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“Madness Resides In Lagos” — An Opinion Piece by Flourish Joshua

As a Lagosian, whether you were born in Lagos or you work in Lagos, but live in Ogun State; whether you live on the island or on the low lands; Banana or Ajegunle Island, every day, as you use Lagos roads, tread Lagos paths and converse with Lagos people, find somewhere in your mind to bear it, that you are the only sane person on the road and everyone else approaching you is mad—and ‘minding your business’ isn’t even a remedy.

Believe it or not, in Lagos, minding your business is literally ‘anywhere belle face’ because no be only you, get where bodi dey pinch you. The Yoruba conductor shouting “‘Oshodi’ as ‘Oshooo’ is not feeling too well, at all. The Igbo man who knows fully well, that his blazers can be sold for ₦5k, but tells you ₦20k, is equally a patient. The kind Hausa yam seller who is lenient in his sales, but lays his curses on you like a hen, is same as the first Yoruba conductor and the second Igbo man. At the end of the day, you will discover that everyone is mad and you are the only one who is not insane.

For every boutique Chibuzor, there is always a ‘never-disappoint’ Chinedu somewhere who has in store, what just went out of stock in Chibuzor’s boutique. Don’t even think you can get away with him. His brother will always have what has just finished from his store. For every flying angry Yoruba bird, there is always a landing space for curses, spells and jinxes. “No too reason am. Na so e be.” And for every Hausa dress, there is a ready-made portable knife that accompanies the dress. It is the tradition. Leave it that way. They are part of the madness.

Every Lagosian lives in three places: their house, their office and in traffic. Forget what you see in the brochures, 90% of people living in Lagos are suffering from high blood pressure because the place that matters a lot to us is where we spend the least of our time, while the place that has absolutely no meaning to us, is where we spend the most of our time—sitting in a tight uncomfortable bus for hours and hours on a seat of metal and wood, while enduring the smell of over 14 humans who may or may not be missing a bath. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Mr Conductor.

And if you have ever entered a Lagos molue, you need a thorough sanctification. I see a reincarnation of the ‘molue spirit’ in BRT buses these days—the smell, the hustle, the bustle, the fight, the danger, the rush, et all. Everyone wants to get to the same place at the same time, your business is every other person’s. These days, the only difference between a Lagos molue and a Lagos BRT bus is that BRT buses have no conductors. And if they did, they are more coordinated than the Lagos molue conductors. Funny, right?

It is not untrue that every vicinity has its tigeritude, regardless of its domesticability, but Lagos, in exception, is one of the only place in the world where one dies interestingly. And taking an in-depth look into this, is like sipping a new wine.

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