One of the defining things about Lagos is how male dominated it is. Lagos is such a male-dominated city, (isn’t the whole country?) but let’s focus on Lagos. If you stand on a pedestrian bridge or a really tall building, you can literarily see testosterone flying all over Lagos.
Is it not in this Lagos a man will bash a woman’s car and ask to speak to the real owner of the car (her husband?)
My friend, who just returned to Lagos after about a year, went to Oshodi. She told me about her experience over the phone. Of how a man bumped into her but it was all her fault. The man, joined by several others insulted her. Of course, their go-to word is ashewo. At Oshodi, one of the traders grabbed her breast and walked away laughing. (if at this point you are thinking, ehn what was she wearing, something is wrong with your head and I am here to tell you).
Imagine what will happen if a woman should grab a man’s penis in Oshodi, Nollywood something. But it happens to women daily, in different ways, some more subtle than the others. I and my friend laughed about it, I got sad when she said “what will I do now? I am a woman, can I beat them? Who will I tell?”
Nobody sister, nobody
If she had gone out with a man that day, friend, brother, lover, or father, none of what happened to her would have happened. None of it.
I was in a bus one day when a girl told the bus conductor she had gotten to her bus stop.
Her voice was audible, everyone in the bus heard except the driver and his conductor. When they finally stopped, they stopped at a T-junction and asked the girl to jump down fast fast. “Jump which down” the girl asked them? She insisted they park properly. Do you know what the driver said? “If na man now, e go jump out, women sef!” The two men sitting besides the driver sniggered and said “my brother na so their own be o, women wahala too much”
Whenever it rains, water settles at the feet of the Anthony pedestrian bridge so pedestrians are forced to use the tiny concrete path by the road one at a time to avoid the murky water.
On my way home one day, I was still some distance from the bridge when I looked up and saw a girl walking on it. She was already three-quarters through when another man came down from the bridge and started walking towards her. She gestured to him to wait for her to get through but did he listen, No? He continued walking until they were standing face to face with each other and he asked her to get down for him to pass. She simply said “because? You did not see me on it before?” I stood still and wished she would not get down for him, and she didn’t. After some seconds he got down and began to insult her.
Useless girl, yen yen yen
By now a little crowd had gathered and everyone joined in throwing insult at the lady. I was transfixed; did they not see that he was at fault? My head cleared when an older woman said, “you young girls of nowadays! He is a man, so you suppose come down for am to pass”
I was hurt on behalf of the girl, when I finally walked pass her on the bridge, I smiled and told her to ignore all of them that I had seen what happened and the man was at fault. This broke her dam she began to cry.
There was a day I was running late in the morning. I stopped an Okada outside my house to take me to the bus-stop but the okada man ignored me and moved forward to meet another man. I was sure I flagged him down first, so I walked to him and told him, “but I stopped you first’’.
He didn’t even look at me when he replied, “you be woman now, if you go work late, smile small, your oga no go shout, this one na man, if he go late dem fit sack am.’’
I stepped back and continued waiting for another okada, while I was waiting; it seemed both of them couldn’t agree on price or something so the man he stopped for walked away. He now turned to me.
Hahaha, look at God
The man rolled his bike towards me and said “oya enter”
“Enter what? No, I wan go late go smile for my oga” I replied him. Then he said, “enter now, women sef, una too do”
I ignored him, leave it, let us do. Today, all the women in me will be petty.