Naija has them…

In an interview that I read in a past Sunday Guardian edition… an Abuja-based fashion and lifestyle blogger claimed the reason she doesn’t like Abuja is because, in her words, “People here are stuck up and self-absorbed and no vibes to the city. The buildings are erected and painted without a story.’’

Well, I do not know about the buildings not telling a story, but I can definitely relate to the rest of her claim about the city. I once had to tell a friend that there is something “impersonal” about Abuja.

I also remember the words of a dear friend when I tried convincing her to accept a job offer in Abuja-even though she has no friends or relatives in the city. My argument was premised on the hope that one can always meet people and build a social support system from there.

Her exact response was: “Oby, Abuja is a jungle!’’

Below is my impression/feeling about most cities that I have visited in Nigeria.

Abuja- is definitely a saner environment if compared to Lagos…but it lacks the “warmth” of Lagos. Probably explains why most people in Abuja dread visiting Lagos.

Abuja seems cold, that ‘jungleness’ that my friend talked about, that is, “You are on your own if you are new in town.’’

One has even heard stories of the attitude of a lot of people in Abuja, when it comes to helping to accommodate friends and folks. Maybe the costliness of accommodation there is responsible for that, coupled with the fact that most people crave their space a lot. And we know how to overstay our welcome in this part of the world. This is one environment in which very few people resist the urge to rest on a “relief” that comes their way-no matter how temporary. Most squatters don’t “shift body” until you have practically thrown them out of your house.

That notwithstanding, I hear most people in Abuja are stingy…accommodation wise.

For example, a call to tell your buddy in Abuja that you are in town will most likely fetch you a response like-‘’hey, please text the name of the hotel you are putting up at, so that I can come see you there’…rather than an invitation to the house like Africans do.

If you receive such a response, just know that you have been smartly told that you should be staying in a hotel!

Another name for Lagos is STRESS.

No doubt but even a newcomer knows there is something “welcoming” about Lagos.

In Lagos, accommodating someone is often not a big deal.

Lagos is where you are most likely to find many people, who probably met themselves on the streets, in a one- room apartment. Everyone goes for his hustling bit in the morning, each comes back in the evening…clutching Agege bread, akara and pure water for dinner. After ‘downing’ such, everyone retires to wherever he finds a space in the room to lay his head for the night and in the morning-the hustling continues.

That is the “warmth” of Lagos that I am talking about and, as a lady in the city, one never really gets to have it so rough…because there is always someone to cry to or “flash”-if it’s that bad (winks).

Lagos records most instances of life-long friendships that were formed from the streets. It offers something to every economic class, so your “big man” disposition is just for your pocket. Lagos does not look at the face to reward anybody who can survive its bustle.

Only a Lagos child that is donned in okirika (used wears) from head to toe-can oppress a designer-drenched cutie with ‘swags’.

Port Harcourt is neither here nor there for me-all expensive living for a disorderly environment that does not even boast of very superb structures. I, however, love the “fisherman” lifestyle here…what with those roadside roasted plantains/yam, pepper and vegetable in palm oil sauce with grilled fish…my God!

Calabar- This is a haven, in terms of neatness and the delicacies. The men will even tell you that Calabar girls add to the thrill of the environment.

Aba remains a ‘no’ for me in terms of cleanliness and orderliness.

Onitsha… There is a remarkable improvement by recent governments -in terms of orderliness.

Enugu is laid-back but very serene.

Owerri… I keep wondering why every street in this town boasts of a hotel, at least. Is it to do with our “quick turnover” attitude to business? What happens to building industries? I think there is something disturbing about a setting that has most young girls working in hotels.

Northern States (e.g. Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Adamawa): Life seems easy-going in the North. The people are quite polite and always have a ‘shy’ smile for visitors. I also note a lack of inordinate ambition in the youths.

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