It’s been a while.
A friend sneaked into my inbox recently saying “You are alive, I thought Lagos has swallowed you”.
I know most of you think same. I have gotten messages saying “Chim, ahnn, this one you are not gisting us about Lagos again…”
Thing is, I am tired of this place. But a part of me knows that I have found home. A part of me keeps saying “You know you can’t go back to Oga Emma and his wife in Port-Harcourt”.
I am trying not to complain. But I am also learning to scream at the people who get me angry; from bus drivers to conductors and nosy passengers.
I had just finished drinking a bottle of coke once in the bus and was holding on to the empty plastic when this annoying man with heavy Hausa accent dragged the bottle from me and threw it at the back of the bus. I turned to him in confusion; “I am sorry, I didn’t ask for your help”. Like, I literally had no words. He then said something about me looking for a place to throw the can. I am the kind of person who throws cans into bins. I hate to litter.
I was not even looking for a place. I was thinking. The Bedmate furniture and LG building along the Ajah area was completely gutted by fire few days ago. I am always in a different kind of shock anytime I pass by. What they would have lost! Lives? I hope not. Properties? Sadly.
“Please next time, mind your business” I tell the man. He is saying something to his friend in Hausa. I am really disgusted.
A friend told me last week that I was in an abusive relationship with Lagos. “In fact, we all are. Lagos rapes you, molests you, abuses you…but we stay. We remain”
One of my closest friends entered a one chance bus few weeks before Palm Sunday. I cried as she narrated the horrible experience.
She was on her way to work at 6:00am in the morning and at the park where she always takes buses, a bus stopped in front of them. Four passengers were already seated and at the front sat a man wearing police uniform and the driver. She and others entered. The driver all of a sudden began to take an unfamiliar route and when they all began to question him, they were silenced with closed windows, a closed door and guns.
The “Policeman” in front was part of their team.
They were told to drop everything they had. Phones, laptops and money. They took them to an ATM and asked for their PINS. The first guy who gave them a wrong pin was shot on the leg. Others, afraid of their fate, gave them correct pins. They took #58,000 from my friend’s account.
My friend who lives in Yaba and works in Victoria Island was scared for a very long time. I too was scared because this hurt felt so personal. I stopped leaving home by 5:30am, I started being careful with the buses I enter. Extremely careful.
Speaking of buses, I was on my way to the GTB FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL on Monday. It was one of my friend’s birthday and we decided to hang out there. I left Ajah by 4 and got to Victoria Island by almost 6:30pm. A fellow passenger who sat at the front refused to move inside. She wanted to sit by the door and argued that moving inside would make her very uncomfortable. The conductor and the driver were kind of patient with her because at every bus stop there was a free space for someone to enter at the back. I had no idea what led to their new argument but the driver stopped and told the woman to GET OUT of his BUS (Death Machine as I love to call it).
After about 15minutes of time wasting, screaming and cursing, the woman got down. And just when the driver thought he had won the war, the bus refused to start. He tried and tried and tried. Everyone began screaming “Abeg, tell the woman make she come back. You no whether she don do juju? She fit be witch o”.
Some of the men had to help in pushing the bus. It was such an annoying experience.
So No, Lagos has not swallowed me. Or maybe it has. I have no idea. I am just exhausted. The crowd. The anger. Once I stopped a Keke and before I could enter, someone from nowhere had pushed me and was inside already.
I am also tired of seeing the butt cracks of Lagos bus conductors. Jesus!
Love and Light.