Gratitude Challenge Random

Why I Love Benin City

The focus for the 6th week (Feb. 07 – Feb. 13) of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge was:

The City You Live In

The first time I visited Abuja was in the year 2006. I stayed at Wuse II for 2 weeks, during which I applied for a Turkish visa before traveling to Cyprus. It was a nice experience for me, and the beginning of something I never knew I wanted.

A Different Country

The people in Abuja were nice; they were about the nicest people I had met in Nigeria. They had better business and work ethics over there. Transportation was a breeze in Abuja because during my first visit. Cabs cost just N200 Naira to almost any destination I went! I never used public transportation, but there were hardly any noticeable traffic jams.

The weather was unusual to me because the sun was often high and hot. Abuja sun is so hot that one day, I did my laundry and went out to buy some snacks, and by the time I was back, my laundry was dry! And no, I am not exaggerating! The only other place I have experienced sun like that, was in Cyprus, during summer.

Electricity in Abuja was much better as there were fewer blackouts. One other thing I liked about the place was the sense of security. That means I could enjoy even walks along the streets, without worry. Life in Abuja was just what I wanted!

Life in Lefke


I did not know that I wanted that Abuja kind of life, until I got to Cyprus. I always like to describe Northern Cyprus as: Abuja, but filled with white people. It was almost the same thing! The people were nice and security wasn’t something you thought about. There were occasional traffic jams and almost no power failures.

However, I lived in Gazi Mağusa for about 6 months, before moving to Lefke. But with time, Lefke became like my home town! I knew people there, and people knew me. It always felt like home whenever I returned back to Lefek from out of town.

Even a year after I moved out of Lefke, it still felt like “home” whenever I visited. There are so much greens (from vegetation), cool sea breeze and lots of quiet. It was just the kind of life that I never knew I wanted!

The Most Desired City

But even the population of Cyprus is not up to that of Lagos. Lagos is the place everyone wants to be. And for the love of God, I cannot seem to understand why!

Traffic jam is constant in Lagos, and that is the first and main reason why I dislike the place so much. Then everyone is far away from everyone else, in Lagos. And so, I find myself having to endure 1 hour of traffic going, and 2 to 3 hours of traffic when returning.

I remember arriving Lagos from Cyprus in the year 2013. From the plane, I saw lights all over the place and I asked myself: why do people complain about electricity? There was light all over the place! But upon landing, I got to realize that most of those lights were generator powered!

Then talk about getting a cab! Wow! Imagine going from Abuja straight to Lagos in 2009, and then I tried to book a cab. Back then, cabs in Abuja cost between N200 to N500 naira, depending on the destination. Yet in Lagos, a drop cost 1,500! And my friend said that was even cheap! What?!

Oshodi at Night

The Heartbeat of Nigeria

All this makes me just love my dear Benin City. Indeed, Edo state is the heartbeat of Nigeria. That means you cannot cross by road from the West of Nigeria to the East, without passing through Benin City. I even live less than 2KM from the highway. So you cannot cross from West to East (or vice versa), without coming close to me.

I love Benin because it feels like a hybrid between Abuja and Lagos, in several ways. Electricity was much better in Benin over a decade ago, but today it is still between Lagos and Abuja. As for traffic, there is the usual rush hour in the mornings as well as in the evenings, after work. But besides that, even a bad traffic jam would usually not last more than an hour, at worst.

In Benin, I can afford to leave home a couple of minutes before an appointment, and still make it on time. In Lagos, I would have to leave at least 2 hours before the appointment. In Abuja, I just have to weigh in the distance before departing.

One other thing that I appreciate about Benin City, is the inter-connectivity of roads. Benin is networked! If there is a jam at one point, there would be several other routes you can pass, to get beyond that point. Those who live in Benin know this, and it is one of the amazing features of this city.

But, Benin is a dead place! There are no places to visit. A friend of mine visited from Abuja, and she had half a day to spend with me. I could not figure out where to take her! All we had was the one of the 2 cinemas that opened up in the last few years.

I have yet not found a real restaurant that was not inside a hotel, in this city. Fast food joints and cafes do no count. Perhaps there are spots that one can go to, but we would have to find them. I have only heard of a park somewhere, and the Ogba Zoo. Besides these, I am not sure if there is anything else.

All in all, I am grateful for Benin City, the city in which I was born and brought up. I have spent half of my enter life in this city, and I still think of it as home.

What is your most favorite thing about the city in which you live?

Please share in the comment section below. Thanks

7 things I was grateful for during the 6th week of this 52 weeks of gratitude challenge:

  1. I remember the first time Ada tried to convince me to use Etisalat. Now years have passed, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this… Thank God for Etisalat, probably the best network in Nigeria.
  2. I usually prefer a woman in her natural hair. But hair extensions, when properly used, can bring out another side of a woman’s Beauty. I’m grateful for hair extensions
  3. Whether it’s little or much, having a budget is important for financial stability and independence. So I’m grateful for budgets
  4. I’m grateful I was able to cash my commissions today, after there was a problem doing so yesterday
  5. I am so grateful to God that my commissions finally got sorted out!
  6. Thank God for loans!
  7. There are 2 ways to find something you want: actively search for it, or pray you get lucky. I am just grateful that at least, I know what I want (usually)

View last week’s post: