Everyone had a story in their eyes. The lady selling agege bread, chanting her hymns, people walking in different directions, bus conductors screaming their routes, blearing horns, children in school uniforms walking in groups, traders opening their shops while calling the attention of prospective customers, long queues for BRT passenger and the LASTMA official who seemed unsure of the task of the day.
…the time was 7:08am, I was in Oshodi which should just be the capital of Lagos already. Oshodi tells the story of Lagos…the reality of Lagos, and on this very day, I was glad I experienced it through the eyes of the average Lagosian.
None of my observations on this day were intentional. In fact, I was lost (story for another day) and in my confusion I saw a lady being dragged on the ground by a bus. She was coming down from the bus and then the driver started to move and she fell of holding on to the door of the bus. People began to scream, the image was too vivid that I ran towards the scene also screaming. She was just the lucky one out of many who will still die of the same incident. Everyone moved on quickly as soon as the saw the woman was alright, but no one accosted the driver. It was as if people were used to this sort of occurrence that they readily accepted it. What if the situation went out of hand, how fast will an ambulance get here? So many questions trailed my mind.
Before I could complete my thought, a man in a hurry ran into me, now I’m not sure who was at fault so when he said to me, ‘commot for road!’ I conformed. The thing is, it’s not who is wrong or who is right, it’s who reacts first, we have screwed up the dynamics.
The time was now 7:45am, I was running late and I still didn’t know what side of the road I ought to be on. I walked towards the LASTMA official who by this time was sitting beside a woman who sold recharge cards, chatting away, ‘sir, I need to get to ladipo, where do I get a bus from here?’ ‘you need to get to ladipo, okay, climb the bridge to the other side you will see a bus going to toll gate, tell them you are stopping at Ladipo’. He was mimicking my voice in the most annoying way, and the people around him burst out in laughter. I said thank you and walked away still hearing him repeat himself.
The bridge had become shelter for some, it even housed a family, a woman and her children and a man lay still, lost in thought with his hand stretch holding a bowl. I heard my destination while briskly walking pass and I ran towards the direction, bumping into two or three people of course.
I had finally reached my destination, a journey of 20mins took me nearly an hour thanks to the many distractions surrounding my journey. Reflecting on the day, I began to ask, Are we truly developing as a nation? Truth is, if you really want to know how far we have come, observe the people at the bottom of the pyramid.