Diary of Lagos, Day 1: I am in Lagos

PictureHeritage Bank and Lagos State Sports Commission Initiative tagged, Skoolympics

My journey to the Federation Cup final started in May when I travelled with the Go Round FC team to Makurdi to as they beat Yobe Stars 3-1 in the Round of 64.
It was truncated a few weeks later as the Go Round team lost 1-0 to Nasarawa United in a controversial game, but that is a matter for another day.
However, the Federation Cup continued for me and it is time to attend the Cup final like I have done every single year since 2003, except for 2008 when more serious matters took me away.
My last time out in Lagos was on my return from Spain in August and I believe this will not be my last trip this year, but I digress.
My wife left me because I was broke
My first port of call on arrival in Lagos was the Tesilim Balogun Stadium where I had to meet with the chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu who I have known for almost ten years now.
The taxi driver (not uber… I don’t do that rubbish) that took me to the commissioner’s office was a happy go lucky guy.
After we haggled over how much I would pay him there was the small matter of an extra two hundred naira which I said I wouldn’t pay.
I “threatened him” like a Port Harcourt militant would and said I would fight with him at the Stadium if he did not agree with my terms and he raised his hands in the air and said, “Oga, if na fight, you go win me o. E better make I collect that small one wey you wan give me o,”
On our way down, he pleaded that I give him the extra two hundred naira because times were hard and he had to make ends meet.
His exact words were, “Oga, taxi driver no go make money? Help us na,”
I just smiled and was tempted to say something that would open up a political discussion but I held my peace.
Then he continued making conversation with me and telling me how hard the country is economically.
He was actually explaining to me how hard times were for Nigerians as if I was just coming from South Africa or Switzerland.
I told him I know times are hard and that’s why I can’t give him the extra two hundred naira. I said I had to use it to buy two packs of indomie to eat, one at night and the other in the morning.
Of course he didn’t believe me, but did I care?
He continued and told me his wife left him because he was broke.
At first I didn’t understand because his exact words were, “Oga you know say my woman leave me because I no get money?”
When men call the women in their lives, “my woman” especially Port Harcourt guys I always get confused.
Most times they are talking about their girlfriends or live-in lovers.
In my neck of the woods, that’s what “my woman” means. For a wife, you either say, “madam” or simply call her your wife so I didn’t take him seriously because, if you are married and you try your hands at another girl, you must be able to afford it or let it go.
So I asked, she really left you because you were broke? What about your wife, is she still with you?
There was this perplexed look on his face when he tried to explain that he was talking about his wife.
“Oga, I say na my woman na. My wife, wey I marry for sixteen years. As I no get money, she leave me ten months ago,”
Too bad, was all I could say. You mean she just upped and left like that?
He nodded and continued to explain how heartbroken he was at the development.
“But I have moved on since then. I cannot die. I have to continue hustling, maybe I will see someone later who won’t leave me because I don’t have money.”
I asked what they did with their kids, if she took them or left them with him.
“Unfortunately, we did not have any children,” he said.
Surprisingly, the man spoke good English, very good English for a Yoruba taxi driver when he wanted to but I did not ask if he only started this taxi driver business as a result of lack of resources and a job.
I encouraged him that his wife was gone and he should chin up and face his life and future. If he still wanted to get married later in life he needs to be ready and not let anyone embarrass him because he wasn’t rich or didn’t have enough.
I let him know there is a woman out there for every man and he will get his if he still wants/ needs one.
Dear Lagos, there’s a party every where
In any case, we got to the stadium and it seemed like there was a party there.
There were teenagers of all shapes and sizes dancing to music blaring from loud speakers.
They were doing dance steps their parents or guardians would not be proud of.
I got out my phone to do a short video that really did not capture much because occupied dancing teenagers were bumping into me as I made my way past the maze of bodies.
Did I mention that one of these area boys in Lagos, those ones that follow the Super Eagles all around saw me entering, ran after my taxi and insisted he carried my bag to the Sports Commissioner’s office?
Chai! I don hear am. At least I go part with something. He wasn’t carrying my bag for free, was he?
The Lagos State Sports Commissioner is doing a good job
I had seen on twitter, stories and pictures of the Skoolimpics sponsored by Heritage Bank and powered by the Lagos State sports Commission and I was impressed with what I saw.
I peeped inside the indoor sports hall of the stadium and was impressed with the branding and arrangement. Some people know their job and are doing it well.
I’m also aware that since swearing in, less than two years ago, the Lagos State Sports Commission had powered more than fifty events, most of them not even football so the question I asked in my heart was, “What are sports commissioners in Nigeria’s other thirty five states doing?”
Let me stop here before it seems like I am on the media/ PR team of the Lagos State government or Heritage Bank, but other state sports commissioners should come to Lagos and find out how they do what they do and do it successfully.
Well, the truth is that I know Lagos State. There is a reason why they are called the Center of Excellence. And I know Deji Tinubu. He is one of those smart alecks (Wise guys) you have around.
He he he he! We won the Transfer Window FC lost
I soon retired to my hotel room in time to watch Manchester United also known as We know how to Dab FC or Is it your money FC, or We won the Transfer Window FC or We sold more jerseys than you FC lose to Fernabache in Thursday night football.
Truth be told, I would have loved to watch Brown Ideye’s Olympiacos, but this hotel gave me that game.
I played reggae music till I crashed. The Manchester United loss put a smile on my face as I slept. I woke up with that same smile.


School kids at the Tesilim Balogun Stadium in Lagos having a ball

0 thoughts on “Diary of Lagos, Day 1: I am in Lagos

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