The 50-year-old dreadlocked Afrocentric designer is a typical ‘Lagos boy’. Born in Apongbon, he moves around Lagos in cabs even though he “can afford any car of his choice.” And to think that his father and grandfather were born in Lagos…
Where were you born and when?
I was born in Lagos at Apongbon right under that bridge on January 19, 1955.
So you grew up in memory?
I remember while growing up, NEPA didn’t use to take light like they do now. And Lagos wasn’t as crowded. We weren’t cared to go out at night because usually, the party started at 1 o’clock in the morning so you didn’t have to leave the house until like 1.30 or 2 am. So, it was more fun.
Where do you shop?
Shop? Do I shop? I shop everywhere. But I hardly buy anything really. My folks buy everything we need. My brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. We’re together most of the time so whatever we need, they do the buying.
What do you miss when you’re out of Lagos?
The ambience. I like the ambience of Lagos. I like the craziness of Lagos. No matter where I go, I miss Lagos. Despite the dirt, inconsistently of electricity, water, the danfo drivers and okadas, I still like the air of Lagos. It’s very unique and my body responds to what I eat better in Lagos. Then I muss boli and epa. The groundnut you get in Lagos, you can’t get it anywhere else. I love to have boli and epa for lunch, so I miss that. I miss ewa agonyi too. There is no way you can make that pepper the way agonyi people make their own. I miss the fact that you can see two people fighting because of N5.
What do you hate most about Lagos?
I think some of the things they’ve rectified. The streets need to be lined. There needs to be demarcation of lanes. All the public transportation drivers need to be educated. We need to do the sidewalks so we be seen to respect the disabled amongst us.
What’s your favourite Lagos hangout or pub?
I don’t hang out. Since I’ve been in town, I haven’t gone anywhere but stay at home.
How do you get around in Lagos?
I take a taxi. I’ve had several cars that I’ve sold. As long as I get to where I am going, I’m not an egoist. I can buy any car that I want but the risk of living large here is higher than living large abroad.
What new projects are you working on?
There’s a lot. You’re not supposed to count all your eggs before they’re hatched, so I’ll not divulge all the details. But we’re still working with African fabrics, still promiting African fabrics over the world.
(First published in 2005)