city filled with crazy people. In truth, everyone in Lagos is crazy. What else do you expect in a state crammed with 22 million people?


It must be a hell of a job for the governor and his officials keeping everyone under law and order daily. Lagos has a peculiar vibe that can’t be found anywhere in the world, so much that “Lagos Hustle” is a commonly used phrase among Nigerians. I would rather go crazy living in Lagos than be bored to death in Abuja, Ibadan or Enugu. Abuja leaves you chewing your finger nails out of boredom. If you doubt me, whenever you have a visitor from Abuja, check his/her finger nails. They are always short and well chewed. 

Even the Hausa local nail trimmers have all migrated elsewhere due to the nail scarcity. It is said that people in Lagos argue for at least two hours daily. It is true; we love to generate arguments out of everything. We argue everywhere, in buses and even during church services. 

Now Telemundo has become a cause for more argument among the girls here. So why are they surprised that we are crazy in this city? How many people can stay sane for long with the screams of Telemundo girls and the wailing sirens of police and government officials constantly beating their eardrums? Even the supposedly rugged Lagos rats can’t bear it too, that’s why they are always scampering from one gutter to another. If only we can understand what those rats would be saying to themselves about the cars with wailing sirens and flashing blue lights which have now become the city’s official ride for big boys. 

Don’t they know that it is by far the easiest way to advertise their arrivals to all the criminals in the city? Let’s add all the roaring vehicle engines, blaring horns, the arguments of the association of free newspaper readers at every bus stop, the street preachers with megaphones every morning, the open trucks filled with dancing skimpy dressed models selling almost expired products, or the rickety tortoise cars with dead PA system selling gbogbonise and the CD/DVD sellers blasting latest naija vibes. Anybody expecting to find a sane person in Lagos must be crazy indeed. 

It is like looking for a virgin in Nollywood. It is a city with an official soundtrack emanating from millions of generators rumbling constantly all through the day and night. But as crazy as it is in Lagos, I love it. I love the fact that it is like the city is divided in two halves, for non smokers and smokers. Or how can anyone explain to me why Apapa is always covered in thick smoke? Call it trailer exhaust fumes or smoke from burning tyres, what I know is that whenever I am passing through Apapa, it is as If I have suddenly walked into the smokers section of a night club.

I love the fact that this city doesn’t discriminate. And that all the money of the rich offers no protection from the most trying aspect of life here. Aggression is imperative and timidity on the road is seized upon by everyone even pedestrians.

When driving, you are caught up, over-taken and honked at all at once. All drivers seem to be afflicted with honk sickness. You get in a taxi late at night when there isn’t a single other car on the road, and the driver is still blasting his horn at five seconds intervals for the entire journey. It is even worse when the traffic is gridlocked. Ask the millions who experience this bottleneck from the mainland to the commercial districts on the Island daily.

A guy dropped his friend at Lagos airport to catch a flight to South Africa. When he received his text message saying he had landed safely at Joburg airport, he was still in traffic on the way back to Victoria Island.

We don’t have much of a tourist industry in Lagos at the moment but thank God for Makoko, an extraordinary floating slum, where everyone travels round in boats. It is our own version of Venice. Thanks to the governor, the dividends of democracy can now be felt in some places in the city. Let’s take the Ojota dump site for example, it has become symbolic of everything that past governments have tried to achieve. What used to look at first sight a rough, lawless, dangerous place has become a well-organised place where good money is earned by local street boys who now prefer a life of grime to a life of crime. Some of them are university graduates.

Lagos is a shining example of democracy. Even the area boys and those scavengers on the streets for things to re-sell have their own democratically elected chairmen, who sort out any arguments or disagreements.

Don’t you love the look of today’s Oshodi, especially when you are standing on the bridge feeding your eyes with the wonderful mosaic of human beings like a colourful artwork? The traders are constantly feeding energy into the atmosphere with their hilarious but innovative marketing methods, giving visitors from various parts of the world a first hand view of how lucrative and conducive this city is for their businesses. But it is imperative to have lots of patience and a good sense of humour to survive here.

Planning is crucial if you want to get things done. You must make contingencies because most of the time things don’t go according to plan, whether you are caught in argument or in traffic. For tourists, it is important to note that there are no up-to-date visitors’ guide on sale anywhere. And the few guidebooks available do not pretend to over-sell the city’s destinations. But one thing you won’t need guidebook to notice are the mechanic workshops littered all over the city. The good thing about this is that whenever you go hungry, just walk into the nearest one and you are sure to find a mama-put (restaurant).

Lagos is noisy, polluted, corrupt, lawless and ungovernable, but beneath these stereotypes are some of the most hardworking, passionate and big thinkers on earth. Thousands of people make their living by selling all kinds of stuff in traffic jams: household provisions, mobile phones, electrical appliances, wrist watches, books, clothes, popcorn, machetes, soup ingredients, wheel chairs, rat poison, CDs, DVDs, pets, you can even buy a brand new car in traffic. It is quite innovative and convenient because most Lagos residents prefer to do their shopping on the go.


I love Lagos because this is the only city in the world where you can leave home for work stark n*ked and be sure to buy everything you want to wear in traffic. They’ve got ironing boards too in case you want your clothes starched and properly ironed. Eko o ni baje oo.

41 comments:

  1. Lol.i haven't been to Lagos before but this should be true.
    Please visit www.estherogan.blogspot.com for worldwide entertainment news. You won't regret it.

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    1. why havnt you been lagos

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  2. Is her sayi9ng there are no virgins in Nollywood ?

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  3. The city of Lagos is as crazy as its people

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  4. Crazy people, crazy city

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  5. I prefer the crazy lifestyle of Lagos to the dull and boring lifestyle of Abuja

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  6. Lagos is one City you want to leave in a rush when things are not going fine, but a city you always want to return to in a hurry after spending few days outside of it

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    1. u correct...... u too much......

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  7. However, there are some cool and quiet places in Lagos too

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  8. I like the buying everything you need in traffic part of this writing. You can even buy poppies while in traffic

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  9. Beautiful piece. I like reading things like this on a weekend

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  10. Fashola is really doing a big job as the governor of a state like Lagos.

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  11. I remember the first time I went to Oshodi. I was so scared I thought a riot was going on with the way people were moving in different direction and with sound of molue buses everywhere

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  12. There are some areas in Lagos where the people never go to sleep. You just can't but love the state

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  13. Lagos is the state where there are more foods, but less farmers. In fact you get the best of everything in Lagos

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  14. In spite of the madness, I love the city more than any other in the country

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  15. I love my Ajegunle despite the negative things people have been saying about it

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  16. This is hitting the nail on the head if you get my drift

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  17. Lagos is one of the greatest places to live on earth

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  18. Lagos is a city for people with big hearts. Laziness is not allowed

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  19. With regular supply of electricity, good roads, and drinkable water; Lagos will be among the 20 top cities in the world

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  20. Even Fashola and Tinubu will be proud of this piece

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  21. If you haven't been to Lagos, you haven't experienced life the way it should be

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  22. This reminds me of Lagbaja's song, 'this is Lagos'

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  23. Lagos is the only state in Nigeria where people grumble about the high cost of living, but won't return to their villages

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  24. Oh pulizzz...not this guy again!

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  25. First of etcetera's numerous write ups that makes some sense to me !! welldone eko for show

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  26. Lmaooo! This Is sooo funny and interesting! Buy everything in traffic! Sometimes... someone you dropped off at the airport would get to Heathrow before u get to ur house. Traffic Eko! Hmn! I love love love this! Lol

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  27. BLOG ANALYSER: I moved from. ABJ to Lagos recently. Honestly, I didn't find Lagos easy infact it is not still easy. I felt like I was in hell. Thank God I am gradually geting used to it

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  28. This guy is effin stupid. What do you mean Abuja is boring? Are you a pauper or worth because only poor people that live in Abuja are unable or basically prohibited from attending the big boys parties or clubs. I moved to Abuja after spending years in Lagos and I can attest to the fact that Abuja is one fun city. Like in Abuja , everyone is a night owl because the fun begins at night. There are also a number of gardens in Abuja where people go every night to eat all local delicacies and have an awesome time. In all,Abuja is like Dubai and Lagos is like a shit hole .

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    1. You still can't compare ABJ to LAG. Boring, quiet whatever it doesn't have the vibe LAG has. Cool down on your dirty abusive tongue

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    2. Shut up your diarrhea mouth. You must talk too much for a person! Learn to talk politely and maybe next time he'll remember Abuja has only gardens, parks,few spots,cinema with martial art studio as clubs.

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  29. Do u have to swear so much to make your point oga? We have been at both end of the spectrum and trust me Abuja is boring.

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  30. Pls let work on this Area Boys, it is not ideal to live with nuisance who can cause havoc anytime. They are just so lawless.

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  31. Etcetera is the Best... A controversial writer and most loved writer. Don't insult him if you don't want his bees of journalist to do great research on you. Word of advice... Got a friend who did and regretted his life for attempting it.

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  32. This guy though. What he said makes sense sha
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