Check Time, 17:51pm
Experience on the Route: Rookie.
I hit the road again , and I vehemently, determined not to sleep despite being on an earlier six hours journey. It was my first time visiting Ibadan. Though I was tired, yet, I wanted to feed my eyes with what makes the city the largest in West Africa. As a rookie on any route , my compeer is always any seen police, the driver, trader or perhaps any cool headed “stranger”.
From Iyanapaja under bridge, the bus fare was ₦1,200 and after about two hours of “Ibadan ,Ibadan Iwo road!!!!”, we zoomed off in this jalopy-jalopy white bus. To catch a full glimpse, I sat at the passenger seat in the front. The driver seems nice until some mechanical fault took hold of the old bus. ” Oh oh…he blared in his Ibadan tongue” .
We all were stranded on the busy bee Lagos Ibadan express-way. Some tried to help the driver, but it was futile.
Soonest, we were paired in twos and given a reasonable fare to continue our journey to Ibadan.
From that spot, almost at the Westerner,I and a beautiful lady, rode a bike almost to Redemption Camp Ground where we finally got a bus going to our destination.
” Ibadan , Ibadan…₦500 “. Again ,we took our seats beside each other and began to talk. A talk ,she and I was trying to avoid on the previous bus. She turned out to be an interesting lady, who really has a compass of the route by heart.
” Almost at Ijebu Ode, menhhhh”
” Drop me at Toll Gate ooo..”
The artificial light-skinned lady finally alighted and wished me a safe trip.
I finally got to Iwo Road, and I looked into my host’s address and a bike man, who later told me his name was Aanu(Mercy), rode me all the way from Iwo Road, passed some Estate, down to Sango , Awolowo way, then Apete until I finally alighted at a fuel station.
The bikeman was a recounter himself. He is very intelligent, exposed and was well travelled, I supposed.
” Emmh, why is Ibadan with the appellation, Ibadan mè sí ọ go ” I asked.
“Ha, oga is like you would love stories o” .He politely replied.
“I just want to know” I said.
“Well, we Ibadan have every reply for any foolhardy person or questions”.
” We are gifted with crafty reply. We are never short of replies. We are calm , cool, jovial, loving but not dunce” he said
Then , he began to tell me stories about Ibadan. The street, the clubs, the plan for Uber. Aanu even considers himself a “Gokada”.
“See, my clients, they always call me or Whatsapp me” He said, showing me his phone as if I had doubted him on the busy dark road.What a risk !
Aanu’s ability for code mixing thrills me. He doesn’t mind replying me in any language I quizzled him.
He never failed to mention how the transport is comfortable and convinent which I confirmed the next day as I toured the city myself.
In the dark, with an average speed of 60km or 80km we kept each other’s company till I arrived at Abule Tapa.
Even though I thought he did me a favour, I later discovered he surcharged me. I guess this is what most tourist face.
However, I saw the excess money I paid as the fee for the stories he told me all through the long journey.
All I saw in Ibadan was beautiful .The buildings, the people, their code mixing ,the transport and finally the long heard tourist attraction/site seeing.
I am a deep lover of brillant architectures. Yet, I still find old structures admirable. Entering into the city ,these houses shine like bright clustering stars illuminating the sky. The houses were like fire flies lighting some dark forest.
At dawn, I saw more of these. The whole of Ibadan is a mixture of a modern and old buildings. Oke Ado area for example, some of these houses fall between the 18 , 19 , 20 and 21 century. Little wonder Ibadan is called the ancient city.
Fine boys,pretty girls and charmig adult trend the street . Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder they say, this is why I find all the people there attractive. Some are with tribal marks, some are not. Some wear the hijab, some didn’t.They all look peacefully calm. Well, I wouldn’t deny the internal dialogue in their hearts either for their daily bread, worry or anxiety, love or hate, happy or sad, wealth or penury. They are cool people with no rush wearing their fine faces instead. This attitude gave everyone some spot of beauty.
Their Code Mixing/Switching
I have been to few places in Nigeria and when it comes to the issue of language, Ibadan people do not assume all is Yoruba, this is not a hasty generalization.
They have the ability to code switch and code mix.
I have been to the East, and they would general assume you are Ibo. Akure ,would assume you should be a Yoruba. Lagos,(smiles) pidgin or English. Banking halls and markets are good places to prove this.
The aforementioned places would later relate with you based on your feedback or just swavered the conversation, lose interest or continue in their language of convinence or say you should at least speak alittle.
But, I find Ibadan a little bit different. The bike men , the Museum Curator, the man on the bus, the worker at the Cocoa house were all examples. They all responded to me based on my language of approach. And they code switched whenever I did.
Another awe that struck me on Ibadan soil was the transport fare. Very reasonable I must say.
I really do not know about other places in Nigeria, I hope to know soon. Ibadan has a considerable fare for her transport. People negotiate taxi , bus and bike fare to an amount as low as ₦20,or ₦30.
This is something you hardly see in some states. There is also less traffic congestion. I hope this continues for a longer time.
I was curious. I wanted to see all I can within the few hours left, and I could , but time became hostile.
So, the few ones I saw, I took my time to survey, adimire, and ask questions.
In case ,you find yourself in Ibadan, go see the Museum, National Museum of Unity, so many cultural truth are in there.
Try see The University of Ibadan too. You can easily get its taxi at Sango.
Cocoa house is also a must see. Although, it’s really in a bad shape,yet It’s majorly occupied by business people claiming its floors. However,the building is a living testimony that Cocoa has huge profit.
Try see the Nigerian Railway Station. It’s just a stone throw from the Cocoa house.
Also the Nigerian Post Office.
Try see the Glasshouse, named Femi Johnson and also, Saint James Catherdral ,Oke Bola. It was established in 1860.
Don’t forget the Liberty Stadium.
And try see Agodi gardens.
Take a bike tour around, Eleyele, Molete, and Oke Ado. Just tell a bike man to take you, but, act like you know those places, transporting is cheap.
I also paid a friend a visit, around Oke Ado, Uncle Paul as I call him,a meterologist by profession. There, I made him sing-sung these words for me,
“…Ibadan kini soo so sure ni,
Ki le je le na, eran shikin ni
Ki lo fi joko , kushin shia.. ”
P.S: To interpret that in English will lose or reduce its humour.
I love to learn all I can about a people most especially their language.
I still smell Ibadan, I still dream about all that I saw. The people, who look calm, the radiant buildings at dusk, its attraction, the transport and their mode of communication. And all my mind kept saying is, everything is beautiful.