By Lekan Bilesanmi
Old Oshodi! It was a place as popular as many other places in Lagos State. Meanwhile, whereas Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, among others, radiate warmth and opulence, Oshodi was crazy, scary.
Old Oshodi was a market but it was more than a place for buying and selling. It was popular and big. There was hardly anything you wanted to buy that was not available there. Things were quite cheap even as some of them were fake. It was here you would see the good,the bad and the ugly. It was a place where you were about to be dispossessed of your belongings openly and people dared not alert you. Whoever (even the police) interferes in such a bold move may regret it as the thief may attack him. Old Oshodi was also central in terms of transportation. There was virtually no destination in Lagos and outside that you would not get a vehicle to Here, you would see a stinking drainage and, beside it, people would be eating and merrying. It was of no consequence to their health.
From Bolade Busstop up to the Bus Rapid Transport, BRT, terminus, you would see Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, officials throwing away wares and effecting arrest of traders who defied the law against street trading and those of the state environmental sanitation agency, with the support of the police, arresting offenders crossing the road, rather than using the approved pedestrian bridge. There was really a lot to feed your eyes when you found yourself in old Oshodi. It was in old Oshodi you found that the human traffic was more than the vehicular traffic. It was here you found two passengers fighting over 50k change leading to abuses and, in some cases,they would go into physical combat. And this oftentimes happened when the conductor of the bus that conveyed the passengers could not find the balance of the fare to give each of the passengers. What the conductor would then do was to join both passengers so that they would split the money on their own. As the passengers fight, the traders, passers-by, would watch with admiration. It was this same place you would see traffic offenders, most of the time commercial drivers and conductors, in trying to evade arrest, strip naked and start crying even while begging for forgiveness. That did not mean they won’t repeat the same offence few hours later even on the same road if not on the same spot.
Move forward and you would see shrewd traders trying to lure you into parting with your money for a product that if not properly checked before leaving the spot,may turn out to be fake. In any case,the receipt given would have indicated that goods taken from them would not be accepted when returned. And God help you as a lady if you dress provocatively and you are alone. Not only that you would be assaulted verbally,you may be physically attacked. There was no opening or closing time in Oshodi. As you are closing for the day, some are just opening for business.