Letter from Lagos 7

29 Sep 2018

Hi Folks,

Trust your week started on a high note. My past week was packed full of interesting experiences and I think you should be in on it.

Recall, that I mentioned Omolara in my letter last week and I promised to catch up with her over the weekend and hear her story, yes I did and here it is. The will to survive, wits and a high sense of responsibility was what led Omolara to the business of Keke Marwa/NAPEP, the popular name for commercial tricycles in Lagos, Nigeria. Like most of the girls you see around Lagos, Omolara had paid her educational dues by earning a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration and after two years of searching; her dream job is yet to turn up. She spoke to everyone who could be of help but all they could offer was too far below her expectations. The second child in a family of four, chubby, happy and pretty, Omolara will come across like a tom-boy to anyone, though I saw differently, based on her mien and outspokenness. She always wanted to have her way and this lack of job, according to her, was beginning to make her succumb to the ways of others since she has to look up to them sometimes before she can get some of her daily needs. She told me that only two factors help girls get where they want to be, her body or her palms. She opted to seek for what her palms could do and in the process remembered who these same palms helped her survive above average through school. She earned extra cash while in school as a link between her mates and a certain washer man in her community. She had her mind on starting up a mobile dry-cleaning business but it is capital intensive, she needs to raise some funds to get started.

To raise funds, she resorted to the business of Keke NAPEP and she is 65 percent into the funds she needs to kick start the business. “This job has exposed me to different experiences, everybody wanting to date me, riff-raffs inclusive, agberos ready to fight me at all costs and the traffic authorities ready to slam me a ticket at the slightest provocation. That was why I was reluctant to give you my number at first”, she said.  I salute the courage of Omolara and I have promised to check on her from time to time to know how well she is moving towards her dreams.

Friday was too much fun for me. It was Afropolitan Vibes’ 50th Edition and a lineup of interesting performances had been scheduled. Afropolitan Vibes is a quarterly musical festival founded by Ade Bantu, that energetic and free spirited Afrobeat maestro. You should remember him now, he was the fella who took his album tour to major airports across Nigeria in 2017 and autographed one free CD for me at one of the shows. It was indeed a golden experience with electrifying performances by Omawumi, Johnny Drille and the legendary Bright Chimezie. The evening had started out really slow with clouds building up like it was going to rain, fans were apprehensive, I could see it in the numbers that were trickling in. Typical of Ade’s shows, this shouldn’t be a cause for worry as this was the trend at every other one of his shows that I have attended.

Johnny Drille, one of the sensations from Mavins records, opened the night with his hit single ‘My Beautiful Love’. Something strange happened as he sang along, Johnny suddenly stopped playing, paused, invited Ade to the stage stating that he had a score to settle. He narrated how Ade who was a panelist on Musical reality show five years earlier, had told him his performance was boring and how he was going to make sure that he changed that impression forever. Johnny Drille wowed us and I could tell, Ade was more that impressed with his performance.

Omawumi didn’t disappoint either, with her energetic dance moves and vocal prowess; every second was worth it for the excited audience. Bright Chimezie got the crowd on a hyper, you could tell by the yelling as the highlife legend mounted the stage. Chemezie was able to stamp it in that he indeed was a mix between the old and the young.

My mind was really on the elections in Osun state but these drinking mates would only talk football which is not exactly my thing. Football will probably be the only gist for the night except if I influence the gathering by buying beer which I am certain not to do.

Sunday was a date I had reserved for more than two weeks now, my Demola was going to throw a big party for his wife for her fortieth birthday celebrations, as a chartered accountant, Demola had worked with big brands across West Africa and his parties always present an opportunity to network. He had continually threatened that he’ll make sure I couldn’t drive home by the time he’s done loading me with food and liquor. I was prepared for all there was to experience, but alas! I got more than I bargained for, it was a dose of double trouble. I left home a little past seven in the evening, confident that it was going to be a freeway all the way. Halfway into the Third Mainland Bridge, I discovered the steering wheel was no longer controlling the car and I slowly dropped acceleration and managed my way to a lay-by. It was raining cats and dogs and I was all alone, I couldn’t call for help as telephone reception was really bad on the bridge. After waiting for more than twenty minutes and the rain wouldn’t subside, I decided to step into the rain in search of help. I was soaked to the teeth by the time a towing vehicle came along. So Sunday was a low but I got home safe and work is still on to get my car back into shape. In the end, no party, no booze, loads of wetness, a damaged car and a flu to cap it. I am on medication now.

Honestly, I have a good time save for Sunday evening. Another week is here and it seems to be an early start to the grooves.

What was your weekend like? Anything spectacular? Drop me a line or two, it pays to share.

Yours,

Ilupeju B