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Delta Big Boy: 6 Things you can Relate to if you Live in Benin City

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Photo Credit: Connect Nigeria

Living in Nigeria is definitely one of the sweetest experiences ever; not that I’ve lived more than one week anywhere else though.

Apart from the general/popular experience, there are some that are unique to each state or region in the country. While the popular states are about Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, there are some places that serve really funny and unique experience you may not be able to find anywhere.

I schooled in the University of Benin (TMI) and so I lived in Benin City for about four to five years of my life. But I had been visiting prior to and even after my university education. I wasn’t just living around the campus, I was also visiting family in town and spending weekends, weekdays going to withdraw money from my brother and his wife’s pockets.

I honestly am tired of this Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna superiority, so I want to shine the spotlight on other cities that hold amazing experiences. I cannot shine the spotlight if I’m not there right? And I don’t have money to go there. Maybe one day Mike Adenuga will adopt me with Aliko Dangote as my godfather and Femi Otedola as my spiritual father. Till then, enjoy what it means to live in Benin.

Benin is a cool place, an emerging market in Nigeria. Quality housing is cheap; because of UNIBEN and BIU, you have a market of people (students) who are woke but broke. If they are your focus, you can start selling pocket-friendly products/services and make sure you give a discount for students. Do this and you won’t need a marketing team. Wo, I’m not a business coach o jareh.

So, what are some unique things about Benin?

There is no Season in Benin

In the U.S., they have Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, in Nigeria we have Rainy season and Dry season. In Benin City, Nigeria however, the weather does not follow what geography experts dictate. There are basically no seasons in Benin. The weather condition is determined by forces whose powers words cannot explain.

I remember during my days in the UNIBEN, I experienced this countless number of times. Like, during my matriculation, after I had gone from one tent to another eating Owo and Starch, Ukodo, Meatpie, Jollof Rice, Fried Rice and drinking several bottles of “Mountain Dew”, I finally decided it was time to go home (in town) as the rain was almost here. “Today na today, this rain go scatter everywhere I said to my self,” as I made way to my last stop for the day hoping to grab one last bite before I go home and avoid the rain. Sadly, only half of my plan worked, I finished the meal and made my way to UNIBEN’s maingate… under the rain. Don’t blame me, blame the food.

Rain has a way of dictating the price of anything in Benin. The transport fare went up more than 100% – from N70 to N150. We sha entered, I still had enough money “for matriculation” in my pocket. About 200 metres into the journey – From maingate to University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) gate – I saw dry land and clear skies. I kid you not! That was not even the surprising part. The surprise was that people in the bus were not surprised!

I was just thinking of my N80 ??.

I recently went to collect my certificate (yes, in Nigeria you can graduate, get a job, start a family and have grandchildren before collecting your university certificate) and as the bus stopped at UNIBEN Maingate, it started raining heavily that no one could even cross the road into the campus. We all hid under a transport company’s shelter. I had told my hosts that I was coming so they left their lodge making their way to me. They were not with umbrellas because the sky was not just clear, it was extremely sunny. They got to the gate and were stuck. They couldn’t cross to me, neither could I cross to them. They called and told me how bad it was raining and how they didn’t expect it because the sun was shining bright when they were coming. When the rain stopped we met and started going back. See, 100m into the journey, we saw dry land, sunny sky and lovebirds gisting while sitting on the grass. I weak!

Weekends are for Burials

In Lagos (or anywhere else), weekends are for weddings; In Benin, weekends are for burials.

No weekend goes by, without a major burial in Benin. Public Primary and secondary schools transform to events centres from Friday evening through Sunday. It was one of our means of livelihood then though. Attend, eat, pack home, warm and eat for the next 2 – 3 days. Things we do to survive university education in Nigeria.

How you and your pals walk into a burial ceremony like you were there when the deceased passed.

The state government recently banned the use of schools for such events, so you know that’s true. The students – the ones that’ll come late – are forced to clean up on Monday morning.

Passport Photograph Centres

One of the most thriving businesses in Benin is passport photograph studios. You know, Benin City and Edo State in general is known for its young and old striving to find greener pastures outside the country – Europe especially. While some go through the Sahara desert, Libya route to Europe, others actually go through the right means – through visa. So a thriving business in Benin is making passport photographs to match the visa requirements of each country.

You can be walking on the road at ring road with your beautiful red dress and you hear something like “you wey wear red gown come now to passport corner to get your passport photograph for your visa to US, UK, Malaysia, Italy”. And you’re like…

Don’t worry, they are not looking at you, it’s pre-recorded and you just fell into a category, a popular one. That’s how they sell bibles too.

Furniture & Woodwork

Sawmills, carpenter workshops are some of the big time businesses in Benin and Edo state. I honestly can’t figure out why. Is it that people build their houses with sticks alone? Or people living in Benin have more furniture than the rest of the country? Or that it is one of the state’s biggest export? Maybe it’s simply because of too many burials! You’ll lose count of “Funeral Homes” after driving 5 kilometres in Benin.

You keep asking yourself, “Did I come to this town to die?”

Canteens, Restaurants and Guest Houses

Honestly, someone can rent four rooms in a house and start a hotel and restaurant business. It’s like the height of your big boy status, really. Then, it’s also for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t only happen in Benin sha.

Sadly, Cultism

Cultism is everywhere in the country, but the one in Edo state. Ah! When we hear of cultism, we think university students, then maybe university lecturers, then politicians. However, in Benin after of the categories above, you have secondary school students. Like, they actually kill each other during “cult wars”. Really terrible thing.

There’s a final thing but I don’t want to talk about it. It involves night journey, by air, using broom and stick. I’ll say no more because the mouth that refuses to keep shut will mistakenly swallow a fly instead of saliva.

Feeling like Pete Edochie

All in all, Benin is a really good place to start life live. It’s relatively cheap, cool, and actually has life (for millennials); two big universities are there – UNIBEN and Benson Idahosa University. There are economic opportunities there, as well as many cities in Nigeria, but Lagos will not allow us rest! I hope Governor Obaseki sees this.

Anyways, do you live in Benin? Have you lived in Benin? Share with us some other unique things about the city.

Photo Credit: Connect Nigeria

27 Comments

  1. IY

    November 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Please gather your facts before you write an article. Thank you.

    • Bside

      November 24, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      But what he said is true, I stayed in Benin and I can confirm most of what the writer listed in this article. Benin is home to exotic furnitures, weekend burials especially from that Mortuary at Ring road just by the side of the state house of assembly, lots of rain and boutiques.

      Hotels are every where in Benin. There seem to be more hotels that industries in Benin. Then the number of places where you can buy clothes from, There are a lot of boutiques with quality and affordable clothes in Benin. They are every where.

      It is a fun place to live in, with good road network.

    • haters anonymous

      November 24, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Excuse me. Please sharap. Thank you.

    • Mondela

      November 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      LOOL..He just went to Uniben,he wasnt really into the town.

    • Debbie

      November 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Please what did he say that is incorrect? I lived in Benin for 16 years. This article right here is accurate. There are other aspects that he didn’t talk about of course but all he said is true.

  2. Baby gurl

    November 24, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    This is such an interesting article. Eye opening too. I love the writer’s wit. We are laser focused on Lagos, Abuja and PH that we forget other cities have their peculiar opportunities too. Nice. I’m going to bookmark this.

  3. haters anonymous

    November 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Haha! I’m a Benin girl o but I won’t hate today because I actually laughed and enjoyed it. The part about burials is so true, sometimes I think it’s linked to all the “flying at night” too but who knows? Well done DBB!

  4. John Matilda

    November 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Benin where there no landlords but landladies, Benin where almost every first son is an imbecile, Benin that holds the most powerful king in Nigeria and I dare say Africa, Benin’s pidgin English is second to none (only those from warri can in opposition), Benin where it’s a normal occurrence for people to get stuck on wires when coming from “meetings” , Benin where girls boldly toasts boys……..

  5. John Matilda

    November 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    *there are, *can argue

  6. Mio

    November 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Lol……. I love my Benin any day…

  7. fabulous

    November 24, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I agree with this article.

  8. Loki

    November 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    This was mega hilarious even if not completely factual. But abeg, nice to read about something other than weddings, break ups and stabbings on BellaNaija.
    I

  9. so true

    November 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Ah! this just brought back memories. I also went to uniben so reading this was a treat.

  10. Sisi P

    November 24, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Benin is the only place in the world I know where bats fly in the day time. There are these trees in ring road. If you look at them you’ll think they are dry leaves on the trees but they are actually bats hanging upside down!!! Bats fly in 50s ehn!

  11. Mondela

    November 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    He tried for makng an attempt…part of it made me laugh.But he missed the very important points,like the unique pidgin and how they form slangs,pepper rice,the dominance of landladies,the way the boys love jewelry(a regular benin boy might dress shabily but check out his watch and chains),every family having at least one person abroad,people being fetish/diabolical in the open,all commercial buses having loud speakers and so on…lool

  12. Brainstorm

    November 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    You guys are funny on this blog sha. You can say the list is not complete, but don’t say the things in the article are not true. They actually are. This was a good and funny read. However, things like unique pidgin, dominance of landladies should have made the list.

  13. Naija mayor

    November 24, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Everything this guy said is true! No work there at all. You will see young, educated, married ladies like you selling fabrics in the MARKET! and begging you to buy! Then after all your education, someone will tell you to try teaching job of 8k a month. If you’re “lucky”, you’ll find the one of maybe 30k in a “big” private school. Tufia! Where lawyers are paid 20k and hotel, shop and pharmacy attendants are paid 35k. Doctors are on strike every now and then. Which kain life? Ladies of the night are hustling their own. Regular guys are almost all into yahoo yahoo and a majority of them do yahoo plus. I don’t like that town for #5.
    Furniture business is true. He didn’t lie.
    Then bus driver business.
    Then ogboni people.
    Then haters and beefers that don’t like you because you’re fine. They can immediately spot you if you’re not one of them raggedy looking people.
    Then little school children that don’t know the meaning of respect; Having sex with one another as if it’s pure water.
    Irresponsible, drunk men having numerous baby mamas and refusing to cater for their children.
    They hardly help their relative. They want you to come and do househelp for them or lie down on the floor and beg them, hounding them, before they agree to remember you. Even at that, whoosai!
    The tori plenty. Let me stop here for now.

    On the other hand, there are those with oil company jobs o. But how many? It’s only NPDC that’s there. Then Warri, where there are oil coys is close by. People do the commute to the field in warri.

  14. Unibest

    November 24, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Spent 6 and half years in Benin and the article is true. The first time i experienced rain in my house and dry land in my neighbours house was surreal?To add to the above: women sell meat in the market,Benin buses have DVD players,Benin people are proud and loud. In retrospect i actually do miss Benin. Repping UNIBEN

  15. Oseyi

    November 24, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Benin, the town where you don’t need special clothes to go to church. On Sunday morning, no difference between a girl returning from a club and another going to church.
    Yes, to affordable places to buy clothes.
    Best ice cream from MATTICE…yay!
    Annoying red earth.
    Terrible flooding when it rains, you honestly don’t want to use public transport.
    Bats flying during the day, for real.
    Great people sha, I remember the town with fondness.
    Everybody can be called Osas.

  16. memebaby

    November 24, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    benin girl here!! born and raised in benin city till age 17!.
    this made me smile.. you know I never really visited places with my friends ( mat ice, going to photo studios to take pictures with friends, this was a big thing between 2006-2008, or just walking randomly with my mates) as my folks were over protective abi too strict lol

    Attended OLA and presentation national high..(presco) and attended mass at ST Paul.. I wonder if much has changed over the past decade.
    when I go back home Il definitely try to move around oh and eat pepper rice lol.. never tried that either

    • Miss_Flygerian

      November 25, 2017 at 4:26 am

      Presco babe in da building!!! I finished from Presco as well, class of ’09.

  17. OldMoney

    November 25, 2017 at 8:35 am

    100/10

  18. Kess

    November 25, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Hahahaha…. Very true… Born n raised in Benin city. Burials are called ‘obito’. Every family has someone in the abroad, there is always a small shrine at the back of the houses, landladies ?, our unique pidgin(when I speak pidgin people always ask r u a bini girl?) plenty markets, good and affordable private schools.they make the best chairs in Benin.

  19. Suwa

    November 25, 2017 at 10:10 am

    You forgot to add Igbinedion University. A private University located in Okada, about 40minutes outside Benin but the students come to Benin all the time because it’s the closest town.

    Also, there’s lots more to do on weekends besides burials. The number of event centres has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, so there’s birthdays, naming ceremonies and weddings galore as well. There is always a comedy or music show to attend.

    Then the clubs are always popping on weekends. Club Joker, Terrazzo, Dstrct, etc There are a decent number of lounges in b/c as well. Hexagon and Metro have great music, live band and good food. Crazy amount of hotels. We just don’t like to sleep in our own beds once it’s a weekend for some reason.

    Benin Club is members only but it has a great golf course, tennis courts, pool, relaxation areas etc as well.
    .
    Personally I haven’t seen the large number of furniture businesses and funeral homes the author wrote about and I was born and still live here. Woodworking and carving yes. Benin is well know for its artistry, especially bronze casting. Igun Street is the place to visit for that.

    Then we have the moats which is actually a heritage site… Large man made structures made to keep out the British way back when.
    This article isn’t entirely factual and left out a lot of things but I guess it’s based on his experiences here. But people that live here full time will tell you there’s lots more to do and see. It has to do with your particular social circle. As is true with most cities.

  20. Tessa Doghor

    December 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The author was pretty nasty and focused on the bad and the negative
    Without recognising the good…

    Without focusing on the flying things, Benin and Delta have produced some of the most honest, anointed men of God genuinely interested in your spiritual growth.

    Honesty is a scarce commodity and if the writer didn’t mention it, I would. They are some of the most honest, down to earth people the planet has even seen.

    • gbaskelebo

      April 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      So true about the honesty part.

  21. Terry

    February 7, 2018 at 6:51 am

    I would have said that Weekends are for Weddings but let me just allow Deltans to find out for themselves ?

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