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Is ‘Lazyrade’ the Cool Drink Served in Workman School?




Many years ago, my family was working on a project in my home town and most of the workmen were brought from Lagos. Electricians, plumbers, tilers, and even carpenters. When I asked why this was so I was told that the artisans in my town were lazy and lacked good work ethics. I didn’t understand it, but as I was young and hey, it wasn’t my money they were spending was it?

In January, I went home and my cousin was working on this building project and I asked him where the workmen came from, as I noticed the light fixtures and bathroom fittings were exquisitely installed, and he said “I got the electrical guys from Lagos and the plumbing guys from Ilorin and even at that I’ve had to come every weekend to ensure that the work is done properly. Don’t you know Ogbomosho men are lazy?” Adjusting my super hero cape, I launched into a tirade of how I would not standby and have my towns men’s character besmirched and then he explained that these men get paid for a day’s work. They stroll to the site after 9am and work as slowly as they for about an hour or a little over an hour before they go off for breakfast.  Most days, they come back and work for a few more hours and they go off again for lunch. By 4pm, they’re already packing up and he has to pay them for a full day’s work. He lamented that before he ditched ‘patriotism’ for effective and optimal work, he realized that the project was going to run on forever if he didn’t do something FAST!

So why did I just randomly remember this issue? I found a leaking pipe in the kitchen this morning and I groaned! I was going to have to call a plumber and I honestly hate having to work with artisans. These craftsmen have a way of driving you to the edge of reason! Tailors, (I’ve given up completely on them because they wanted to drive me crazy), mechanics (that will require a whole blog post to analyze why they are the way they are and we may never reach a conclusion), plumbers, electricians, hair dressers, carpenters to mention but a few.  What is the real issue with artisans? Is it a lack of zeal for their trade? Someone told me once that she changes tailors after she uses them twice. According to her, by the third outfit they start misbehaving. It was funny but it really makes one wonder?

There’s something about righteous anger; it wells up within us when we think about how we’ve been wronged by one artisan or the other but it does make you think about ourselves too. Am I giving my employer 100% of my work capacity? I know there are days when you wonder why time is running so slow when all you want to do is just be in bed and watch TV but the truth is we need to work while we’re young and strong. I shudder at the thought of still having to work when I’m old and frail. I want to spend my retirement baking cookies and spoiling my grandchildren to bits.

So irrespective of your trade or profession, it’s important to work hard while you’re young, let tardiness take a back seat. If you find yourself in a job where you feel your skills are under utilized or you feel like being there isn’t helping you achieve your maximum potential, brethren, MOVE!

Why? Because your name, good or bad, will live after you. Work hard, work smart and be diligent.

Have a fabulous week ahead!


Let’s share some horror stories about artisans. 😀 Is there something theyserve in Artisan School that makes them lackadaisical or maddeningly frustrating? Or is it just laziness with no other name or slant to it?


You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. GEE

    September 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

    nyc piece!!

  2. Tiki

    September 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

    First! I think the bad artisans are people with no passion. They are lazy from the get-go, and get coerced into learning a ‘trade’ to pay for their daily bread. That’s why I’m a DIY person. I can’t stand a lackadaisical attitude towards work.

    • Dr Dee

      September 26, 2012 at 11:35 am

      I agree with you on their lack of passion but the major reason for their crappy attitude is ILLITERACY. They do not understand how doing your job well can translate to better business through retention of existing clients and acquisition of new ones through referrals from satisfied clients. Have you noticed how there is always a huge difference when graduates run service oriented businesses like baking, tailoring, hair dressing, car wash etc etc?

  3. Doug E

    September 26, 2012 at 11:40 am

    WHAT IS THIS????????

  4. AA

    September 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Like Tiki, I’m A DIY person.
    *dons judge robe* Yes artisans are from ‘hell’, errr I was starting to like the twist in the article in the last paragraph, Atoke call the rest of us ‘non-artisans’ out. I know bits and pieces in previous articles have addressed tardiness, I just want us all to be sure to look inwards as we point fingers. *goes back to twitter and that’s me pointing fingers inwards*

  5. Sugabelly

    September 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    But you could never do the work that they do which is grueling in the first place and sometimes unsafe or unhealthy. If it’s so easy to install a pipe or a light fixture why not pull out some tools and do it yourself. To those artisans you are probably the lazy non-hardworking one.

    • Ore

      September 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      There’s a reason she can’t do the work they do- she’s not trained for it. If she was trained to do it and was lazy at what she did, it would be a different matter. Since the carpenter or plumber was trained, and she’s paying for the job, she deserves excellence. If the carpenter or plumber feel the job is unhygienic, why get into the job in the first place? You call yourself a carpenter, plumber,tailor etc by profession, then do what your job entails and do an excellent job.

    • ...just saying

      September 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

      You are always so rude with your comments. You must really have a sad life.

  6. Babatunde

    September 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Nice piece! I have given up on them long time ago!the behavior is just iritating! I give my mechanic my car 9am in the morning and believe me 5:30pm he’s not finished! He has one thing or the other he is doing! So I gave up!!!!!

  7. bee

    September 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Artisans are generally annoying. But same could be said of the majority of Nigerians’ attitude to work. From civil servants, politicians, customer service ppl @ banks and companies, who roll their eyes while barely listening to you, bankers, and most other professions in Nigeria. Generally as a people, our work ethic is questionable.

  8. Jane

    September 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    @ Tiki, do you braid your hair yourself?

  9. Bird'sEyeView

    September 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Nice write-up but i think your title is a little too dramatic for the message you were trying to pass across. At first glance, it’s a tard confusing and almost makes one pass over the post.
    In other news, my major problem with artisans such as hair-dressers and tailors is unprofessionalism and poor customer relations. I have changed many a hair-dresser because of their rude and unwelcoming attitudes. Thankfully, i found the perfect blend of great skill and great manners.

  10. Aibee

    September 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I really feel this post. The other day, I got the plumber to come and change the ‘flushing handle’ on the water closet in the toilet at home. He billed me for a new one and installed it 2 days after collecting money. About 3 days after installation, it was broken. I called him and he promised to come and fix it but its been about 2 months now and he hasn’t come back. Now I have to fetch water in a bucket from the bath everytime I wanna pee or do the number 2.

    As for tailors, when they make the 1st dress for you, they do it well and subsequently lose their skills. At a point, I had two tailors. Now I have none! Why? Because the first tailor spoilt my clothes. Spoilt as in used a dry iron on the black fabric and it had ‘shine-shine’ patches all over it. She also made me a skirt and blouse with a striped material and the stripes on the skirt were horizontal while the stripes on the jacket were vertical! Imagine! And she had the nerve to tell me that the money I pay her is not enough for me to complain.
    As for the 2nd tailor, he will take your fabric and forget it in his shop for weeks, despite your calling him during the week to remind him. I didn’t wear aso-ebi to 2 weddings because my tailor disappointed me.The last wedding was supposed to be August 18 and the dress wasn’t ready so I didn’t go. I got so mad, I told him I won’t come back to ask for the dress again and that he should call me when he has finished it, believe me, he still hasn’t called me. I have paid for the dress oh. I will just give him till the end of October and go and scatter his shop! :-))

    Now, time for me to get back to work, seeing as I am typing this at work on my office computer using the office internet!!! Talk about pot calling kettle black!

  11. debdara

    September 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Artisans can ruin any project for you. you have to sit on their head before you can get anything done perfectly. lack of education and proper exposure to information makes them loose the zeal for what they do. Apart from than I THINK THEY HAVE SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS!!!

  12. CEO

    September 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I actually burst out laughing at work after i read ur comment @ DEBDARA…..hahahahaha. my mom will agree with u on the spiritual problems. she always says her tailor is good but evil spirit wont let him.

  13. molarah

    September 30, 2012 at 12:58 am

    On the issue of Lagos artisans working harder/better than non-city ones I think I’ll put that to the laid-back nature generally found in rural dwellers. They simply can’t rush life no matter what you tell them; the mad-hustler mentality of city people is just not their style. Even in neighboring countries like Benin I have noticed this trait. Its really down to one’s personal orientation about life: some believe in doing just enough to get by and will never stress themselves to learn even proper work ethics, others believe in putting in their best effort in whatever they do. There are even some artisans in the latter category that have worked hard enough to cross over to better-paid white-collar jobs. So I guess the most important question is, which category am I (every one needs to answer d question for themselves).

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