Lagos and money! Can one confidently say they are children from the same mother? Yes! Lagosians obviously know how to make money. They are notoriously known for their business oriented lifestyle; they have an insatiable penchant for making money anywhere, anytime, any day and of course parties, especially the Owambe types are not left out! Have you ever been to one? Apart from the organisers of the party, one can undoubtedly conclude that every other individual grace the event to make extra bucks for themselves.
In the history of Nigeria, Lagos is known for the numerous and ridiculous ways they have devised in making money in the most unimaginable locations, including the most fatiguing traffics, churches, mosques, and under the long bridges.
However, the most baffling is the means by which they make money in all kinds of parties. Indeed in Lagos every where Na market
A typical Lagos party always have a colour chosen for the event, the colour chosen for the event is then used in decorating the hall or wherever is chosen for the event, women with high “gele” and “aso ebi”, men with their big “agbada” or Ankara shirt and trousers are also to be noticed. Round tables and chairs are arranged for the guests to sit, DJ stands or in some cases band stands are available.
In a typical Lagos Island party, people find different ways to make their own money no matter how inappropriate it might be.
Only in Lagos Island parties would you find people breaking high denomination of money to lower ones with profits attached. The guests in their bid to find out who can spend the most basically bring “their banks” to the party. Then typical Lagosians with the hope of breaking high sums of money down for those interested in spraying started bringing low denominations of money to parties in other to break high denominations down. You could give them a one thousand naira note and in turn, they give you a smaller denomination. In an interview with a guest who refused to give her name at a party recently, she said that, “if you want the change in N100 naira note, you would be given N900 with N100 as their profit, but if you want the money in N50 denominations you would be given N800 with N200 as their profit”.
If one is wondering how they come by these various notes, one may need to go knocking on the doors of any nearby bank. “The truth is that the banks make the crispy notes available to us, and we also buy at a margin to sell to the consumers at parties who like to make lasting impressions with their spraying of notes”, one of the currency note sellers averred.
The money-making spree also continues with the boys who serve the various dishes. For a guest who needs a good ration there is a way to go about it. According to a woman who identified herself as Mama Modupe, one can get all she wants by making a tip. “It is not happenstance that you see some table more fortified with assorted kinds of dishes than others. It is the tip. If you give the boys serving food and drink a little money, they will make sure you have enough to eat and drink and possibly also take home.”
Getting a pack to take home some of these items like drinks and food packs become another business opportunity at most Lagos Island parties. And that is the sale of polythene bags. At the local shop it goes for N10, but at parties like this where one is bent on taking away bottles of wine aside food, be prepared to pay N50.
Also in Lagos parties where people pick up empty plastic bottles, plastic spoons and plates to sell to companies that would recycle the plastic products, people also sell polythene bags for those who do not have bags to pack their souvenirs home. Take away packs are also sold at parties for people to put their food in, especially during the Islamic fasting period; the packs are sold at more expensive prices.
Lagosians also do ridiculous things like practically bringing their shops to the party venue; they target children of the guests who love sweet things like biscuits, chewing gums, sweets, chocolates etc. these vendors pack themselves at the entrance of almost every part on the island in a bid to make extra cash on a busy Saturday.
Another common business scheme Lagosians conduct is photography business, this is mostly done by photographers, they bring their cameras to the party venue and take people pictures, then they run to their office and print the picture out fast, so that they can give the picture to the guests and collect their money before the guests leave the party, it is commonly known as ‘wait and get pictures’ or ‘10 minute pictures’.
Although there are complaints that such pictures do not last long, photographers make brisk business because the guests want to have a lasting memory of that attire they wore to such parties. And availing N250 per pictures will not be burdensome at such instance.
It has also gotten to the extent that people use parties as opportunities to sell their musical albums, body products etc. wannabe musicians, both Christian, reggae, hip hop and rap. They all struggle to produce one CD then try and get the MC of the party to publicise the CD. Writers also bring their books to the parties, especially story books for children; they give the young children the books and tell them to show their parents to buy the book for them.
Depending on the class of the party, makeup artiste also come to tie gele and do quick makeup for women whose gele are not really authentic, women are known for their “gele competition” for the biggest and well tied gele, so some makeup artiste attend parties mostly high class parties though to add more money to their pocket, as the women enter the party, makeup artistes would waylay them and try to convince them to retie their gele and freshen their makeup so as to look better than other women in the party.
Churches also use wedding ceremonies as opportunity to get money for fund raising in their churches, at a point during the ceremony, the pastor would stand up, start praising God and convincing the guest to raise certain amount for the growth of the church. Basically, not only churches do such, even party host try to raise money for donation of some sort (depending on the party type though),
In Lagos nowhere is alien to business and money making. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Lagos State is the sixty third largest economy in the world.
Source: National Mirror Nigeria