There is this buka on Ajoke Street in Iwaya. Iwaya is close to Makoko not far from the Unilag back gate. They sell one of the most amazing amala in Lagos. — Temiloluwa Osiyoye, Yaba
Our questions are italicized.
What’s your favourite memory about the street you grew up on?
I was born in Iwaya, we lived there till I was in Primary 2. It was a family house — a big building, and my parents, siblings, and I occupied 2 rooms on the first floor. The compound had a lot of kids and it was really big, so we had a lot of space to play. My favourite memory of living in Iwaya would be stopping by a lady’s house who sold Lolly to us — you know those coloured drinks tied in small, transparent leather bags; it’s 60 percent sugar and colour and 40 percent ice. Since Lollies were frozen most of the time, we ended up sucking the colour and sweetness out. Till it turns white. We later moved to Ikorodu and we lived on Ebute Road. My favourite memory there would be the trees and other plants. There were a lot of them around the house — I remember among them were cashew trees, lime, tobacco, a few other fruits, and some funny-looking tree we later learned is one of the trees used in making paper. That was pretty educative for us as children — we could explore the unique sense in the environment. There were also a lot of insects around, I miss the butterflies.
What’s the longest you’ve had to travel for something?
The longest I have had to travel would be from Yaba (where I live) to Ibeju-Lekki. I went for a “mini-vacation”. Somewhere around La Campagne Tropicana and I was there for 2 days. I went there using a cab and it took me about 2 hours to get there. The cab charged ₦8,000. It was quite far, and for some reason, I felt guilty, so I tipped the driver ₦1,000. That’s the longest I’ve had to travel within Lagos.
What’s your daily commute?
My route is usually not the same daily, this is because I have a job and I run a business, called House of Temi. So, for work it’s usually from Yaba, off University Road, to Herbert Macaulay way, from there I link Ikorodu Road from then I head towards Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, and branch off at Allen Avenue, my office is off Allen Avenue. For my business, it’s mostly from University Road to Tejuosho Market where I go to buy fabrics. These are the two routes I mostly frequent.
Car, Okada, Bus — what’s the best mode of getting around Lagos?
Okada! That’s the fastest way to get around in Lagos. You know as Lagosians we’re always in a hurry. However, cars are the most convenient. You can just chill in the AC and enjoy your life, but it is Okada for me. It will always be Okada.
What’s an obvious part of [Lagos] that you’ve never visited?
It’ll have to be Iyana Ipaja. I have never had any business going there. That should be the most popular place in Lagos I haven’t been to. I’ve been to most of the major parts of Lagos, although that Ipaja axis has never been in my route.
What’s one place [in Lagos] everyone should visit before they turn 20?
Has to be Tarkwa Bay for me. I think everyone should visit Tarkwa Bay at least once. It doesn’t really feel like you’re in Lagos when you are there. It’s a really relaxing and chilled place. Although, the last time I was there, sometime in January 2020, I wasn’t really impressed because it was a little dirty. That aside, it’s a really nice place to visit and a good way to escape the craziness that is Lagos.
When was the last time you visited a new street?
That would be on the 16th of February. I Visited Fatai Arobieke Street in Lekki, Phase 1. Sometimes I also like to do deliveries for my business myself, so I visit a lot of new streets.
What’s somewhere/a place you discovered while doing deliveries?
I don’t think I have discovered any place I didn’t already know. Although, my first time actually exploring Banana Island was when I went to make a delivery.
What’s something you know about Lagos that not too many people know?
There is this buka on Ajoke Street in Iwaya. Iwaya is close to Makoko not far from the Unilag back gate. They sell one of the most amazing amala in Lagos. Also, if you want to get really unique pieces for your house decoration (for your kitchen, rooms, etc.). Iponri market is the place to go, if you are willing to patiently look around you will find really amazing stuff you can gift or keep in your house for your personal use.
What’s something interesting you’ve bought at Iponri Market?
Really cheap scented candles, for as little as ₦500. I got some cute gift boxes too, also cheap.
What’s a Lagos route you know by heart?
This is tough because I know several routes. But I’d say from Yaba to Ikorodu, I know about two ways of getting to Ikorodu bus stop by heart. From Yaba to Lekki, using 3 routes; the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge, the main toll booth, and the alternative route. I can drive to these places with my eyes closed. I am a proper Lagos girl, so I know my Lagos very well.
What’s the fastest way to get from Yaba to Ikorodu?
I think there’s only one route or should I say I only know one route, which I believe everyone else uses. From wherever I am in Yaba, I locate the Ikorodu Road. It’s a straight drive from there. I drive straight down without taking any turns. I go pass Fadeyi, Palmgrove Estate, pass Maryland Mall, still, go straight down, pass the turn that leads to Ikeja, passed Ketu area, and pass Mile12. If there’s no traffic from Mile12 I know I’m close to Ikorodu. A few more minutes’ drive and I’m at Ikorodu.
What’s one thing you always look forward to seeing on your street?
What I always look forward to seeing on my street are the men who sell fruits and pepper. That’s because I’m always too lazy to go to the market and they make it easy for me. I love my fruits, so I am always very happy to see them. There’s also a lady who sells Ewa Agoyin. Those 3 things I hold dear, but I think the Ewa Agoyin comes first.
What’s the most you’ve had to pay to get from one place to another in Lagos?
The last location you texted or tweeted is where you’ll live next, it’s:
That would be Yaba. If we are talking international, then Abu Dhabi.
You’re going to a place you’ve always wanted to visit and can only take one thing. Where are you going and what are you taking?
Italy! With a black card for unlimited shopping! Just kidding. It’ll be Thailand and the one thing I would take would be my phone so I can take unlimited pictures. The boo and I have a list of countries we would like to visit for numerous reasons. Thailand is culturally rich and distinct. The street food, fashion, greenery, landscape, and nightlife — I’d love to experience all that.
Temiloluwa Osiyoye is a Chief Operating Officer who runs a fashion house and lives in Yaba.
Routes by GatePass is mapping African stories one route at a time. This project sits at the intersection of life stories and mobility in African contexts. Through Routes, we explore how African lives are shaped by mobility, migration, journeys and modes of transport; and how places take on the stories of the people who have visited or passed through them.
Do you or someone you know have an interesting mobility story? Do you have a hack for moving around your city, or know something about your city’s history that not too many people know? Tell your story. We’re open to submissions and looking forward to reading!
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Editor / Publisher — Wale Lawal
Sub-Editor — Muyideen Dosumu
Interviewer — Nosa Osunde
Illustrator — Samson Msheila