Some people say that the Lagos hustle makes it lively. I couldn’t agree more. However, I posit that the serenity of Ibadan makes it bubble. It feels kind of different but it is a good feeling. It is a feeling that comes with a seeming assurance of longevity. Ibadan as a people bubble and here is why.

I remember my first day of work in Ibadan. I was to resume at 8am in what was supposed to be one of the busiest places in the ancient city. Being used to the Lagos lifestyle, I woke by 5:30am, did my usual morning routines and was ready to set out by 6:30am. After stepping out, I decided it was wise for me to wait a little more because of the emptiness on my street. The street was like a graveyard of houses at this time. After spending 15 minutes summoning courage, I stepped back out at 6:45am to be greeted by the same quietness. But I left anyway. Though the distance from my home to the office was at least 15km and two cabs away, I still made it to work at 7:15am. Let me put this in perspective for you. I have been trapped in a Lagos 500-meter “street” traffic for one hour before. I have made trips half that distance for 2 hours in Lagos. Did I mention that part of that 30-minute commute to work was a 10-minute wait for an Okada.  It felt insanely abnormal that I could make such a journey in a city in less than 30 minutes by public transportation. As you can imagine, l felt it was totally awesome. What! There was literally no traffic all the way!

Some people say that with this way of living, the residents are liable to be laid back.  They may be right. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is a convenient way to live. It may seem like it has a major downside but that is an upside for someone coming from a hustler’s city like Lagos. For example, realizing that I couldn’t just waltz into a store down my street by 9pm to get toiletries that I only remembered to buy when I was going to shower at night was a real pisser. Stores close early. What this means is, you are automatically wired to be proactive- to plan ahead. Otherwise, OYO is your case, literally. This encourages organization and planning.

An average Ibadan worker closes by 5pm and is likely to be on his way home by 6pm even on a bad traffic day. This gives room for other activities – more time for family bonding, personal development, hanging out with friends and a good rest. This is what organizations and governments around the world spend millions of dollars researching on. They are looking for ways to create a work-life balance for their employees. They should simply come and live in Ibadan. That sort of comes by default around here. While the average busy city worker, e.g. Lagos, looks forward to crashing after work, an Ibadan worker’s day continues after work. It is not uncommon to hear a young Lagos employee say stuff like “I don’t have a life,” alluding to the absence of a work-life balance. Rather, they have a life of work. In Ibadan, life balances work out by default.

If the ease of movement and commute, the tranquil environment, rich heritage, and the work-life balance do not make you see Ibadan as a bubbling city then you will at least agree with me that it is a city of bubble.

You can’t argue with that.



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