Diary Of An Ibadan Hustler In Lagos (EPISODE 6)





There is no gain without pains. As the old advertisement slogan of the OMO Multi Active Detergent says ''there is no learning without stains" All these insinuations depict the pains of trying something new in life. They all come with new challenges your person will have to conform with. All these will help you in being a better and more improved person when you get over it.

 Back in Ibadan I had all the basic comfort facilities I could ever think of. The cost of living was of living was outrightly cheap, my parents have houses in Ibadan and its impossible for me to sleep in them at once, my parents are not too rich but my family boasts of the culture of massive eating. You may not enjoy the luxury of visiting top eateries in the neighbourhood but the cookings of my mother and sister were in excess. Today, everything seems to have changed. I remember budgeting a minute sum of just N2, 000 on transport to work in a month while in Ibadan which a lot of people frowned at as they felt it was too much. In Lagos today, the amount has gone up by 10 times. That is what you get when you want to advance in life.
That is part of the pains of accepting new challenges.


I remember the ease of transportation from my house at Jericho to my working place at Ring Road in Ibadan. Atimes I used to make it to work within a time frame of 10 to 15 minutes. I loved the breeze and the speed of the commercial motorcycles popularly called the "Okadas" it was the cheapest luxury affordable to all poor or average class individuals in Ibadan. Over here in Lagos, motorcycles have been banned on major roads and the motorcycles are highly restricted to some streets. The cheap comfort got me flying over the moon. This is a feeling only me understands. The traffic was mostly free leading to the ease of movement. This changed in Lagos. Movement by commercial motorcycles here is like a luxury among the 'higher masses', it could be more expensive than flying a private plane to work except you want to move around your street. The prices are constantly well determined by turn out of events. When the traffic is intensive, the price skyrockets but may remain moderate if the traffic conditions are normal. Are the conditions ever normal?  My bed misses me. In Lagos, you wake up as early as 4am in the morning to head to work and still arrive late. This accounts for the reason why several passengers sleep in Lagos buses. It was strange to me when I came in newly but a careful observation and research revealed the surrounding circumstances to me.  It’s either a case of the buses at the park not getting filled up with passengers before movement or you are being faced with the traffic issues historically affecting Lagos state. The hold-up hassles could make you fall sick. One of my cousins once joked after spending over 5 hours in a grid-lock that an accumulation of such stress is capable of reducing a Lagosian's lifespan. As funny as this may seem, there is an element of truth in it.

I once left the house around 7am for work; the bus took off but got entangled in traffic. We spent a 'short' period of 2 hours in a stagnant state. I cried in my heart, I love keeping up with time. I had to call the office to lodge the complaint. It wasn't new to them. Such act could lead you into problems in Ibadan. The incident happens when I am heading home. It is worse when you are plying the Festac Town route, passing through the touts-filled Orile and Mile2 Streets. Those are the most dangerous places to hang around at night. There is always a problem of getting commercial vehicles home. The grid-lock is like a norm. These areas boast thousands of able-bodied men without a decent way of living. They pour out of several corners of the streets in their hundreds without a definite motive to achieve roaming around. Waiting for opportunities to rob people or cause chaos. The sight of them at the bus stops when it is dark is very scary. You will notice some dark-skinned young men with terrible scars on their faces from previous fights and struggles. They will never hustle to enter buses. They will only pretend to do so pick pockets. I sit down a times and wonder how long I could take this.

Each time I remember home, I smile at the beautiful beds I had in Ibadan. The comfort was amazing but over here in Lagos, the inevitable culture of temporary squatting for newcomers forced me to sleep on bare tiles. I used the carton of a flat screen Television as my pillow and the carton of a GOTV decoder as the other part of my supposed bed. The dramatic events that led to this happened when my pal's girlfriend returned from the NYSC camp. She was excited to see him that night. I saw hunger in her eyes. The body language was too glaring. Sharing the bed with them in the room would have prompted her to stab me in the middle of the night. I quietly created a makeshift bed for myself. My pal looked at me with pity but I returned his look with a bright smile. The discomfort was quite much; the ground was too hard on my skin coupled with so much coldness. For close to two hours, I was yet to find a convenient spot to drive myself to rest for the following day's work. I remembered home again and I smiled in pains. I wanted to take a selfie which I would have kept safely like an artifact because the day deserves to be remembered. The day would be used as a testimony to encourage others when things certainly get better. My phone never afforded me the opportunity of a historic selfie as it was faulty. My philosophy of life changed when I got to Lagos. I believe there is nothing wrong in passing through odd roads to reach your paradise. It’s only wrong when you dwell permanently on the odd roads.

I have to accept that the level of comfort I had in Ibadan as well as the absence of real competitors limited me. I felt on top of the sky over there while I was still too close to the ground like I was standing up from a fall.

I hope to win big in Lagos. A lot of people believe you can make it anywhere if you can make it in Lagos and I vividly believe it is true.
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About Osayimwen Osahon George

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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