In Lagos, most people suffer identity crises.
Every small thing, “Do you know who I am?” Mistakenly bump into someone and before you can even say sorry, the bobo has asked for your help as a well-meaning Nigerian to unravel the great mystery that is his life.
Most of the time, those questions are asked by practically nobodies who’ve the Nigerian good fortune of having a distant cousin or friend in the police force or army. Even FRSC and Lastma follow (all na government uniform). Those questions are asked by ageist people who are outraged you didn’t let them disrespect you. A literal translation of “do you know who I am?” is “am I your mate?”.
Refuse to stand up for one baba inside BRT bus, next thing: do you know who I am?
Refuse to let somebody cut in front at the ATM queue, you hear, do you know who I am?
Who are you please? Are you I Am That I Am?
The good thing about those people is they show that Lagos is not as wild as people say it is. Lagos is not a place where for every small argument someone will burst you one bottle. No, Lagosians are not violent like that. They just ask for your help to tell them their life history. Because DNA test too cost.
That’s how I was pricing phone at Computer Village, Ikeja and the man selling it, one baba laidat, fired me the question. For a moment, I was lost. I mean, I was trying to help his ministry o. Out of the hundreds of shops I could have walked into to price phone, I entered his own. And just because I jokingly said “70k for wetin? My friend shift, no be sell you wan sell, na thief you wan thief” he now decided to be asking me a variation of “do you know who I am?”. He said, “Na me you dey follow talk like dis? You know how many years I take senior you?”
I didn’t waste time before firing back: “Do you know who I am? I’ve 5000 friends and over 8000 followers on Facebook. And I never count the ones for Twitter and Instagram o. Make I show you my likes?”
Since we all want to be foolish.
If you call their bluff, they are most likely to whip out their phones the way a fairly endowed man whips out his dick in the bedroom with the girl he has been chasing for six months. The one he promised to use it to “rearrange your womb.”
And like the fairly endowed man who goes in beating his chest and chanting “Wakanda forever!” and then comes out limp after two minutes, their credit usually finishes as they are calling the person who will help you know who they are. Either that or the network becomes bad.
“Na God save you,” they will tell you. “Na God save you.”