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Voice Of The Street by Leonard Michael

Have you ever imagined what makes the street so unique? It is often said that if you don’t mind your business while walking on the street, then you are not going to get to your destination. So many dreams come true while on the street through inspirations gotten from its voice while so many have been doomed and lives shattered through actions on the street.

Do you ever believe the street’s gat voice? If no, then you had better start believing. Enough hustle and buzzing that keeps the street in its uniqueness and makes it superb sheds more light on the inspirations we get daily from it.

If you have ever been on the streets of Lagos; the fastest growing city in Africa, you will agree with me that truly the street is a fascinating place to be. Have you not seen people who wake up early in the morning, take their bath, dress really good and goes off to sit on the street? Asides the fact that they make their living from the street, they are at their duty post. They are called ‘EYE WITNESS’. Their work is to argue on irrelevant issues, brag about what they are not and record all the daily happening enough for their camera (eyes) to take and then go back at night with a new tale to tell. Their voice contribute to that on the street. They are the CNN on the street where you get latest gist and happenings around the world (both real facts and untrue stories).

Another set of voice is that of automobiles. Motorists have devised so many means of communicating with one another and humans through ‘HORNING’ and other unconventional signals. Cyclists even go far ahead to install heavy duty car horns that makes a hell of noise while trying to ward-off other road users coupled with that made by Lorries, Trailers, Cars, sometimes Trains and distant aircrafts. The sounds of their engine also contributes to the voice on the street.

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Moreover, another resounding voice you hear as you move on the street is that of traders, hawkers and people selling one thing or the other. Sometimes, it is a quest for choice when their voices start clamouring on one calling you to patronize them. It often ward-off one’s attention and if you are not careful or focused, you lose concentration. Some in the process pickup fights as a result of on-going discrepancies of one snatching one’s customer. The voices of people hawking, calling on buyers in various ways, some comic and some noisy makes up the voice on the street.

Have you ever seen people gathering at a vendor post reading our dailies? Have you noticed a particular set on suits? Did you discover a set of people who are the architect of the discussion? i.e. ‘they carry the matter on-top their head’. Have you ever noticed some people we call ‘AGAMA’? They just shake their head in accordance or affirmation to whatever point is being raised.

Here is a breakdown of these personalities. Most people who are gathered there are not jobless people as you may think. The real fact is, you sometimes find serious-minded people there who are gainfully employed and comfortable but just came with the sole-aim of getting updated with happenings around them. They at times pick up serious arguments when issues they are quite conversant with arises. The plain truth is that they are rarely seen there. They are there once in a blue moon. Now not every people in suits fall into this category.

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An average statistics of Lagos commercial activity confirms that about 25% of people found on the street are just ‘WANDERERS’. They wake up in the morning, put on suits or nice clothing and then go to those vendor posts. Some even carry portfolios, briefcases and files (my clear bag); creating an impression for onlookers about their fake status. Most of them if virtually not all of them come to seek/read for job opportunities with their up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (CV) in those portfolios and briefcases. They put up serious argument and their resounding voices make up the voice on the street.

The last group are the ‘AGAMAs’, they don’t know anything on the point being raised, they are just there to while away time as the day goes by. Some of them are thieves, burglars, pick-pockets and spies who are just out with their own selfish interest usually a bad motive.

The ‘AREA BOYS’ syndrome which is formerly a serious issue on our streets but drastically reduced has contributed tremendously to the voice on the street. They make a hell of noise through their escapades as most of them are usually under the influence of alcohol, tobacco and narcotics. They sometimes pick-up fight with motorists, cyclists, road users or even one another. They have no job, they are from the street and always on the street.

The last character on the street asides hawkers and traders are ‘LUNATICS’. They go about saying meaningless words which are meaningful to them. They sometimes produce good music and make disgusting sounds as a result of make-up materials such as tin can, rubber etc. which they put on. Some other set of people also fall under this category although they are not ‘Total Lunatics’ but they can be called ‘Partial Lunatics’ because at some times, they say meaningful things like

“Bros abeg I fit get 50 Naira from you? I dey go Maraba but the money wey dey my hand no do”


“Sister abeg I neva chop, hunger dey catch me, I fit see 20 Naira from you?”

And so many other tactics they use in extorting money from people; we all know what they say. The funny thing about these people is that they sometimes stop you with a smile, some pretending to ask you what the time is. When you see them, they dress really fine, some even dress better than the people they beg from and when you give them and walk some distance, you find them telling same story to another soul. We call them ‘FINE BARAs’.

Editorial Staff

TASMAG Editorial Staff takes care of articles sent in by contributors. You can send your contributions to [email protected]

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