An X user recently asked people to share the craziest things they’ve seen in Lagos, and the video quotes had me in complete stitches. There was one driver who attempted to take a shit and throw it at LASTMA officials. And there was the road rage video that showed two drivers completely destroying their vehicles.
I decided to find individuals who could share narrated versions of the craziest things they’ve witnessed in the Centre of Excellence.
I saw one of those viral videos of a LASTMA driver on the bonnet of a speeding car in real life. And it’s the craziest thing my eyes have seen since I relocated to Lagos from Osogbo. I was waiting for a bus, and a car zoomed by with a human being on the bonnet. I was too stunned for words. Thank God some people recorded because I just kept wondering who’d believe me if I gave them the gist without evidence.
Balikis*, Late 30s
On my way back home from work, I took a bus from Oshodi underbridge. Everything seemed normal until I noticed the conductor’s waist. This guy had several waist beads on. An old woman beside me saw it, but instead of ignoring it, she reached for his waist and tried to yank them off. The conductor didn’t appreciate the woman invading his privacy like that, so chaos ensued. There was a shouting match with a lot of cursing. The whole thing was like a movie — the male conductor who wore beads, and the overreaching granny who tried to remove them.
One day in Mushin, I heard people chanting outside my house, and it was giving strong Koto-Aiye vibes. I know traditionalists carry out oro festivals in Lagos, but I’d never heard of them doing it in broad daylight. I went to the window to see what the drama was all about and nothing could’ve prepared me for what I saw: a long queue of old men and women in white wrapper, and nothing covering their chest region. Some had wooden staffs, calabash with fire, live chickens and birds, and so many other weird things. But they also had proper “rich people” vibes. They wore expensive-looking rings and necklaces. They walked on in a single file, chanting their thing. It gave me the chills.
I visited a friend in one of these expensive estates on the island. The buildings looked nice, and my inner spirit was just screaming, “God, when?” But that was all short-lived because I got to a T-junction, and what I saw scarred me for a while: calabashes in different sizes filled with weird food combinations. It looked like a scene from a Nollywood movie. I quickly faced front and raced to my friend’s place. He laughed at me when I told him about it. Apparently, some traditionalists live in the estate.
I was at a BRT bus stop when I saw this young man fall to the ground in a seizure. He looked well dressed, and I assumed he was coming from work. To my complete shock and surprise, nobody tried to approach him. Everyone just moved back and watched as the poor man writhed on the floor. I felt awful, but seeing everyone stay put forced me to do the same. This is Lagos, you might end up offering to help not knowing you’re setting yourself up for trouble. Some minutes later, the BRT bus arrived and everyone entered without tending to him. I watched from the window as the guy stood up and cleaned himself up. On the bus ride, the passengers talked about how they’d watched people scam unsuspecting victims with fake epilepsy episodes. In my head, I was just thinking, “What if it wasn’t fake?” “What if he really needed help?” “What if he died?” Lagos is the ghetto.
My office was on Allen Avenue, and during the day, everywhere always looked normal. I couldn’t relate to some of the stories of sex workers I’d heard in the past. But on this fateful day, we’d closed super late because it was the last day of work for the year. I left the office around 9:30 p.m., and on my way to the bus stop, I got to this hotel and saw some ladies outside looking for customers. My first instinct was to cross to the other side of the road, but I thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?” So I just kept a straight face and walked past. I got to their midst, and they started saying, “Fine boy, you won do?” “Come chop your mama ponmo,” “You won fuck toto?” some of them even tried to pull me. It was too much. I couldn’t believe I was witnessing the Nollywood portrayals in real life.
A brand was doing product activation at the market in Ojuwoye, Mushin, and they had a dance competition. This weirdly dressed person showed up out of nowhere to scare people away. Turned out he had mental illness. The market women started making a case that the brand should just allow him to participate in the dance competition. Obviously, the brand didn’t want that, and even the other contestants weren’t comfortable. But the guy refused to leave. Eventually, they made space for him, and he started dancing. He had mad moves that made it less clear he was unwell. The market people started clapping and hailing him. It was such a weird and interesting day.