If you’re relocating to Abuja, or got dragged there by the Nigerian government in the name of Nysc, please shine your eyes. Shine it well. I’ve lived in both places and while Lagos is the hub of everything, Abuja is the younger sister that just started doing runs.
The first thing you have to be careful with is getting accommodation, now everyone will try to tell you how expensive accommodation is, believe them! But don’t let that make you get a shoddy apartment. Hope is free, get some. Except you’re swimming in cash, please just leave Wuse and all its Zones alone; place is as expensive as managing diabetes. Now the goal is a place that’s affordable but not ghetto and not far from town and that place is from Karu to Sharp corner or Kubwa, anything further is you signing yourself up to be stuck in Lagos style traffic every single day. Aint nobody got time for that. Depending on what you need, 150-300k should sort you out and please don’t rush so you don’t end up getting a shoddy deal. Take your time also in furnishing it because no matter how big that plasma is, you cannot eat it when hunger knocks.
Okay we have a house now, you’ll have to go out because “no food for lazy man” (is this in the bible or is it just me?), coaster buses shall be your friends as they’re the cheapest, I think, #150 max will take you to Berger/Area one and then you’re in at the mercy of town cab guys. Please whatever you do, don’t act like a JJC or they’ll use you and build house. Those guys are merciless. the first time I went to Sandralia Hotel at Jabi/Utako, the cab guy took 500 naira from me after driving me round and around and in my mind I was even pitying him because the distance was long only to find out later that it should have cost me just 100 naira from where I was. Sly bastard! He conned four bottles of Coca-Cola from me. Then there are the one chance guys that take conning to a whole new level, I’ve not even been here up to a year and I’ve almost been their victim twice. I can’t remember details of the first time but the second time was when I was on my way to the office from Wuse market, it was almost closing time so I was in a mad rush to get back plus I needed to meet someone and that’s how I entered one of those green cabs. There was a guy in front and another at the back so I was the only female there, the driver didn’t even reach anywhere when the one in front said he needed to drop because he forgot something and proceeded to pay with Benin republic currency or something like that. Of course the driver didn’t want to get the money, of course the guy said he was just coming in to Nigeria so he hadn’t changed his currencies yet, of course he asked the driver to follow him to his embassy and of course the driver told me not to be angry that he won’t waste time. Luckily for me the traffic light turned red, saved me the stress of having to jump down from a moving vehicle. Nonsense.
This one is for the ladies, leave Abuja guys alone o. They’re either married or broke and wrongly think you have money for them to leech on, I’m not kidding. I came here and became very appreciative of the guys I knew in Uyo. An Abuja guy is a collector, he will take you places to impress you, buy you things you didn’t ask for and then come to collect. Fine, I know they’re almost all like this but trust me it’s like their own is in the constitution somewhere, you cannot escape it. Out of all the guys I’ve met here, one stood out for his unabashed thirst. So I went to meet a friend at Transcorp and we went to the lounge to grab a bite and this guy came and just started saying so many words at once I was momentarily lost and then I just ignored him but he kept talking, asked what we were there for, where we live, and then asked for our numbers. Unfortunately for me, my friend’s phone was off so he got my number instead promising to call us later. His “later” was about thirty minutes later, and ten minutes after that and next thing he asked if he could come to my house. Dude, say what?! I asked him why and he said to spend the night and then I asked him if he was homeless and he called me rude. Please did I ask a bad thing? He keeps calling and keeps asking where I am or telling me where I should meet him. Lol, I really pity him if he thinks I have money just because of where he met me.
Moving on, I mentioned Wuse market earlier, everything they sell there is considerably more expensive. I personally think it’s better to shop online and pay for delivery than to go there but that’s just me. There are other more reasonably priced markets but my go to is Nyanya because its closer to my house (I pray my dad never sees this, he has told me to only get things from small shops on my street because, boko haram), from foodstuff, clothing, footwear, beddings, they’ve got you covered and you won’t leave feeling like you threw money away plus you can haggle without somebody looking at you like you’re a broke ass.
As for social life, we know Eko is forever for show but they’re trying. There’s art exhibitions, park hangouts, food expos and a wide selection of nice restaurants that won’t gulp your cash (you have rice in your house sha) but you’ll have the rich kids of Abuja with their stuck up ignorant attitudes to deal with and ladies, your self-esteem might be shattered a little by girls with spotless milky white skin but stay strong.
All in all, Abuja is a cool place. You can hustle without the mind-numbing grind of Lagos but still shine your eyes well!.