by Micheal Ace
If your money or phone goes missing on the street of Ibadan, it’s either you are careless or your purse is damaged. If that happens on
the street of Lagos, don’t even think about it. Lasgidi boys have taken their offering. Lagos is a city of hustlers. They say the blessings of the street end on the street, that’s exactly how and what Lagos is.
My first time in Lagos since I became a grown man was May 2, 2012. Everyone at some point in their lives leaves their father’s house, or let me say comfort zone and search for a green pasture. Only a foolish full grown man lives by his mother’s meal every day without having anything to call his. They won’t tell you you’re becoming a burden, at least not directly. They won’t tell you it’s time you find yourself a life somehow somewhere and fulfil that which you call a dream, but if you’re very observant, you’ll notice almost every of your actions displeases them. They have invested in you so far, there comes the time when you need to pay back in folds.
I arrived at Ikeja some minutes to twelve in the night. It was the first time I realised Ibadan people were a bunch of lazy bums. At 10 pm, you can’t find any shop still open. All doors closed and even the street as silent as though there were no lives around. It surprised me to see food vendors on duty, even the bus stops were loaded with buses waiting to transport passengers. Lagos life is beautiful. You will keep saying that until you experience the trauma that comes with it. I called my uncle and informed him I had arrived. I decided to sit and wait on one of the benches beside a paraga woman. There is nothing as interesting as listening to drunk men argue. You laugh and pick points whenever they stumble on sanity.
I was lost in this adventure. How could I not be engaged when full-grown men who probably fathered children attacked themselves verbally
over issues that didn’t warrant discourse? The scene was entertaining enough that I forgot I had waited for more than an hour. It came to a time one of those men threatened to stab the other over calling him a drunkard. They lost control and finally began to throw fists at
themselves. I watched until I received my brother’s call. It was then I realised I’ve been robbed. I was perplexed, I still saw the small bag a few minutes ago. I never knew I was alone until everyone ignored me despite my cries and pleas. I looked at them and I felt hate grow strong in me.
I hated Lagos that very moment.
The very first day I arrived in Lagos, I paid my tithe. I was robbed of a bag which contained my wallet, earpiece, charger, hard disk and
some of my precious belongings and I didn’t even know how it happened. I thought I was smart but I wasn’t. To live and hustle in Lagos, you
have to sacrifice your conscience and grow guts. That I wasn’t ready to do. I left Lagos a few days later and never returned.
And I will never return!
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Michael is a Poet and writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. He tweets @lordace32. You can follow his series “Diary of a Nigerian hustler” on ynaija.com