Jide Alakija

12 Jul 2006 3,556 views
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photoblog image Streets of Lagos #2
Streets of Lagos #2|

Streets of Lagos #2

Here is a shot that some of you may have seen but in a different format. I've put it up before but decided to take it down as it wasn't processed right.

A scene of Taxi driver supervising the roadside mechanic change the wheel of the Taxi. In an earlier post, I asked the question of how these people got business on a regular basis despite not having facilities such as telephones, interenet or even a business card. I think the answer is quite obvious, if you see the state of the roads in Lagos coupled with the number of cars on them, you'll probably figure out that there is enough work for anyone who decides they want to be a mechanic.

Please don't get me wrong not all of Lagos is like this, there are areas where you'd wonder if you were in Paradise, where the "celebrities" live or some might put it the "Rich folk", the road is almost paved with gold. Funny thing is that you'll never see one of these "Danfo buses" in that area, to my knowledge I don't think they are allowed.Typical!

Discussion point: What's your view on the streets of Lagos? What do you think about this big divide between the well established and the ones who are just trying to make a living? Is it like the West where your birth doesn't dictate where you'll end up? Or is this just a dream? What about you cousins in other countries what are your views on this situation. Positive, Negative or nothing? I personally think it's just different as in a different environment.

comments (28)


You're doin a great job of showing the character of the Streets of Lagos. Granted there is so much more opportunity here in the west I believe the are still some who are limited by the station of their birth. Thankfully I don't know anything about that, at least not from experience. But there are many children who are growing even here that because they don't have the proper role models or were born to parents who don't care get lost in "The System". Sometimes it is a miracle if a kid can make it to age eighteen without getting in trouble. I was fortunate in the circumstances of my birth, but even more fortunate that I recognized the opportunities that came my way.
Jide Alakija: Thanx Matt. Very thought provoking comment.
  • Laurie
  • United States
  • 12 Jul 2006, 02:05
In the States it seems there is help out there for anyone who needs it as long as they are able minded enough to look for it and willing to work hard to improve their situation.

Drug addicts and mentally ill may not have the capacity to seek help. Others may just be simply too proud or embarassed to seek it.

There is obviously a divide. I don't know much about the streets of Lagos and the economic conditions and policies there. I just know that in the States there is help for those that desire it. There is also opportnity for all who will work hard for it. I personally know a people who have gone from horrible situations like street gangs, and welfare housing projects, even living in a car after becoming homeless, and managed to pick themselves up get through school and become very successful.

One such woman I know went on to become and educator and a government advocate for education reforms in my state.

Another young man I know has had a very good career in the military for 10 years now and has been able to invest wisely and now owns several apartment buildings which have made him quite a comfortable income in addition to his military salary. He has no desire to leave the military even though he has fulfilled his obligation. He came from Chicago's south side which is known to be filled with gang violence and drugs. This young man is the same one who recruited my son for the Army. I speak with him quite often even nearly a year after my son joined. But I digress.

It's been said that the States have the richest poor people in the world, I imagine that this is probably true. I think if people can get past the despair and seek help and take advantage of these opportnities they can make a better life here. Most importantly; education, education, education.
  • Yinkavelli
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 12 Jul 2006, 02:24
You still in JAND? Holla at me. Its very important please!!!!

Oh, nice pic by the way grin
  • Azhar
  • India
  • 12 Jul 2006, 07:29
Much better than yesterday,
  • Andy
  • Pembrokeshire, Wales
  • 12 Jul 2006, 09:40
another great shot. I'm really enjoying this series both for the terrific photos showing real life in Lagos and the discussion that goes with them. Thanks for sharing your words and pictures with us smile
  • E Etomi
  • Nigeria
  • 12 Jul 2006, 10:19
Interesting series Jide. I think the reasons danfo's dont go to those are mainly beacuse they prob don't have a market there. Also I guess those are residential routes and so are private. We do actually have public routes mapped out in Lagos and you can see them written on the bus (most times).

I don't think this divide is perculiar to Lagos. It happens in all countries...maybe here the poor are just much poorer so the divide is more obvious. Also the population here is just way too much than the available resources for the average man. I wonder if things would be different if there were a welfare system for the poor.
  • blacktinkerbell
  • Nigeria
  • 12 Jul 2006, 10:20
Interesting shot, Jide. A danfo brings up several images and issues in my mind. I believe nothing typifies the yawning gap between the classes in Lagos better than a danfo. Some might say there is no class system in the city but we know different. The danfo to me, is like a grave yard of dreams. There is so much potential that you are almost certain will never be realised.

I can't say that people who desire to get ahead will find those willing to help them. It appears that the few opportunities go to those who need a break the least.

I'm glad that it's not all a sad story though, this harsh environment forces us to be tough. There is ingenuity that is born of necessity. So, we thrive where we should surely have been crushed.
In a city where you pay cash for everything, we are able to get an education and even buy houses. This city also has some really bad sides that I hope Jide's pictures will show.

Thank you Jide and please don't romanticise my city.
  • MaryP
  • London
  • 12 Jul 2006, 11:35
Love the shot. Definitely differences between rich and poor in Nigeria but that could be said about any world city. The difference in countries like Nigeria is its in your face whereas in cities like London its more hidden but don't be fooled its still there. I think the reason you see it more in Nigeria is due to the heat and the fact that that makes people live outdoors more hence you see more of their lives.

I personally love the West African fabrics and loose fitting clothes. This photo shows that off to best advantage.

As for the religious slogans on the car that is the one thing that I will never get used to about West African Christian countries. It made me very uncomfortable when I was there but I couldn't tell you why. It just felt wrong. Something I read about the Ten Commandments a few weeks back, in particular this commandment "You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name" and how the slogans on such buses go against this commandment. Food for thought maybe.
Hi Jide,

I believe this is not the first time you have put some perspective on your photography that I quite admire… Life as it is.
The “danfo” phenomenon reminds one always of where we are all coming from, where we are and where we can “only “hope to be.

The great divide between prosperity and poverty has gone wider especially in recent years and I dare say it will continue (in spite of the flashes of success we have seen recently) because the ideological fabric of the Nigerian state presupposes that the nation belongs to “some and not all”.

Thank you very much for using this otherwise unthought of medium to bring our precariousness as a nation to the fore.
Love the robe he is wearing
  • chantal
  • Netherlands
  • 12 Jul 2006, 12:10
Great choice for B&W
Great urban shot... the B&W suits this perfectly.
  • Fola77
  • United States
  • 12 Jul 2006, 13:15
mit Traenen in meinen Augen als ich an meine Erfahrungen an Lagos zurueckdenke... I thot I'd wait and see where u're goin with dis b4 I comment, but I guess I might as well say it now. LAGOS na wah oh. Itz like you get what you want out of Lagos. Whatever you drop in, you will bring out, manyfold. Whatever you go out searching for in Lagos- good or bad- you will find. Our experiences in Lagos and our views about the city are coloured by the way we have been socialized prior to 'landing' in Lagos. Bearing this in mind, my view on Lagos would end up as a book and I wouldn't subject your pals to that -I'd rather do that to you in person where I can see the effect :-D
  • micki
  • United States
  • 12 Jul 2006, 13:20
That is a great outfit he's wearing. Good shot, too. 18mm on the lens? You were close, eh?
  • Fola77
  • United States
  • 12 Jul 2006, 13:22
This pix brings back the memory of a bright sunny Sunday morning, heading to Church and the front tire going flat by the roadside, and thank God right in front of a 'mechanic'. He was about 13years old, about 5'4" and all by himself. he took forever to remove the tire, and whilst trying to 'patch up' smething, made an even bigger hole i something else-sorry, dunno much about cars- anyway, we ended up sitting there for 2,5 hours, after which he informed us the tools needed to fix the problem were with Oga. We called Oga's mobile, and it turns out he had decided to take the day off and won't be coming afterall... I don't know which was more shocking: being 'served' by a 13 year old,having a boss who takes the day off at random knowing fully well he has the 'toolbox' with him, having a 13 year old run a 'biz' by himself, or having to BEG my pple to pay for the boy's 'services'... datz Lagos life, i guess
  • Fola77
  • United States
  • 12 Jul 2006, 13:24
Jide, niiiiiiiice shot. I feel yesterday's shot as well, anxiously waiting for the rest in this series. Vielen Dank fuer das Erwachen meines afrikanischen Seeles.. and DON'T use a web dictionary 4 dis, just do your homework ;-)
Good piece of documentary work...... need I say more.
  • Ewaen Ehiemua
  • United States
  • 12 Jul 2006, 18:43

You don't know me, but I just wanted to say I find your work fascinating. I accidentally stumbled on your site on hi5 and have been hooked ever since.

Please keep up the good work. You can't even begin to imagine how many people's lives are impacted by your obvious talent!!!
Hello "to go man"!

I love the welcome image this web site sends you... so friendly ^_^

Well, i've been checking out your pics... awesome!! I love everyday photos and how you see people... its amazing the talent...

Hope to see you around!
  • Yinkavelli
  • Europe
  • 12 Jul 2006, 21:12
And the award for worst road goes to....SAKA TINUNBU in Victoria Island. And God help you if it rains.
Thank you everyone and because of my very slow internet connection I can't reply everyone as I would have liked.
  • Jamey
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 12 Jul 2006, 23:11
Nice street scene that. One of those photos that just does the work itself, no processing really needed. Like it for that.
  • Yinkavelli
  • Ibadan
  • 13 Jul 2006, 19:15
Concept ideas while you are in Lagos

1) Lagos at night???
2) Nu-Lagos (Pics of the silverbird Galleria, Palms mall, TerraKulture etc

I dont know...just a thought...Holla

P.S. Jo! Can you do me a favor. There is a wedding CD waiting for Yemi Ladejobi. Could you help me pick it up from Taiwo Onifade's office to give Yemi? Her number is 08022910385. Or my other friend Fola on 08022910382. They both work at Oando Holdings in V/I Extension.

Cheers mate. Do you have Goose's no. there by any chance?
  • bunmi opeodu
  • london/hong-kong
  • 19 Jul 2006, 12:01
the lens dont lie,loving every artistic detail of this one,from the sandpapered patches to the unintentionally missing "WOND"...TO COMPLETE THE SENTENCE "WONDERFUL GOD",not to mention the fixed gaze and concentration expressed by the duo in this pic.absolute natural work of art i must say.
  • Jesper
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Jul 2006, 11:49
Great shot. I like the 'wheels' on the taxi driver's clothes that fit the general theme very much. Works really well in b/w too. Good stuff!
  • Abiola
  • United States
  • 24 Jul 2006, 20:24
I love your website...I grew up in Nigeria but have not lived there for several years. I came across your website by fate and I have been a fan since then, I am not too proud to say that some of the photos that are on there have brought actual tears to my eyes...no they were not bad in fact quite the contrary...it just takes me back to a long time.
You are very good, I can't believe that you refer to yourself as a amateur. I sure hope you are being modest and humble.

I hope you are planning a exhibit tour stateside soon...please let us know whenever that happens...I won't be hard to spot...I'll be the one at the door with a whole bunch of friends wearing the 'Jide Alakija rocks t-shirt'

Keep up the good work my friend...(pssst quit your day job if you have one...this is what you should be doing)

  • Abiola
  • United States
  • 24 Jul 2006, 20:25
Yinkavelli...have you been too Orile Iganmu or Mile 12 in the recent past? A number of special awards to those roads...
  • Abiola
  • United States
  • 24 Jul 2006, 20:26
Correction, that is not a taxi...that is a danfo

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camera Canon EOS 10D
exposure mode
shutterspeed 1/640s
aperture f/2.8
sensitivity ISO200
focal length 18.0mm
Yellow busYellow bus
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