Lagos Chronicles

Confusing Street Names

For a Lagos JJC like myself, I have gotten lost one too many times majorly because I am terrible with directions and I sleep off in the bus and pass my bus stop (thou shalt not judge me). But I don’t appreciate when external forces contribute to it. Okay, let me explain… Some months back (yes, months because this has been sitting in my laptop, unfinished, for a while now. Sigh*), I had to attend a bridal shower in Surulere. There was a mix up with the timing and I should have gotten my facts straight before I left the house but I didn’t so I set out on this journey (factor in traffic) all the way from Egbeda.

So after wading through traffic, I got to Ojuelegba. I called to get proper directions to make sure I was right on track. I was told I was going to Muritala Animashaun Street, so I should take a bus, stop at Masha cross to the other side, take a Keke (tricycle) and stop at Muritala Animashaun and then walk to the end of the street. Pretty straightforward, yes?

No. That was the beginning of my woes on this bright, sunny Saturday afternoon. So I got to Masha, told the Keke guy where I was going and after waiting for more people to fill up the keke, we set off. After driving for what seemed like a century, he announced that we had arrived. I got down and looked up to see Thomas Animashaun written on the arrow pointing towards a street. I started to wonder why this said ‘Thomas’ instead of ‘Muritala’. Maybe it’s the same thing? So I called to inform them that the keke dropped me at Thomas Animashaun.

“I doubt I am at the right place o”, I said. “Or are they both the same thing?”

“Ah, you are definitely at the wrong place o. I don’t even know where that is. Try to see if you can get a bike and ask if they know Muritala Animashaun. It’s around NYSC secretariat”, she said.

I was a bit upset that I wasn’t told this additional info about the street being around NYSC secretariat earlier. At this point, I was already having the mother of all headaches. My head was throbbing like there was a carpenter at work in there. So I stopped a bike and asked if he knew where the street was and he was looking at me like I had suddenly sprouted another eye in the middle of my head and was speaking in an unknown language. I stopped another and then another, until I finally found one who knew where NYSC secretariat was but didn’t know where the street I was talking about was.

“I no dey go dat side but I go drop you for Mobil filling station, you go see keke wey dey go Bode Thomas, dem go fit carry you go dat side.” He said.

Tired of standing, I hopped on and he dropped me at the filling station where I saw a cluster of kekes. I proceeded to ask, for the umpteenth time, if anyone knew where I was going. The Keke guy, who was very nice by the way, had no idea what I was talking about. He then took his time to explain to me that there’s a Babs Animashaun street, which is the one after NYSC secretariat, there’s another Animashaun Street and then there’s Thomas Animashaun. (WTH!) I told him I was just coming from Thomas Animashaun Street.

“Are you going to get to the NYSC secretariat?” I asked. He said yes. So I got in since I had been told that the secretariat wasn’t far from where I was going.

We got to the secretariat and I called to ask what next.

“Are you at the secretariat?”

“Yes, we are parked opposite it. So where am I going next?”

“Just keep coming down_”

“Down where? I don’t know what direction you are referring to as ‘down’…”

“Did you pass any open market?”

“What open market? I wasn’t looking out for any open_”

“Yes there’s an open market. We just passed it two minutes ago.” The driver said

“Apparently we passed it two minutes ago.”

“Okay, walk back towards the market, you’ll see bike men parked there. Take a bike to Muritala Animashaun. It isn’t far from that place at all.”

So I paid the keke guy, thanked him for being super helpful and walked back towards the market, crossed the road to the other side, hailed a bike and told him where I was going. I asked if he knew where it was and he was positive. Finally! I thought.
Then he said the fare was hundred naira and I was like for what? So I told him fifty naira. (I was operating on the knowledge that it wasn’t far).

“I go park for the gate o, because bike no dey enter inside.” He said.

I didn’t understand that because I felt of course you will park outside, I’m not expecting you to drop me in the living room. But at this point, my head was aching unbearably so I just got on the bike and I kid you not, that was the shortest bike ride in the history of time! And the dude wanted to collect hundred naira simply because he knew I didn’t know where I was going, so he wanted to take advantage of that. Shame, shame on you people who prey on other people’s ignorance.

Anyway, I gave him his fifty naira and lo and behold, the famous Muritala Animashaun was an estate. Not a street people, an estate! It was boldly written there: “Alhaji Muritala Animashaun Estate”. I then understood why the bike guy said he couldn’t enter inside. I stood at the gate, shook my head and walked in. Guess what? The showers had ended. I had journeyed seven mountains and seven seas, battled obstacles only to discover that the whole thing had ended. Sigh*

Would a prior knowledge that the Muritala Animashaun Street was indeed an estate have prevented me from getting lost? Maybe. But my question is; why are there so many bloody Animashaun streets within Surulere though?!





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