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Pragmatic, reserved and a deep thinker who loves family, sports especially football where am married to two wives: the first, AC Milan who has my loyalty and the second wife, Manchester United who has all my undying love and pampering, lifestyle and society parties. Need I say the law is more than a profession but a lifestyle for me.

Adekanye Adeyinka Olajide.

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You are here: Home / THE VILLAGE BOY IN LAGOS

THE VILLAGE BOY IN LAGOS

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Every time I go to Lagos, it is always a new experience – there are new things for me to learn and as much as I find Lagos astonishingly stressful, the experiences are always exhilarating and I revel in it; leaving thrilled. I am like a student on excursion in Lagos each time I visit. Hence, there is always something new to learn or be fascinated by; either the complications in the life of the typical Lagosian, or how they tend to thrive under stress. Sometimes, it is the wonder of the city itself and the ceaseless opportunities abound in Lagos, explored fully by many.

Therefore, my trip to Lagos in the week was not any exception to my previous experiences. Only that this time, I was brought to earth with all my immense exposure, which I usually take pride in. This time around, I realised that truly, I am a village boy and Lagos is the ultimate urban teacher with its vast high rising buildings, complicated road networks, constant advancement in the provision of amenities and upgrade of existing facilities to ease life of its residents is indeed impressive. Similarly, what mesmerises me most are the machineries in place to ensure there is obedience of law and order among residents though with palpable lapses. In all honesty, Lagos is the commercial hub of Nigeria.

Talking of the commercial hub of Nigeria, for the first time, I was exposed to some of the major revenue-generating centres of Lagos where most of the businesses that oils the engine of government expenditure emanate. The beehive of Lagos is at apapa, where the wharf is located; and that was my destination. For the first time I was to encounter, what it looks like and before I embarked on the journey, I must say I had not expected I would be inundated by what I will witnessed in any way.

However, boy, was I not just enamoured by it all? The rate at which businesses done at the wharf, is simply astronomical. Never in my life had I seen such number of heavy duty trucks on one road carrying containers that made them look like tearing apart to that unimaginable weight. They had different sounds at the press of their breaks. Some whistled and others gave a trembling warning sound. They were in all shapes and sizes.

The heavy trucks were so many that there was no other way of movement through them other than with the use of a motorcycle. I must say it was as if the wharf is a pilgrimage for heavy-duty trucks to come show their faith in. In other words, they had caused the longest gridlock I have ever seen with trucks alone.

I had an appointment with an illustrious personality and I knew time was not on my side so I opted for the only alternative. Ordinarily, I would not take the motorcycle no matter what but as Lagos had been redefining me right from when I alighted at the Oshodi Park and had to take a bus; the ugliest and least ventilated bus I have been in my life, which left me choked and made worse with the typical demanding intermittent traffic jams. I had lost all my typical ‘yanga,’ which other cities afforded. Hence, there was no reluctance to jumping on a bike. I soon realised there were only ‘abokis’ plying that route as bike men. My ‘aboki’ guy was a Valentino Rossi - performing various stunts between trailers and shunting his way through leaving my heart in my mouth. With the language barrier, all I could do was pray to God.

As he wriggled his way through, I marvelled at the amount of containers systematically stacked in different yards perfectly synchronised to leave enough space for lifting. It was just like in the movies. I also saw the huge display of the famous ‘KIRIKIRI’ boldly written out on some buildings. Finally, my Rossi got me to my destination safely.

I settled in to meet the legendary Mrs Funke Egbemode whom I must confess had an impeccable aura around her betraying her status. I thought she would be like the classic Nigerian politician in power but she was everything the opposite and I felt captivated by her incredible charm and brilliance. She thrilled me with her intelligence and magnanimous kindness. For once, I had met a woman who has achieved all but could still afford to keep her personality intact with an amiable humility. I left her air-conditioned, serene office elated and with my shoulders high up and back into the horrendous harmatthan sun of Lagos with its hassles and I just became lethargic. After all, I had no other choice.

Back on the streets and on a saner bike man, I delighted in the fact that I could at least pick something to laugh at about the seeming perfectly developing Lagos. The ‘KIRIKIRI’ road is an eyesore. It is unnerving that a road that harbours where the chunk of the state revenue is generated will be ignored and left at such deplorable condition. Asides from it harbouring a part of the wharf, it also is home to many big companies. Although I saw heavy presence of security on the road, that professionals will be made to suffer such hardship trying to arrive and leave various work places daily; is outrageously mindless.

There is no doubt that the government in Lagos is at least working compared to their counterparts, with lots of road works and maintenance going on, more can still be done especially in terms of enforcing laws and supervising the law enforcers too. There were instances I saw some of the enforcers carrying dangerous items, which I guess is used at netting offenders, however, there should be a sense of respecting the basic rights of others. It is wrong in my sincere opinion to use sharp metallic weapons to puncture tires. There were other places where boldly written was ‘NO STOPPING, NO PARKING’ yet commercial vehicles picked passengers up right under the noses of the enforcers.

As much as I fancy the metropolitan life of Lagos, am in no way in envy of its residents. I will rather stick to my village life other than the city that steals my peace and personality. I will rather board a taxi in my village and have it drop me at my junction rather than be famished, see an eatery in Lagos but could not alight because there was no bus stop until ten minutes drive away. Alternatively, I prefer to enjoy the peace of being in a public commuting bus in my village well ventilated, than be choked in the urban van of Lagos where a man stands and bores my strength out with the advertising of his rat killing products. So forgive me if you invite me to Lagos and I fail to make it; it is because your urban life drains my sense of belonging. However, when na money matter, trust me to show up beating all the odds.

ADEKANYE ADEYINKA OLAJIDE.