My One Week Documentary..Lagos.Ibadan.Abuja
Lagos. 26th March. About 8pm.
Lagos was dark when we flew into town.
There were tiny dots of light from below. The sight was beautiful. Its been six years since I left without looking back.
The Aero bird flew majestically across the horizon even though the firmament was pitch black. There was a slight turbulence…if I even noticed at all.
When I told a friend on phone that I’d be flying Dana to Lagos, she screamed and began to beg me “please, don’t go near Dana o”.
But people have been flying with them still. Infact, Dana had the best time schedules that would favour me.
Well, I ignored every good thought and chose to remember only the gory ones. And I didn’t fly Dana.
Newspapers still sometimes report that airline as the “ill-fated Dana aircraft”. Well, I don’t think the gory events that led to that conclusion would be erased from people’s mind in a long time.
First of all, there was no serious queue at the check in counter of Dana and Aero while Airpeace and Arik had the largest number of people.
However, at the waiting lounge, a friend I met at the airport looked at everyone holding Dana tickets strangely. My airport friend even shuddered when she saw an entire family flying Dana.
We were both on Aero. The flight was supposed to be 15.25 but we ended up leaving Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Abuja by 7pm.
As we sat down patiently, Dana kept calling their passengers. Airpeace too. Dana called for Portharcourt, Lagos and Calabar while we sat down there exasperated.
The strange accent of the announcer didn’t help matters. Her effort at speaking a blend of British-American cum nigerian English gave a funny twist to her pronunciations. I guess the speakers were bad too.
So we shut our mind at all the nonsensities she was yapping until she mentioned the name of each airline. We only paid attention if she mentioned Aero even faintly.
The same aircraft we were waiting for, first flew to Kano to drop some passengers before coming back to lift us in abuja. By the time Aero made the next announcement, it was a call for “dinner” and the time was past 6pm.
Aero managed to give us the same pack that would be given to us in the aircraft. A pitiable snack of cake, biscuit and children juice.
Few minutes before 7pm, Aero called for us. We all marched excitedly out of the waiting lounge.
My airport friend was ahead of me on the queue that led to the aircraft. While I had to stop and confirm my luggage, she didn’t. She had on her a backpack and an extra luggage which she had checked in.
“Just sit anywhere in the cabin except you are flying first class”, the hostess said
My originally allocated seat was a window seat so I still got one.
Well I guess my friend was too hard on Dana. Because even Dana cake tastes better than Aero cake. I ate the Dana pack content about four weeks back.
While Dana gives you a small bottle of water alongside your snack, aero only manages to share a bottle of ragolis among many adults(they do this by giving you a small disposable cup and they pour water into it. That would not even quench the thirst of an infant) and they tickle our childhood senses or should I say they embarrass our adulthood by giving us children’s biscuit and juice.
We got to Muritala Muhammed International Airport at 8pm. While I got my luggage my friend didn’t get hers.
I left her at the airport after 9pm(I was waiting to be picked up by one of the children of my mother). She was still waiting for the next flight that would bring her luggage.
It was little sis that came to pick me. We went to mega chicken, Ikeja -Jollof rice, chicken, icecream. We talked till midnight.
I had an event with J.E at Victoria Island. I had very little time to sleep. Unfortunately, I could not complain of ordinary “plane lag” not to talk of jet lag. I wasn’t qualified since I didn’t fly across the Mediterranean. But a certain ” lag” was worrying me. I was so fagged out.
I got picked from Ojodu. I could barely recognise Berger when I saw it. Berger looked better than I remembered it.
We drove to Federal Palace Hotel.
There was an event to cover for a northern gubernatorial aspirant. We had a continental breakfast there.
Then, we went to Spar.
Then to Cakes and Cream.
By the time I got home in Ikeja where I stayed, it was late evening.
I still had to leave for Ibadan the next morning.
I don’t think Ibadan can ever be the same without the brown dusty and rusty corrugated iron sheets that cover most of the houses.
It was 28th March. It was the blog anniversary day. The blog clocked six. But I was faraway. I could not blog. But I was going on air.
It was 8am when I got to Ibadan tollgate.I saw the “koko” seller. Koko is ogi or pap. Artisans sat on benches while the seller was at the middle. She used a small cup to pour it into bowls for them. She added few spoons of sugar sparingly before handing it out. The banana and akara sellers were busy running after vehicles that stopped for passenger to alight.
I sat down there, on the bench of a bread seller taking everything in. I was enjoying the street while killing time. I had 2hours before my radio show
It was about 9.30 when I walked into the campus of the Lead City University, Ibadan. It was my first time there. Even though my father’s sprawling edifice is a stone’s throw.
The studio session didn’t start until around quarter past 10am, after the 10 0′ clock news.
I was on air and it felt surreal. Some of the questions threw me off balance. Especially the question on feminism. Am I a feminist? Maybe, maybe not. But I am happy that women are now standing up for themselves, rejecting age long traditions that are meant to subjugate them.
But all those feminism struggles and yadayada on social media….I am not a part of it. I don’t ever want to be.
Thursday in Ibadan….29th march
I had woken up to a message from a friend to deliver two copies of my book. The meeting point was Tantalizers. I was too tired but I dragged myself out of bed. I suffered a lot of sleep deprivation in Ibadan.
We met. But the highlight….
My US based friend had called that she would meet me there as well. She was coming from Bodija.
And when she walked in few minutes later, it was an epic moment. We rocked from side to side, had a big bear hug. She brought her usual camaraderie. She caused a stir when buying chicken at the counter. I told her to speak the Nigerian english to them.
We took a selfie. It was a mini reunion.
Our mutual friend drove us nearly home. We were very grateful for the ride. She followed me home to pick few things then I followed her to hers. We took a long bike ride.
The last day she was leaving….her oldest daughter began to cry.
She didn’t want to leave her grandma. Grandma too was stifling the tears. Her eyes were red.
It took me down history lane to a different setting and different people. But my eyes were very dry. My mischievous friend was laughing too. We took some pictures….
She returned to California last night and I got to abuja yesterday as well.
And they all lived happily ever after..
I haven’t done any justice yet. Will be back to recount how I trekked from bere to ojaaba and could have done some street photography that’d make Kayode Balogun go green with envy….if not that I had no camera and phone was dead