Having spent virtually 97% of my life in Lagos, Nigeria. I think I can say I have gathered enough intel on how things work in Lagos.
From the goodness of my heart, I have decided to compile a list of tips and tricks to help make life in Lagos so much easier.
I find it absolutely amazing that the act of going okrika shopping has been given a tush name. Well, I can’t complain. It feels better to say, “oh, my top was thrifted at Ikotun market for 500 naira”, than to say, “I got my top at the okrika market at Ikotun”.
If you stay in Lagos and you have not had the thrifting experience, I advice you to seek out the nearest
okrika thrift market, and have fun shopping.
- Always have spare change in your purse/wallet.
If like me you do not have a problem jumping the yellow danfo buses, please do ensure you always carry spare change in your purse/wallet.
Trust me when I say, you do not want to get into an argument with the bus conductor. The most annoying thing is when the conductor gives you 200 and tells you and someone to share it into 100 naira notes.
I once had to let a guy go with my 20 naira. Oh, the pain! (clutches chest).
- Always, always, ask for directions from more than two people.
I remember one day I had an interview at Yaba. So I got to Oshodi, and had to get a bus going to Yaba.
I asked a guy where I would get a bus, and he told me, “Just walk down”, so I walked down, and still couldn’t get a vehicle. So I asked a second guy and he went, “Just keep on walking straight”. Straight to the bridge?, or straight across the road till I come to the train tracks?
Thankfully, I heard the conductors yelling Yaba, and that’s how I got to my interview on time.
Please, always ask for directions from more than one person. You really do not want to end up in Mowe, when you were just trying to get to Magodo!
P.S: The interview was a total flop. When I saw the question ‘Who is the current basketball MVP?’. I knew that it was all over.
- Never, ever give a hawker money until they give you your change.
No jokes. ALWAYS COLLECT YOUR CHANGE BEFORE GIVING THE HAWKER YOUR MONEY.
Those guys are expert runners, and if they decide to take off with your 1000 naira note, your soul will be in so much pain. Even if your change is 10 naira, and you plan on giving the seller 20 naira, make sure you have collected your change first.
Enough said. A word is enough for the wise!
- If you can, avoid arguing with conductors.
Conductors in Lagos have been known to strip people naked for very little reasons.
I beg you, even if it means letting your 50 naira change go. Try your best to avoid confrontation with conductors in Lagos.
But if you can handle them, please, on behalf of all of us who have had to dash them our change, or have had to bear unsolicited insults, deal with that conductor!!
- If you are pregnant or have children with you, call a cab, if you can.
Please, pregnant, or not, Lagosians will treat everyone unfairly, absolutely everyone.
The person near the window could completely ignore your bulging stomach and make you move inside (in between two very fat women, if I may add).
I have been in tricycles when a woman with two children comes in, and I just unlook. I paid for my seat, and I cannot lap one of your children, your pikin no be my own.
In order to save yourself from unnecessary stress, and from unlookers like me, call a cab, or better still, leave your kids at home.
You really, really do not want to cross Oshodi-Apapa Expressway with your two children.
- Moisturizing your face could be a horrible decision.
If you must, use very little lotion, or moisturizer, or whatever.
Lagos has a special breed of sunshine.
- You see that very last seat, the one to the right, near the bus window? Be like Ihuoma, and make it your signature seat.
If you can ignore the angry Yoruba women saying you lack respect because you didn’t move inside, then you are good to go.
Fresh air. Ease of exit. Freedom from being compressed by two fat people.
Just a few of the things you stand to gain from sitting on that particular seat.
- If you have a UBA, Zenith, GT, or Ecobank debit card, just use other bank ATMs.
These particular bank ATMs are always crowded. UBA is just the absolute worst.
I do not understand if these banks give very good offers of interest if you bank with them, someone explain to me???
- Avoid doing the hairstyle called ‘fringe’.
All I can is, the Lagos sun will make you loathe the day you had the thought to make that particular hairstyle.
- Move your phone away from the window.
If you are are sitting near the window and you have to use your phone, move it as far away as possible from the window.
People’s phones have been snatched from them through the window in broad day light.
If your car window must be wound down, place your bag on your car foot-mat. This makes it less easier for people to snatch your bag
- Put your property where you can see it.
To add to the previous point, avoid putting your phone, or money in your back pocket. In fact, do not put anything where you cannot have your eyes on it constantly.
Minus the fact that your pocket might be picked, you do not want to sit on your phone and break the screen.
- Wear very light make-up
Again, Lagos sun.
- Shopping at Mr Price
If you do plan on doing your clothes shopping at Mr Price, just know that about 50 other people have the same clothes you want to buy.
- Nigerian Police
If you are stopped by the Nigerian police and they demand money from you for no reason at all, give them nothing.
If you know you have done nothing wrong, you owe them absolutely nothing!
If they have guns, you might want to be careful though.
- Motorcycles are lifesavers.
If you have experienced Lagos traffic, you definitely know what I am talking about.
The joy of the wind in your hair, the fresh air hitting your face, the happiness you feel as you weave through the traffic, the feeling of ecstasy when you get home 30 minutes earlier than you would have if you used a car.
P.S: Before you get on a motorcycle, do take a very good look at the rider. If his eyes are red, walk away. If you catch even the faintest whiff of alcohol, walk away.
Inasmuch as bike rides are awesome, you do not want to fall off one, or worse still, get knocked down by a car all thanks to your careless bike guy.
Shine your eyes. Your life is very valuable.
- Have your umbrella permanently in your bag.
I know I have been making a lot of noise about how the sun in Lagos can literally kill you. But let me talk about the spontaneity of the rain here.
Forget everything you were taught in primary school about how we have the rainy season and the dry season.
The sun could be shining in full force by 2:35pm, and by 2:40pm, it is raining cats and dogs.
I. Kid. You. Not.
- Be nice to elderly people.
Except you do not mind shouts of, omo buruku (Yoruba: bad child), omo jatijati (Yoruba: rubbish child), olori buruku (Yoruba: senseless person), anu ofia (Igbo: wild animal), onye nzuzu (Igbo: useless person), and the many insults elderly people specialize in hurling at people younger than them.
Then, you must be nice to older people.
I feel like I did not cover this list extensively, but if you have any more tips, and tricks that could be of help, please do feel free to include them in the comment box below.
Remember to like and share this post.
Happy Democracy Day!