Are All Of Us Really Mad In Lagos?

You ever been in a verbal war or fight and afterward felt this genuine peace and excitement that you did and said the right things?  Well, I had never. I always said the wrong things and regretted afterward, until this one time during one of my few sojourns to Bariga market. In case you are clueless about what “Bariga” is, it is a place in Lagos where one of the most popular markets is located. Sometimes, you go and it is strictly buying and selling, other times, a fight or two might break out, so stay guided.

So on this particular day, I woke up feeling very reluctant to do anything (per usual). To eat was even a chore, so I skipped. You’ll easily call that lazy but I refuse to believe ‘lazy’ was what I was feeling on this day, it just wasn’t one of my great days. When someone says they don’t feel up to anything and would rather be curled up under their duvets and watch the day turn into night, that was the type of day. But with all the sermon and resolution stickers of “making each day count”, “write the vision and make it plain”, “set goals for each day, no matter how minute”, and so many others (that I barely live by), I decided not to disappoint my spirit that was willing to be such a goal-getter and motivated champ, and also not to fail all my sticky notes too early (as it was just the start of the year). Although I did not totally write out the vision and make it plain on this particular day, I had a mental list of all the things I wanted to achieve by the end of the day.


Top on the list was to go the market and if not anything, buy “efo” (vegetables) and all the things to turn it into efo riro. “All the things?” yeah, I sure needed a visible list at this point. No time to test run my memory. Other items on the mental list included trivial things such as making my hair for the new week, washing my clothes, etc.

So my journey to the market began. Crossbody bag, market bag, money- all checked. It was going to take me about 10 to 15 minutes to make it to the market. The plan was to drive to the gate, park (because I cannot be pricing panla inside another person’s car), then get into a 50 naira keke to Bariga. Shikena!

Whoosh, what was that? A wave of dizziness must have hit me from the west. I still hadn’t eaten. It was too late to turn back now. Even Nigerian women in labour still go to the market. We are meant to be wired strong, right? Bleh (topic for another day). I actually would have gone back but I really wanted some self-made efo riro (I bet this is the first time you are seeing the ‘self-made’ prefix without anything that has to do with wealth like the over-used ‘self-made billionaire’), with some soft poundo or semo to go with it. The swallow didn’t even matter. So long the efo was lit enough, it wouldn’t matter what I had it with. The craving for this self-made efo riro was enough motivation for me, dizzy or not. So there I was, mentally shutting down anything that kept me hyperactive like prolonged back and forths with sellers, so that all my energy would be channeled into going to the market, getting all the things I needed and getting back in one piece.

“Money”, the Keke driver said, interrupting my thoughts that were in the non-visual state of a low-battery device. I quickly scrambled out some change and picked out a 50 naira note to avoid conversations that would waste the energy I didn’t have. You know how those conversations go: “ah! 500 naira! Mi o ni change o!” “o ye ke sope 500 naira le mu dani” “Oga e ma binu” “kiloma shele bayi” (repeats conversation five more times) – energy-zapping conversations.

(picture credit: Olorunsegun Olorunfemi)

As I alighted (quite refreshing to have this typed here. I never get to use it in real life. if you know, you know), my hungry eyes spotted some fresh green vegetables. Such beauty! I could already imagine its savoury taste going down my throat with some professionally scooped swallow.

Ayeeeeeeeee! Ounje ti set! (food is ready!) I approached the light-skinned woman selling the – very attractive vegetables. She was busy. Maybe a little too busy as she did not notice that someone was asking for her attention and wanted something from her stall. I was the one in need so I had to wait. Then her son (or assistant) turned to me and asked what I wanted. I told him. Then he goes on to ask in Yoruba if I wanted it chopped (shey e fe ree), and I was like Yes, please. Then he takes it to his mum and then she cut off just the stem hurriedly and put in nylon. Then I went, please I want it chopped (very politely oh), and then her tone went up – “ehn comman cut it yourself!”.

Okayyyy hol’ up one minute…

The very hyper and battery full version of me would have been so pissed at how she blurted the words at me like we had unresolved issues from the past, but today wasn’t that day. This day was when I saw the angelic version of myself. So calm, so sweet. I was shocking myself. I could feel a strong resolve not to let anyone’s actions determine my reaction. Plus, I was still dizzy. I was on my best behavior.

I started explaining, “Madam, I asked your son before anything how I wanted my vegetable”, then her voice went even higher. Wow, just what I was trying to avoid. Energy-zapping conversations. I could feel the strength of ze Black Panther leaving me, unable to process any more of the unnecessary rudeness. I was unable to ‘can’. So, I turned to leave. Nothing dramatic. My steps were even much slower. Then I felt someone running up to me and then tapped me. Yup, the dramatic woman. “So what would happen to the efo?” she shouted. I couldn’t even see her clearly anymore. I replied “madam, I’m not feeling too well. I said I wanted it cut and you shouted back at me to come and cut it myself”. My body at this point was pleading to be left alone. I looked like a lamb willing to be rescued, but that clearly wasn’t gonna happen. She started trying to gather people, on top 100 naira efo.

At this point, I was done. The energy-saving mode was not helping. I was done with the BS I was getting, plus I still had goals for the day. Close to tears, I raised my voice, and in the weirdest turn of events, she mellowed. More like shocked. In her mind, she probably thought “ahan, this girl that has been talking like someone that cannot successfully swallow one morsel of semo, suddenly has a voice”. I was sick literally and contextually of the draining situation but I was ready to use the last bit of my energy to remind her that all of us are mad in this Lagos. (Yup, one of you just muttered “I’m not mad in Jesus name”, smh.) Jokes apart, this raised voice was not to prove any point really but to point out why her customer service was below par. The interesting thing was that I said the exact same things I had been saying when my voice was calm, but now that my pitch was higher, she seemed to be more interested in what I had to say. Could it be partial deafness or do we just like noise as Nigerians?

I went on to offer her the money for it even if I wasn’t going to take it. Then in a much lower voice that I couldn’t believe she had all the while, she replied: “I am bigger than 100 naira”. I could see the fighting spirit had left her body. The kind you watch in Mount Zion movies when the demon finally leaves the host after 12 hours of deliverance. The initial gra-gra had thawed.

We both faced our opposite directions, and for the first time in a long while of being in conversations where older people disregard younger people, I felt good.

Not one bad word came out of my mouth, not one moment of regret afterward like the usual “oh sh**, I shouldn’t have said that”. It was just me making myself clear on what I do not appreciate.

I felt peace.

P.s: the conversations were in English, or I would have struggled a little...

My ride home was a happy one. I got everything I needed for my meal and left with my conscience as clear as crystal. Also, in the weird turn of events, it seemed like the little exercise had given me extra bars of energy. I remember I had yams alongside so many other things in the market bag, and I didn’t feel a thing.

The whole event also had me thinking… are we really all mad in Lagos? Is madness like a survival skill in Lagos? It seems like there are silent and unmarked madness competition rings, where the madder person takes the invisible medal. These bouts also happen without a schedule or a warning. They also don’t need to be triggered. They just happen.


  1. Avatar

    Still calling you a Sensei!!! Your writing style is great!!! So easy and fun to read

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      😂😂😂 thanks babe! I appreciate you taking your time to read and gassing me up. Looking forward to the launch of your blog. Hopefully it’s this month. 👏🏾🎉

  2. Avatar

    There’s so much plausibility and verisimilitude in this write,up ,madness in Lagos is very necessary😂😂

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      haha! you know! I really appreciate your comment! Thank you for taking time to read.

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    Lmaooo, am just here tryna figure out the day you cooked efo and you didn’t invite me to come taste or follow you to the market. Chai! Inside life. Interesting read by the way lol.

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    Ekene Temi

    It’s like we are all players in some “unofficially-announced-shitty-hunger-game” where you must play whether you want to or not. People are just angry & frustrated & want to fight over everything.
    Lovely read as usual 👌🏼

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      Hunger gamesssss! That’s it👆🏾that’s the phrase! Girllll Thank you for taking time out to read, and contribute 🧡

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    C Jacob

    What an interesting read. Felt like I tagged along the entire trip. Enjoyed your tone and could literally hear your voice narrating it. Couldn’t help but wonder if it’s Nigerians all over the world, rather than just Lagos, that need a shout before they can hear you?🤔
    Enjoyed it immensely.

    1. Avatar

      Wow your robust comment. Thank you and thank you again, for reading through and going on the journey with me.
      … about the second part, I also wonder😩😩😭😭😭 I really hope not.
      I’m glad that you enjoyed it. 🧡

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        I tell you, this ‘madness’ you speak of is a necessary survival skill in Lagos. Esp. if you are naturally soft spoken, small statured and sane, then you really have to learn the skill. Eko for show

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          I like the “necessary” word 😂😩😩. You totally knowww!

          Thank you for your comment Bimbo. I appreciate you taking some time out to read through this post. 🧡

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    Alli Tumininu

    Wow , nice ,awesome ,😘😘

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      I really appreciate your comment 🙏🏾🧡

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    Adedoyin Sewa

    Finally, another post. I could feel everything you felt in this post and I felt good that you made yourself clear. I always say Lagosians are mad (because I usually count myself out) but with my few experiences like this, we are all really mad in Lagos. Lovely post as always.

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      😂😂😂 the realization part. Thank you Doyin for your comment and the reminder to put something up 🙏🏾🧡

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    Gracious Akande

    Truth be told, a little show of madness doesn’t hurt.
    Had an experience with a bike man because of #100 change. The moment I switched to Yoruba and raised my voice an octave higher, Oga ‘jejely’ found change for me.

    P.S.: I hope all those “topic for another day” you’ve promised will materialize

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      😂😂😂 it’s like they never hear you when you are speaking sanely.
      …and Amen to the last part 🤣🧡 thanks Gray

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    Okayyyy hol’ up😂 no pics of the self made efo?

    Cool write up. I love it! 💕

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      Your point is veryyyy valid!! 😂😂 a picture for all the trouble would have been cool. Thank you for reading and cracking me up with this comment 😩🧡

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    Thanks Oyinoluwa aka Oyinlomo for this write up, is being awhile and I enjoyed it.

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        Mercy koroyin

        I know the feeling, where you feel like your reaction was perfect. Not rude and not inadequate. #just enough. Nice read.

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        Oh dear! I can relate. Those people can almost trample on your calmness until you give them a little show of madness…
        Thanks for cracking me up though. I had a good read💕

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          You knowwww!
          Thank you for reading and not leaving without a comment, Tay 🧡

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