The city I live in is a large one, not just based on square meters but on population and the contrasting lifestyle.
I feel it should be made into three different states. Amuwo Odofin, Surulere, Ikeja, Maryland, Ojota, Oshodi… Should be called Mainland state. Lagos Island, Ikoyi, Victoria island, Lekki and VGC should be Island or Atlantic state. Ajah upwards should just be called Cameroon and anywhere from Ojo barracks down towards Badagry, after Iyana Ipaja down to Abule-egba, and areas from ojodu berger and beyond should not even be termed Lagos at all. Let’s just leave them as Ogun state.
This way when you live in the Mainland state and are working in the Island state your employers would be more understanding when you come in late.
For real, someone living in Aba and working in Port Harcourt will get to work in a shorter period than someone going to work from one part of Lagos to another. This morning I left home before nine A.M. for a twelve P.M. appointment but arrived by one P.M. I practically spend eight hours in traffic daily; four to and four from.
Distance aside, the lifestyle between these areas is also greatly different. The energy too. I live in the mainland, in an area where I can claim ‘local champion’. Where I walk down the street and wonder why I am receiving too many appreciative stares. Where I speak pretty normal and they say I sound like one who just returned from overseas. It is easy to feel like a mini celebrity here.
I have big dreams, very mighty ones that make people shake their head and call me “Onye ocha nna ya di oji” (a white person with a black father) because blacks like us ought to be more realistic and leave the fairy tales to the whites.
Sometimes while riding on the high pedestal I have been unwittingly placed there is a false sense of fulfillment that lulls me into complacency. I feel like I have arrived, then I relax… until I visit the Island.
The Island life is the one I always envision for myself, where I live in a neighborhood with clean streets and smooth roads beautified with flowers, where I can jog boldly with my ear piece on and my phone in my pant pocket (the last time I tried bringing out my phone at night in my neighborhood I received a deafening slap and my phone was stolen from me), where there are the kinds of secondary social amenities reserved for the high class; manicured lawns with chairs made of concrete, basketball fields… where rather than discuss NEPA woes with my neighbors we discuss our last trip abroad and how UK visa is now so hard to get.
Once on the Island I’m a different person. I cease to be the celebrity with all eyes on her and suddenly have my eyes on everyone and everything. There are so many beautiful people and things to see I get lost just observing. I feel so small here. No one notices me. There are too many things worth noticing to focus on just one.
Then the discontent hits painfully, leaving a part of my core feeling empty and lacking, making me wish to achieve something worth being noticed for, reminding me of all I dream to be, exposing me to the numerous achievers this area boasts of and revealing to me all that can be achieved. I usually leave the Island realizing how far I need to go, how much work needs to be done.
On the Island I believe I can achieve it all. On the mainland I feel it is not in my hands but up to God who sits above and decides who will be great and who will be a beneficiary of the great ones. Even our church in this area differs in the way they preach.
My mainland church teaches us to be content and take consolation in the reward the bible promises the poor, how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven and how Our Father in heaven hears the cry of the needy, though I wonder why it is the rich who get their prayers answered faster. The church close to my house, that keeps us awake most nights, bind and cast every spirit holding their destiny. The spirits seem so powerful if they have to be bound every week and still remain free. However the church I attend when on the Island preaches in a way that leans towards motivation and encourages parishioners to dream, achieve, use their talent and in turn give back to God by helping our poor, needy brethren and treating our domestic helps right.
Most times I am caught in a web of confusion and contradictions, a kind of tug between my Mainland self and my Island self; between being contented and living for heaven alone or aggressively going after my earthly dreams and being fruitful here on earth.
Irrespective of how conflicting my two selves are, ultimately they want the same thing; to have that moment, the type made in Hollywood heaven where I give a world class, skin tingling, heart swelling performance, take a bow and smile breathless into a cheering crowd, crazed and awestruck by my performance. A performance excellent enough for both the Island and Mainland crowd. My personal wow moment.
Maybe then the governor of Lagos will grant me audience to discuss my suggestion for Mainland and Island states creation; though I know it will never be considered. The joy will be in knowing he recognizes me.
P.S: in case of any grammar error, biko gbaghara, oyibo biara abia (please forgive, English is foreign to us.)