Counting bridges in Lagos?

While returning to Lagos from a recent trip to a neighboring African country, I was privileged to stand with one of our Nollywood actors whom I came to admire so much on account of his intelligence and bluntness.

Oh, yes! We actually stood together at that country’s airport doing two things:

  • One, we were praying not to be among the passengers whose tickets had been cancelled unannounced by the airline; and
  • Two, we were hoping that the plane would eventually arrive to pick up as it was already behind schedule by about two hours.

The airport was chaotic. It was as if the Lagos State Governor wanted to host everyone for a Christmas party in Lagos. A lady even told me that she had been at the airport for over 48 hours but could not get a ticket.

True?

While the airline officials were trying to sort things out, I shook hands with this actor and told him how proud I was that he and his colleagues were positively projecting the image of our country to the whole world. I told him that I was also honoured to be talking to one of my country’s celebrities at that place.

He acknowledged my praises calmly and we started talking.

He spoke about Nollywood, our government, our big men, and the terrible damage that Africa Magic is doing to his industry.

Ah, no, I couldn’t take that piece about Africa Magic from him so I ‘enlightened’ him on how he and other Nigerian actors and actresses had all become well known across the world courtesy of Africa Magic. I also teased him about the huge royalties he and his other actors must be receiving from Africa Magic.

His face suddenly changed, and he started speaking in perfect Yoruba language. I’m not sure of why he had to do that.

Perhaps he wanted me to understand him perfectly in my mother’s tongue (He’s not a Yoruba guy).

Or, he probably wanted me to know that despite his being an Omo Ibo, he is indeed an original Omo Eko (Lagos boy).

Whatever the reason was, this guy spoke Yoruba language fluently!

And he felt so pained about what Africa Magic and “some Nigerian moneybags” are doing to the movie industry in Nigeria.

Well, he tried hard to explain the issues to me but, honestly, I found it hard to understand his plights properly. And who am I to judge anyway?

If I didn’t understand his points properly, at least I understood one Lagos parlance he used in lambasting Africa Magic. He looked at me straight in the face and said, “My brother, shey anybody wa ka bridge l’Eko ni?”

If you’re a Lagosian proper, you would have come across that phrase at one point or the other.

Lagos is known for many bridges, including its pedestrian bridges. So, when a person newly arrives in Lagos from the village, he, the Johnny Just Come, (JJC) cannot help but marvel at the Lagos bridge wonders. He carries his bewilderment too far by counting the bridges one by one as he moves about in Lagos.

Our JJC brother (or sister) forgets that he’s no longer in the village. He gets carried away and becomes careless with his money and other belongings until Lagos hoodlums steal them from him.

When an original Lagosian then says to you that he has not come to Lagos to count bridges, he is indirectly telling you that he’s not in Lagos to watch events, or get carried away by the beautiful things in the city. Rather, he is in Lagos to make money like millions of others who work hard to make a living in the city.

I perfectly understood what my actor friend meant by his question. He’s not in Lagos to play or work for free. Period!

As I said, JJC are renowned for counting bridges in Lagos.

But the position is changing as many Nigerians are actually counting bridges in Lagos these days; irrespective of how long they’ve been living in the city.

Did you ask, “How?”

I will explain.

A man or woman wasting his/her life in Lagos is actually counting bridges in Lagos.

A student that is not focused on his/her studies in Lagos is counting Lagos bridges.

An able-bodied person spending hours upon hours in front of the TV watching Africa Magic is counting bridges in Lagos.

Someone without a concrete plan for his or her life is counting bridges in Lagos.

The Mr. and Mrs. Konibiires whose stock in trade is to backbite and badmouth others have nowhere to go; so they are all counting bridges in Lagos.

As Year 2013 approaches, everyone needs to reassess his or her life and devise a better way to live life in Lagos. A wasted life in Lagos is a life of counting bridges.

Wish I could mention that actor’s name here, but I recognize the need to protect his privacy. The guy truly reminded me that I’m not in Lagos to count bridges.

If he is not, why should I?

And why should you?

Counting bridges in Lagos eventually leads to destruction – financial and otherwise.

Get serious; get busy!

Stop counting bridges in Lagos…if you are.

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