“I was born in Ibadan and I never left the city until I was about 17 year old. Even though I wasn’t born in the village, my father, at a time, had farmlands at Ogidi, a village around Akanran. I used to follow him to the farm occasionally and I enjoyed the village life. I saw how garri was made from the point of harvesting to soaking (at times in a stream) and spreading it on tarred roads for them to dry.
At another time, I had the opportunity of living at a village called Arulogun at Akinyele local government. I stayed there for more than a month and the experience was thrilling.
What made my stay at Arulogun so extraordinary was that, at that time, I was that adolescent who had been raised all his life in the city, and wanted a break from that city life. In Arulogun, I climbed trees with the other village boys, hunted for rabbits, went to the stream just like other young folks and of course jived about village girls like all other boys of my age. And even though there were no basic amenities in the village like it was in the city, I wasn’t eager to return home.
I attended government-owned schools and they were peopled with the good the bad and the ugly. I attended Bishop Phillips Academy for my junior secondary education and Adekile Goodwill grammar school for the senior secondary. I had fun. I wasn’t the particularly serious student, I played a lot. My friends and I, did a lot of mischief.
Another memorable part of growing up in Ibadan was Fuji music. On our way to and from school every day, bus drivers blasted songs by Saheed Osupa – Master Blaster, Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, Obesere, Paso Wonder, Barrister, Kollington, Salawa Abeni and the likes. I also remember television characters like Fadeyi Oloro, Abija, Orisabunmi and Baba Kwete. I remember films like Koto Aye, Koto Orun, Arelu, etc, on NTA. I also used to listen to radio programs by Kola Olawuyi, Kola Olootu. Owuye was on Monday nights and Tati were on Saturdays.
All of these and many more made growing up in Ibadan more than worth the while.
Now, I live in Lagos and I’d say life in Lagos has been challenging and rewarding. Life in Ibadan is relatively easy unlike the stressful life in Lagos. In Lagos, traffic defines your life. In Lagos, the cost of living is arbitrarily high, not necessarily because the standard of living is. Also, Lagos can be outrightly unfair to job seekers and employees. I had a fair share of this.
At a time, I had to flood every Tom Dick and Harry law firm at Obalende/Igbosere with my CV. I distributed my CV on all the floors at the Western House and all law shops at the race course. My brother, nothing came out of the effort. The best offer I got was from a Lekki firm that wanted to pay me N40,000 per month and that was a generous offer by them because I made a 2.1 coupled with a masters degree.
That was just evil.
If I could change anything about Ibadan, it will the economic landscape of Ibadan. Ibadan used to pride itself as the city of firsts, so unfortunately that pride isn’t there anymore. The city has been in a state of economic inertia and has lost her shine, no thanks to the seemingly unending human capital flight. On a personal note, I had to leave Ibadan because the city no longer challenged me.
I miss the relative tranquility that Ibadan is known for. I miss the brown rusted roofs. I miss my family and friends.
And of course, I miss one Amala joint somewhere around Bodija called ‘Ola mummy'”.