Ever since it became finally certain that I was moving to Lagos, I had it at the back of my mind to document my experiences no matter what. So around October last year when I got the confirmation, I was excited not because it is Lagos but because I would be away from a lot of drama and other shenanigans.
The moment the excitement of freedom died down. I realized the number one challenge I needed to conquer was my accommodation.
I have read stories of house scarcity in Lagos and how strategic renting of spaces in some neighborhoods puts you at a good advantage to; not spend hours in traffic, not having to deal with flooded roads and streets when the rain comes. So I started looking for houses online and offline, I was contacting agents online while also asking my friends who are Lagos based to help me find good spaces. Now that was where the first of my problems began.
Did I see houses? well, yes, however, most of the spaces I saw for the budget I had were way too small or lacked good construction finishing. Some looked like spaces for poultry rearing. I mean those birds can even do better.
That was where the need to get a roommate/ flatmate came in. The idea of getting a roommate is to get a better and bigger space while paying a little above my budget. I readily agreed to this suggestion and went on Twitter to put out an announcement. The first person to contact me referred me to a corp member which was exciting because I finished serving in 2018 plus the anticipation for otondo gists and all. I sha felt we would get along.
Eventually when I contacted the corp member, she told me how much I’d pay which seemed fair and she also said it’s a two bedroom apartment which sounded perfect! I asked for a video so that I could see the space. Fam! I wasn’t prepared. It was actually a room and a parlour so she intended I’d be staying in the parlour which she would convert into a room for me out of her magnanimity. What an amazing soul! The second thing was the dirty plastering on the walls. I am sure whoever did that wall did it for free because it was so horrible. No amount of painting can erase that horror. So that was that about my first roommate.
The second lady I got seemed promising the first time we spoke. I told her I found a space but we were expected to come check it out and since I was not in Lagos at the time, she should make that sacrifice. Well, she also told me she would be going for a training in Ibadan that weekend so she couldn’t. While contemplating which of my friends I would beg to help us do the inspection she casually threw in the fact that she could not share a space. Instead, she wants me to help her check for a self-con. “Okay! So I am your house agent now?” Crossed! I stopped responding to her texts and removed her from my list of prospective flatmates/roommates.
The third person I got in touch with had a great deal. When I contacted her to make some inquiries she said the spaces available were meant for ONLY working class women.
I took that L and moved on.
The last person I contacted also had a great deal but she stopped responding to my texts when I asked her to share me a video of the space. Lagos nawa!
It was such an exhausting and frustrating experience. I started contemplating staying back in Ilorin since nobody was chasing me. Apart from the troubles I had with prospective housemates/roommates, the house agents drama was there too. Some of them chat with you nonchalantly. Well, I don’t blame them since there is a huge demand for houses. Some want to cheat and rip you off because everybody dey hustle for Lagos. Others are ready to help you with spaces but you must drop the money immediately! Even if the roof is leaking, even if the toilet has ‘slight’ issues.
All my troubles finally paid off in February. I got a space! I wasn’t even expecting it to turn out as great as it did but it was awesome and the view is great! And there is water and light! And it is furnished! God bless God!
Another major challenge I faced is… honk! honk!! Lagos traffic. I know Lagosians talk about the traffic at every chance they got but fam! They didn’t exaggerate it one bit! The traffic in Lagos is mad!!! And so far I have noticed they are of different types. There is the one that will be moving small small this type affords you the opportunity to get blown by small breeze once in a while.
There is the one that will hold you for 15-30 mins this type will have you noticing random things around you if you are not pressing your phone, like the sweaty armpit of the person sitting beside you in the bus, the fervent preacher in the bus beside you, the rise and fall of the conductor’s chest and his nails filled with grime, his tight hold on the money and the tiny beads of sweat on his head. You will notice the woman with her baby slowly rocking back and forth to stop the child from fussing. That is the manageable traffic.
Then there is the MOTHER OF ALL TRAFFICS! It will hold on to you for hours like a stubborn ex who still think you are in a toxic relationship with them. In this type of traffic you don’t notice anything you just want to get to your destination safely. The drivers of each cars sit behind the steering with a glare on their faces while they sweat profusely, those in AC vehicles are not any better because their bumbum is also feeling it.
There is a general tenseness and the air smells of sweat, dirty money and the Lagos dream. Yes the Lagos dream or isn’t that why the city is overpopulated?
Also, Lagos is the land of fast tricks so I am in the process of mastering the art of discerning them. If you are not extra observant and smart you will be extorted/cheated. The danfo driver who purposely puts his bus that has little fuel on the road knows what he is doing, the conductor that refuses to give you your change even though he has it knows what he is doing, the market seller that changes prices from person to person due to how they appear knows what they are doing.
Everybody is smart or they pretend to be but it still doesn’t change the fact that small slacking will result into Lagosians taking you for vanishing. Besides, it’s all a survival of the fittest! Darwin theory is factual after all!!
Let me add that sometimes last week while running around trying to put some things in place, I got super overwhelmed that I almost broke down but I didn’t. That period, angels in form of Agberos came through for me. The one that said kind words at Ikola junction really lifted my spirits, as if he knew. The random one at Yaba market that told me to slow down because everything will be fine made me feel at ease. Thanks my Agbero angels.
To wrap things up, I am still adjusting to the Lagos life. I always make sure to ask questions from people or I contact my friends Subomi and Peter. I will be sharing more of my experiences with you guys if things don’t get too busy for me. I hope.
Thank you all for your patience during my long absence.
And Kanzah is signing out with the popular Lagos parlance mafo!!!