Living In Lagos….

Accommodation in Lagos is so terrible that one prays to have someone living in the big city in order not to pay rent. Some wouldn’t mind staying with a distant relative just to escape paying rent in the big city.

Most times you even plan ahead telling your wonderful relatives that you will soon be joining the family in the big city as soon as you are done with service or education as the case may be and most times they will say they can’t wait to have you with them. In your mind, accommodation is settled but you get to their house in Lagos it becomes another different ball game. You have to contribute your own quota in the running of the home one way or the other.

I was discussing this very topic with some of my male friends some weeks back and each guy has his own version of how he found himself where he is today.

Tunde said to an extent his uncle actually tried but his wife was another thing. From babysitting to running errands and to been treated like an houseboy prompted him to rent a room in this typical ‘face me I slap you compound’. His uncle pleaded with him to stay but he felt he needed to regain his dignity.

Ahmed prepared his mind for any harsh condition because his dream has always been to be base in Lagos and as such he didn’t mind the treatment meted on him by his cousin who doesn’t fail to let him know that the rent has to be shared equally, a decision he didn’t have a problem with, except having to manage the one room apartment with his cousin and his girlfriend whenever she is around. It was so frustrating when it seems the lady didn’t have plans of leaving, that was when he started looking for a cheap accommodation.

Richard’s own plight has to do with rejecting the seductions of his uncle’s wife which led to been punished severely by her because she knows he won’t report her to his uncle, so she felt frustrating him will make him accept her offer but he had to go back to Ibadan till he could afford staying in Lagos, which later happened as a result of getting a job in Lagos.

At first I felt single guys will have more experiences of staying alone than ladies as ladies are restricted by the ideology that it isn’t good for a single lady to stay alone, thus they have to manage their situations, but when I broach this same topic with some ladies over the weekend, I was really amazed.

Anita said after been promised by her aunt that she has secluded a place for her to work after her NYSC, came to Lagos and found herself working as a sales girl for her aunt. Her aunt promised paying her monthly but that promised didn’t even see the 2nd month and when she try to broach the topic, she was reminded that rent and food are been provided for her, so why is she ungrateful. She had to start brainstorming on what to do to get another job, which didn’t come so easily but she kept pushing till she got a job very far from home that prompted her to look for accommodation which she later got.

Chinwe had similar experience with her elder brother, she never expected to experience such because he is a close relative, the wife almost turned her into a nanny and house girl if not that she took the initiative of squatting with some fellow friends she met during service in Lagos.

Joke said she suffered in the hands of her uncle that she almost felt like going back to her village, it was so terrible that she even fought with the wife just because she refused eating the food that got bad overnight and opted for eating noodles she bought with her very own cash. Her prayer point became good job that will help her to secure accommodation or job that included night shifts so she won’t be spending the night at home. God answered her first option.

Monica stayed with her aunt who is a widow with 3 daughters all adult, her aunt spends cash lavishly without thinking of tomorrow, she saw herself fending for the family from her meager salary and what annoyed her was the fact that her aunt and her kids were ungrateful. She had to leave because the respect for her aunt was dwindling. Now she helps them often but not like a major responsibility.

Of course it doesn’t mean that some people don’t have good experiences but one should know that you can’t compare your temporal location to your father’s house, so is expected of us to strategise whilst still maintaining good relationship with our benefactor. A very good friend of mine from church, was staying with her aunt and her husband and the husband never fails to let my friend knows that he isn’t comfortable with her working on the island and always screams at her whenever she comes in late. She resigned and started looking for home lesson jobs, she eventually got one with a nice family that so loved her to the point of taking her with them on any vacation trips their kids are going.

However, what is the big deal in a lady having her own apartment, even if it is a one room apartment? Not every lady that stays alone is wayward because that is the mindset most people have and some go as far as saying such ladies find it difficult getting married. I believe a lady’s happiness should be paramount after all a lady can be living with her relative and still be a runs girl as it is popularly called

I know of a colleague that had to marry the wrong guy just because she couldn’t cope with her brother’s wife making her feel less of a human being and been from a family that kick against a single lady staying alone, she knew her only escape was either get married and stay in her husband’s house or go back to her folks in the village. She chose getting married and now regrets it because according to her, the hubby is lazy and he was just an escape from the clutches of her brother’s wife.

What if a lady is staying on the mainland and has a job on the island and the job can afford her getting a one room apartment on the island or squat with some female friends instead of burning her entire salary on transport and getting home extremely late and then to leave the house very early the following day to beat the evergreen Lagos traffic?

Am happy as most ladies are beginning to see that their happiness is of utmost importance and if they can afford been on their own, they should go for it.


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