So, last weekend because I was feeling restless I decided to go do my monthly shopping for essentials in the mall near my house.
Along the way, the okada man carrying me stopped to buy something. The “discovery” of this something he bought opened a brand new world of Lagos I was not aware of.
So the hawker he stopped to buy from was one of these young northern boys hustling in Lagos. I have seen them going around with baskets and what looked like water, while they jingle metals together to attract customers. I had no idea what they were selling, because I thought they were the ones who offer roadside manicure and pedicure services but I saw no mani nor pedi tools in their baskets. Well, that day I found out it was ‘Power’, mixed with what looked like water but it was definitely not water in a bottle.
According to the okada man this mixture gives them strength.
“Oh, so it is an energy drink?” I asked him, he laughed and said something like that.
I was puzzled, I kept asking questions. The stuff that looked like water, that the seller used in mixing the powdery ‘power’ what is it? He told me it wasn’t water, it isn’t dry gin but he is not sure what it is too. So how come you are drinking something you are not even sure of? He shrugged, said it is not harmful. It is what they all drink to get strength.
Abi how do I think they do this okada work, morning to night? Under rain under sun? I kept quiet then he went on to say his mixture wasn’t even strong, it was already evening he would soon close so that’s why he bought only N50 (of course, these things are always cheap) worth of the stuff. I can bet my right hand that this thing is harmful and intoxicating.
I was still wrapping my head around this when the okada man started telling me of when he used to work as a labourer. He said “this one I take now I no fit take am when I be labourer now, I no go get strength.”
“So what do you take” I asked him?
“Tramadol and codeine,” he told me. He said it as if he was talking about rice and beans. He said that the mixture made him feel light, he won’t even mind the work anymore so he just does it.
“So you do it once everyday?” I asked him?
He laughed again, not once, depends on how much I take but e pass once. He went on to tell me of more mixtures I can’t recall now. He told me more than half the guys I see driving buses, conductors, okada riders, labourers who work in construction sites, truck pushers, generally men who do heavy work in Lagos are mosly high on one form of drug mixture, that they only survive the work because they are high.
“But are you not worried you are killing yourself and putting other people’s lives in danger?’ I asked him. he laughed, then he said, “something go kill man, once na your time to die reach you go die.”
By this time I had gotten to my destination. I paid him and went away. But the conversation remained with me. Now, I see the guys hawking the ‘Power’ stuff anywhere I turn.
I don’t have a car so everyday I leave my house I use an okada/keke or a bus. Even if you have a car, you still share the road with other people. I am scared.
I wish I could unhear what I heard last week. We have a serious drug problem, fellow Lagosians.