As early as 7am, at Orile-Agege General Hospital (Oke-Odo), I quickly joined a sitting queue where I was redirected to Revenue to make payments for card, before I could qualify for the queue.
(At Revenue) Good morning sir (In Yoruba), I greeted the man in sight from the window access. He ignored the greeting and asked, “What do you want” (In English), so I quickly switched my language. I told him my mission. “What’s your name, your age”, he inquired and I answered.
He issued a bill and I stretched my right hand to collect the card and he stretched his left to give. Thank God for Pastor Mike, (You won’t understand anyway), I also switched to my left, “this man is an idiot”, I said to myself, as I walked away. While I checked the name of the issuing officer on the bill, it stunned me to discover that the idiot is a Yoruba man, bearing OJO.
Getting back to the queue to make payment and get a card, the man there was ceaselessly snapping, dishing out unnecessary instructions with bitterness. I ignored all that, with a focus to get my card and move to the next phase. On my turn, I presented the bill and the fee. Issuing another receipt with the card, he presented it with a left hand and I quickly did the same as I concluded that “these people are condemned to left hand.”
At the third stage, I joined a number of people under the canopy. Since it was my first time, I asked them the next thing to do. I was told to fill a particular form and put it in my file. After complying I went straight to submit. As the lady stretched her left hand, she confirmed my earlier conclusion and I quickly switched again.
I was ordered back to my sit, waiting for another call. From the same cubicle, after waiting for about 40minutes, another voice that I think had perused my details called my name. On getting there, she greeted nicely in my dialect, I responded the way I could. She asked after my family and told me she married from my state, so I have to take care of her breakfast (then I understood the warm reception.)
She asked if I had a referral letter, I responded in denial. “No problem”, she said. The other lady (The one who confirmed my conclusion) joined the conversation. “So he’s from that state, and he doesn’t understand the language,” she said. “I do” was my response.
She retained my file; I was to go with a little card, which she used her left hand to put on the table where I could pick it. I was through with her in few minutes, but not without parting with some cash (which I also dropped on the same spot on the table) she smiled as I walked away.
About 20 minutes later, a lady emerged with our files; she called our names and directed us to an open hall, where we had to take another queue with a lot of patience, before we could be attended to by the doctors who weren’t on seat at about 9am. But what choice did we have, we had to wait.
At last, the doctors came and after waiting for another two hours, one of the doctors attended to me and I was again referred to another department where I was subjected to unnecessary rigour due to poor administrative style. “Never again will I come to this place”, I promised myself. After another two hours, I was already on my way out but with an appointment for another week. The experience was hell.
I took a public transport, and I disappeared. While I alighted, trying to connect with another bus, I saw something I needed, so I stopped in front of the Yoruba woman. I asked in Yoruba how much she sells her product and she just mentioned the price and asked in English how many I wanted. “What is wrong with all these Yoruba people, even a trader?” I rhetorically queried myself.
I couldn’t hold my peace, so I was forced to voice out. I told her it was conspicuous she’s a Yoruba woman and I met her speaking the Yoruba language with co-traders. I asked her why she switched when I communicated with her in the same language. But she was without words.
I immediately paid her, and after she succeeded in searching her pouch for about 90 seconds, she looked away as she stretched her left hand towards me, offering my change and I was dumbfounded. I transferred my bag from left to right and I levelled up with her. At that point, it was as if something woke her from her unconsciousness. She wanted to adjust but it was late already.
I found my way to the next garage. As I occupied a front seat by the side of the driver, a young Igbo lady between ages 27-29 who came in almost at the same time tapped my shoulder and quickly told me to help her with transport fare. “No problem”, I gave her a prompt response before others could sense what was happening. I paid for both of us and alighted at my bus stop. I got no thank you, but it didn’t matter to me.
As I crossed to the other side of the road to connect with another means of transportation, I noticed a flash figure that resembled the same lady, but I didn’t look twice. The moment I settled in a tricycle, a lady entered and sat right next to me. Alas, it was this same lady. As the tricycle moved, she turned to whisper to me again, I knew what she would say already and she confirmed it.
I quickly made payment for us through the third passenger who needed change. I just wanted to disappear from the tricycle. What a day, what a people! As the rider got to the front of my gate, I rushed down and never looked back; I never want to see such a day again.
THIS IS LAGOS!