Tales from Sangotedo Part 1

Chukwudi Ogbonnaya
Dec 2, 2016 · 7 min read

First things first, Dami is a witness to the story below, you can forward all complaints to him.

The procession

Writing this is a chore, and it’s one i am very terrible at, but first of all i would like to apologize for my lack of punctuation's, and the drivel you are about to read, the nihilist in me only appears when i happen to be writing.

Second disregard the appended locality in the title… the way my address is set up…

I moved here a year ago, to a locality/region in Lagos know by the people of twitter as Cameroon, by here i mean Olokonla/Sangotedo. but for those who know that the “island” in Lagos goes beyond Lekki phase 1….

which is next to Lagos business school, which is next to Abraham Adesanya, which is next to Ajah which is next to VGC…. you get the drift

This experiment is me trying to see the other side of adulthood most people rarely venture to, it is my ultimate test of might, an escape from my comfort zone. To fail at this would actually be exciting and i kept saying to myself regardless of how it ends be happy. And i have not failed yet.

The House Search

Getting a house in Lagos is a terrible thing, if you have a few gold ingots under your bed, its not hard its easy, and if you do have a few gold ingots, this is not for you but you may continue.

This venture is not for the faint of heart, but if you decide to carry on in thine quest for a pad, you need to make sure that whatever budget you allocate for the house you will spend 10% drinking away your sorrows due to terrible agents and creepy landlords, Lagos deciding to be Lagos for Lagos sake, and the hope in hopelessness, but my dear friend if you succeed in thine quest to be a quasi drunkard with a nest of your own, the joys and rewards are limitless till the plumbing in your house breaks down, and you discover that the cell phone reception is shit, and only one creepy internet provider works in the area, the euphoria of thine casa wears off, and your landlord becomes the bearded guy with a creepy smile that shows up on the 365th day of paying him to demand more money.

The problem with houses in Lagos is that the landlords prefer outer beauty, the house interior will be shit, iv’e seen houses that on the outside its Ikoyi standard but inside looks like a slum extremely cheap finishing, you then wonder how people spend millions building a house and then decide to use the cheapest fittings to save cost. Don’t even get me started on Lekki Gardens… Iv’e come to the conclusion that the best thing to is build my own someday regardless of what it takes

Yes it takes a while, but its worth it…

Let there be light

PHCN or EKDC or whatever entity that supplies light here…. i will recuse myself and refrain from obscenities. I got through 12 weeks without electricity on from my first day of moving in, generator noise became Pietro Mascagni’s the intermezzo. and as i write this that orchestra is playing in the background. and on our current run we are 9 days in already….. the combined number of days i have had light this year is not up to 60 days, my fuel budget is a decent entry salary in Lagos, the weird part is that i will gladly offer the great entity of darkness the said sum for just 12 hours of light daily, i have bought more fuel this year than people who own cars, i always laugh when i hand over money to the fuel attendant, somewhere inside i crunch the number of beer bottles that could have paid for, but well work has to continue….

Living here

I actually have to admit living here is nice, everything i need is a walking distance from me. A humongous mall just opened right next to me with Shoprite, Genesis cinema and its cousins all there, there is pump price beer at walking distance, there is ram suya attached to the pump price beer at walking distance, there is goat pepper soup attached to the pump price beer that is attached to the ram suya, all at walking distance, that is eternal bliss. There is some good sea breeze and an incredible shortage of ATM’s, i have to admit one thing, the barber shop i go to is actually better than anything i encountered in Ikoyi and if i am allowed to say Lagos, i could decide not to see Victoria Island for 3 months and i will be good only if there is a flight to catch, then Lagos decides to punish me for not partaking in the common drudgery shared by all Lagosians.

Living alone is terrible too but has its good uses, the peace and quiet is good when our generator orchestra is not playing. the part of your brain reserved for thinking will start working again, you will have conversations with yourself, the loneliness will become you and if you do not resist you will love it. somewhere in the middle of all this i transformed into a silver-back gorilla, don’t ask me why, because no amount of drivel can explain it, i question everything i realized i love everything neat and in its place and ridiculously spit-shined to perfection, i still don’t pay attention to what i eat, i stopped paying for DSTV because i spend most of my day between my home office and my kitchen for coffee refills.

Regardless of how you think you drink, trust me you don’t, i realized i drank more with friends or other people around, you will enter staring competitions with the booze in your house, beer almost expired in my fridge as an avid beerist that is borderline sacrilege, where the offender shall be thrown in to a pit and drowned in beer, so i decided to give the beer a good sendoff, chicken was marinated and fried, armed with a DSTV remote i soldiered on… and in the story of man vs beer and chicken i won.

Food

The fear and respect of hunger made me discover that cooking is actually therapeutic for me, (if Nigeria ever had a concoction cookery contest i’ll be in the top 3 no jokes) and to be honest it is, i sleep better knowing that i have a pot of concoction to last 2 days, i can fry plantain without turning it to charcoal, stir-fried indomie is the best. But for some weird reason i cant eat more than twice a day, by twice a day i mean coffee in the morning, 4 egg omelette with a pinch of salt (all you bastards that add other condiments to egg i salute you…) then pasta or rice or whatever my concoction skills allow, with a healthy side of beer for dinner or a late lunch or whatever you decide to call it. I discovered that cooking is actually cheap till uncle Goddy from the bank in the center rolled out the drums, i fill my gas cylinder twice a year i’m still trying to figure out how that happens, but well sha….. i cant complain

Learning to kitchen

Invest in a good knife it is worth it, a santoku or a chefs knife or a proper chopping knife it’s needed(i happen to like knives quite a lot please don’t judge), for cutlery buy by the dozen for forks, knives and spoons with tea spoons a good chopping board, a wok, a Kevlar coated 33 cm frying pan a cast iron skillet and a good set of pots, not the ones with the creepy plastic handles. A coffee maker is important, a stash of ground coffee and Nescafe is important too. What ever you decide to buy for your house don’t buy cheap i repeat… don’t buy cheap, if anything has to go where you eat, live or used in cooking what you eat it should be the best of the very best, you only live once…(i think i should have started this section with this last bit… but well) the saying you get what you pay for.

Housekeeping

you will clean and clean and clean and clean and clean and clean …….. best investment so far was a house keeper, twice a week i need that spare time to hatch other evil plans or discover new places to drink beer, actually labour in Nigeria is cheap, makes you wonder how people survive with N18,000 a month that’s not fair by any means. i still clean my house but paying Mr Matthew to carry on the good work i started was necessary

Quality of life

Then came insomnia, the ability for me to turn in to a zombie was quite remarkable, the fun part was regardless of what i drank after working for 12 hours the sleep never came weird part was that i was happy, a Doctor friend said i had things on my mind i don’t think he knows what he’s taking about, this silver-back zombie amalgam was happy end of story…

Working from home made me realize that my spirit animal is a grizzly bear, i work a lot more harder, because i have become a prisoner to the office i setup in the house, its where i spend most of my time when i am not in concoction mode or not drinking beer. As a graphic designer your sleep clock will change if it doesn't you are not doing it right.

Moving here opened my eyes to the simple fact that Lagos finally has a chance to get it right, by right i mean build a modern community/city for the future. not that the rest of Lagos are inhabited by neanderthals or that the rising Ikoyi skyline is terrible, its just that for once i saw sanity in Lagos, unfortunately this sanity builds houses before it builds roads or proper drainage's and then the gutters are an afterthought, the rain that falls in my area ends up in VGC. I have thought of buying a boat house so regardless of what happens or whatever hurricanes may come i will gently sail to Surulere.

I would like to continue this story but i have to get back to work, i usually design something and post it on Radar but this time i choose the path of drivel

to be continued….

Written by

Graphic Designer, User Interface Designer, Quasi Art Director, & an Avid Beerist

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