I’m in Lagos for an Easter convention organized by my church. It’s an annual thing and I never miss it. So you see, this is not my first time in Lagos state. But unlike other times, when I come to Lagos on the first day of the convention and stay around camp until the end and then return to my destination immediately after the last session, this time I decided to come a day before. I wanted to see Lagos a bit. The convention venue is in the outskirts of the city, so I had never seen much till today.
From the time we got to Ore in Ondo state, sleep disappeared from my eyes because in my mind, we were close. We got into Ogun state and I waited for Ogun state to be over, it just refused. From the time I saw Tai Solarin University to the time I saw the new Makun City which is somewhere around Shagamu, we spent a life time on the road.
Then I thought we had arrived because I saw yellow buses and yellow buses means Lagos (abi?). I kept waiting for some dramatic, elaborate welcome sign and I didn’t see. I was like, “you mean Governor Ambode does not even have a small troupe of Eyo masquerades waiting to welcome me?” It’s Lagos, for crying out loud. It took eternity for me to realize that we were still in Ogun state. Chai!
In the midst of my disappointment, I almost missed the toll gate with the blue sign “Welcome to Lagos State”. My heart warmed over. We were here at last. This is Lagos; crazy, overcrowded, beautiful Lagos. I should have saved my happiness for when I got home.
Ada had said to me, “stop at Ojota and take a BRT bus to Oshodi. If you enter the small yellow bus, you’d have to pay thrice what you’d pay in the BRT.” So when I alighted at Ojota park, I started looking out for the big BRT buses. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find any. It’s just that they all refused to stop. I didn’t know why.
“Excuse me, please”, I said to one guy that looked normal, “where can I get a BRT to Oshodi? He replied that the buses don’t just stop, that I would have to go wait for them under the pedestrian bridge. So I complied. Yet still, no buses stopped. I managed to go back and forth thrice with my hand bag in my left hand, my very “Nigerian” hand luggage slung over my right shoulder and my right hand holding tightly onto my phone on my stomach (it had to be in front of me where I would see it. Can’t have Nollywood happening in my life).
I managed to find one BRT bus going to Oshodi and I boarded. Only to discover that all the seats were taken and I had to stand with all my luggage. I nearly cried. I looked around for sympathy, and only one woman had the kindness to carry a child on her lap so I could take the boy’s seat. I think I said thank you up to ten times.
I told her where I was going to and she said she was going in the same direction. I immediately suspected foul play. I mean, this is how people die in Nollywood movies! But having no other option, I stuck with her. Everything was going well until the bus changed direction. I didn’t even know until she said so.
“Ah!”, I thought, “this is how people die. This is exactly how people die.”
The bus finally stopped somewhere. This Lady and I came down. She pointed that we’d have to cross over to the other side of the road, I obliged. About to cross the road, she grabbed me by the arm and pulled me towards herself. My mind was running 50 miles per minute. “Why is she holding me? Are we supposed to disappear? Is she going to stuff me into a garri sack? Am I supposed to turn into a chicken?” But she just pointed to some guys in uniform and said that if I had crossed the road, I would have been arrested, that we had to take the pedestrian bridge. I was shocked. I would have become a prisoner, just like that.
This suspicious-looking lady went out of her way to take me to my penultimate bustop. I was beyond grateful. In the end, my life is not a Nollywood movie. I got to my destination and drank two bottles of chilled water. I don’t know how people managed to look glamorous after a bus ride because I looked like mashed moi moi and I felt like there were cobwebs in my brain. Yet, in all this, Lagos still managed to capture my heart beyond explanation.
Sometimes you just have to travel and see things for yourself. Happy Easter!