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October 5, 2023

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Oghogho Osayimwen: The Tale of a Lagos Babe In Abuja

Welcome to Abuja, the air, atmosphere and massive rocks said to me, a full-blooded Eko babe. Who wouldn’t mind an adventure with new memories, new friends?

I recently accepted a grand offer in the city of Abuja. Although I struggled with the decision to relocate, at that time of my life I really didn’t have a choice.

As they say: life happens!

As a Lagos babe, I popped into town with a cute little red (favourite colour) bag. I packed with a fragile heart and entered a land I heard so much of, leaving behind all I ever knew and loved despite its craziness- Lagos. I still miss it daily.

My only ever experience of Abuja was about a decade ago when I went hunting for my NYSC certificate. Since then, nothing.

My life started in Abuja; I made some good friends. While conversing with one of them, she said, “Don’t you just love the FCT? I mean, you are looking fresher and you just mentioned you only journey about 12 minutes to work. Where would you get that in Lagos?”

It looked to me like she had stuck her tongue at me. Like she had said, Babe, chill. Make I hear word small for this your Lagos is this, that, lit, that. Enjoy FCT already. You are in it.

It had been about 90 days since I arrived in Abuja and I still hadn’t let my guard down. I compared every single element and detail to Lagos. On one of those special comparing occasions, I was accompanied by this same friend to a popular store in the Central Business District, very close to the CBN, for some grocery shopping. On getting to the pay point area, I had to mentally count to one hundred so I wouldn’t lose it. The cashiers at the pay points, asides exhibiting a terrible attitude, just generally lacked the zeal to work. The Lagos babe in me nagged to my friend, who by the time was tired of my Lagos girl rants. I complained, “Time is very expensive for me, don’t these guys know I don’t have the time? I just feel like sitting on someone’s head.” The holy-spirit had to minister to me to find some bit of patience and a chill pill.

In Lagos, guys are sharp, smart and eager to record your purchases from any position on the queue if possible. But in Abuja, they struggle with assisting/directing customers on the queue. In fact, slow and steady wins the race. Slow for days would be the kicker word.

Nevertheless, as time travelled, I endeavoured to make some adjustments mentally in order to enjoy the city of Abuja. I have since then found that a majority of its people or residents have been nice, even though I haven’t gotten used to their slow pace. Sometimes it really makes me want to scream out loud. I am a fast paced being and from a fast-paced city; yes, my origin (as they say on flight schedules) is Lagos.

As much as I love and appreciate some measure of peace and sanity almighty Abuja has to offer, I will not fail to embrace or climb at a dose of Lagos to get a balanced sanity. Who wouldn’t?

And yes, Abuja has helped God answer my prayers on traffic and scary danfos. Eko traffic was sickening, even though I enjoyed it by reading a book, engaging in free chatting or doing gbeborun. But Abuja has taken from me the habit of reading in traffic; before you say jack, I’m at my destination.

A colleague encouraged me, advised me to sieve the gains of the city and not the excesses. Now let’s take a look at the gains of a peaceful environment: less stress, access to good fruits and veggies, less noise, too, and more sanity. Right? Did I enjoy all these in Lagos? She believes that with these, I’ll add extra years to my age.

In hindsight, I am thankful for a space to grow and re-invent myself. These memories have been high and low but they’ve been worth much more.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

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