I am a Lagosian, through and through. Forget that my parents do not come from Lagos, neither was I born here; do not bother that my understanding of the Yoruba language is ‘cut and join’, but know it that you cannot tell ‘ori okpe’ and I will not understand that you cussing me out.
Yes, like I said, I am now a Lagosian because the constitution of Nigeria stipulates that if you live in a place for more than 10 years, you are free to become a citizen of that place. So going by that, I am now full blooded ‘Eko’ man and I can even vie for a councillorship position in my local community.
I know that many Lagos people are right now giving thumbs up to Governor Babatunde Fashola for transforming Lagos State to the Center of Excellence that it is today but me o, I am not happy with the man for stripping Lagos of its former ambience.
So I am appealing to the man to bring back my Lagos of old. If he refuses to do that, I am going to embark on a one man protest and take my case to Alausa and confront him one on one.
I want that Lagos where Oshodi was a ‘no go area,’ especially at night or very early in the morning. At that time, you had to be on your guard and best behavior or the ‘boy’ would strip you of any valuable on you.
My first baptism of the Lagos madness took place in Oshodi. Fresh from college, I came to visit my uncle and the man, callous and all, decided to send me to Oshodi the very next day. He gave me some money to buy things, with directions on how to get there and back. With my ‘Johnny-Just-Come’ look, I was a marked man.
After buying one or two things, extracting the money gingerly from my pocket, (in my mind, I thought I was being careful), one rugged ‘area boy’ approached me and tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up to see his blood-shot eyes, four front teeth missing and he smelt like a left over corpse coming out of an ‘ogogoro’, (illicit gin), depot. My heart skipped a beat and I knew I was done for.
The guy demanded I gave him money and in my naivety, I told him the money I had on me was for my uncle. Little did I know that I had set myself up.
“You dey craze?” he bellowed in a cracked voice.
“No sir,” I replied.
“Oya, bring the money now or we go kill you here and nobody go talk.”
Okay now, I was already a dead man, so I dipped my hand into my pocket and brought out some money. My tormentor collected the money and demanded for more.
As he was doing so, he kept gesticulating, as if telling some people to wait because he was doing a good job. Funny enough, people were moving about, including some police officers but no one stopped to intervene. My man kept demanding money from me, telling me he would not hesitate to kill me if I refused to give him all the money in my pocket.
‘Wise guy’ that I thought I was, I kept bringing out the money in piece meal, hoping the guy would get tired and walk away but he kept demanding for more. When I knew the ‘agbero’ guy wanted to wreck me, I did what I should have done in the first place. I decided to dialogue with my legs and took off. Not knowing where to go, I jumped into a passing ‘Molue’ bus, to God-knows-where.
On hindsight, after I had spent a considerable time in Lagos, I look back and kind of enjoyed such scenarios. And now, this man has stripped Lagos State of all it used to be.
Everything is gone; the good old Molue, Okada, Ojuelegba, Mushin, Oshodi; name them.
Let’s meet next week to continue this discussion.