Hello Becca Diaries Friends (BeDafs), Happy New Month! What are you doing differently this Month? Think about it. Today, I want you to meet my friend, Seun Willaims. He is our Guest for the week and i have the honour to introduce him and his piece on “Becoming a Badagrian”. Enjoy!
Ṣeun Williams is a student currently PhDing about some ‘meaty’ part of Lagos history. He fancies groping at things at intersections of time-space by means of lenses, the pen and/or a keyboard. He hails from Badagry, and loves to write about her.
HOW TO BE A BADAGRIAN
You could be an #Ogu (mind you, not #Egun) or #Awori. Your name could end with any of the ‘-yon’ or ‘-pon’, or start with a ‘Mau-’ or ‘Se-’ and some syllables like that. Or it could be those prefixes common to all Yoruba groups, like ‘Oluwa-’, ‘Ade-’, ‘Baba-’, ‘Iya-’ and the likes. Or you could even be an Ibo, an Edo, an Igala or some other ethnicities; it’s all fine, so long as you have been staying in the city—or is it town?—for some years to feel attached to it and to identify with it.
That cleared, you must know that you are not permitted to claim to be hydrophobic or aquaphobic. Because, you see, perhaps nothing is more synonymous to #Badagry than water—fresh or marine. Yes, the Badagrian is allowed to have a strip not just on the Marina or Beach but even right on either of the Lagoon or Atlantic Ocean as his real estate property.
You must be really used to the adjectives ‘ancient’ and ‘first’. As for the former, I won’t say much; but for the latter, how can you not, once in a while, dream about the First Storey Building, the First Primary School in Nigeria, and monuments and heritages like that? You also have to acclimatize yourself with phrases like Slave Trade, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, #Sato, #Zangbeto, #Vothun, #Igunnuko, #Coconut, #Aholu, #Akran, and #Museum. If you want your colours to really shine, you should know terms like #Barracoon; and some local names of different fishes such as Ìṣẹ́kẹ̀, Ọ̀bọ̀kún, Èpìà, Mèjò, and the likes.
More so, in order to really be a Badagrian, especially one of the Ogu stock, you ought to be prepared to hear other Lagosians laughingly and imperfectly try to reproduce certain oft-mouthed terms commonly used in the Ogu news bulletins of the state-owned Radio Lagos 107.5FM. Words and phrases such as #Awọnlin, Aimatengan, Linlin, E yọn gbau, and so on.
As a Badagrian, or an aspiring, prospective Badagrian, you ought to know that you reside in a corridor, in the nook of a country. Before you argue that, get a map and check out where the town is geographically situated in relation to the rest of the country.
You see, you should get to understand that you are identifying with a city plotted at about 250° degrees on the Nigerian compass. Pardon my elementary geometry–or, more properly, my sense of navigation. The point is, the Badagrian is the true Westerly South-Westerner, at least going by the compass. Here’s a tip: in this city, we capture great sunset and silhouette pictures especially at our beaches!
The Badagrian must understand that once in #Gbaagi–sorry, I should have told you that that is a cool way some refer to the city (town if you like) especially when the talk is in Gun language, and #Àgbádárìgì for the Yòrùbá-Àwórí folks– yes, once in town, he can not find banks just about any street except he is at some 3 nodes– Agbara, Roundabout and Mánọ̀gẹ̀rẹ̀ axis, save for the 2 along the road named after the popular erstwhile Nigerian goalkeeper– Joseph Dosu.
Perhaps nothing validates your #Badagrianship more than having a real or imagined feeling of being marginalised and relegated. You know that feeling of being neglected, abandoned, ostracised and left to the lurch. That feeling of being lovelorn, forelorn and careworn. In political appointments, power equations, and in siting of developmental projects, social infrastructure and amenities, you get to feel marginalised–really so or otherwise.
A Badagrian must reckon that s/he identifies with a Division that hosts virtually– in fact, actually and literally– all of the military, paramilitary and security forces and agencies of Nigeria, so much so that I think the next Chief of Defence Staff or the National Security Adviser should come from this corridor of the country.
You must– I repeat, you must– be at home with the reality that you ply highways dotted with far, far more police, customs, immigration and other checkpoints than filling stations and vulcanizing sheds. So much so that even the Minister of Transport was a few weeks back confused and flummoxed as to the authorities that detailed the extortionate and oppressive officers to create and maintain these checkpoints. Well, maybe the confusion was just a lip-service since we have seen no follow-up action to right the wrongs.
As a Badagrian
You must realise that you are closer to the capital of another country than you are to the capital of your state in your own country. That is why words like Border, Cross-Border, International, and the likes should not be uncommon to you. Nothing makes you practically far removed from your own state and country than the time it will take you to be transported to other parts of your country. And that is due to … errrrrm, you know it, some really terrible road and a non-existent water transport system.
Now, coming fully to the matter of those terrible roads– namely the Lagos-Badagry Expressway and the Gbaji-Apa-Owode Expressway! This is a matter for a full thesis, a full-length dissertation, I mean a matter for an unabridged book that could even run into volumes. So, I think we must dedicate a full Part (or Chapter, if you like) to this!
Thanks for reading. Would you want to read this new chapter?
Seun can be caught roaming the web via @WheelHelms
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