Posted by StreetWise in Latest NewsDaniel Light Ezekiel, 28, a vendor with the Big Issue Lagos in Nigeria, has literally walked crooked paths, even where angels feared to tread.
Torn between working in an ethnic militia force in the Niger Delta creeks with his peers and enjoying all the spoils that go with it, or choosing a more dignified life, where survival struggle is a metaphor of existence, he opted for the latter.
Determined to take his destiny in his own hands, Dan, as he is fondly called by his pals, left his homestead in Delta state a few years ago in search of greener pastures in the city of Lagos. He has survived by juggling different menial jobs like washing cars in the ever-busy traffic of Lagos, with its population of 14 million people.
As a vendor, his typical day begins at 8 a.m. “When I wake up in the morning after saying my prayers, I get prepared to go out and sell my Big Issue Magazine at the Stadium in Surulere. Depending on how I do that day – if I make sales I want to remain to make more but if I don’t – I usually sign off for the day around noon,” he says.
Much as he would have loved to market the magazine by moving around the Lagos metropolis, his bad leg, a result of childhood polio, has prevented him from doing so.
Besides being a vendor, he also keeps body and soul together by “Recharging people’s cell phone batteries under the Surulere Stadium Bridge. This helps to complement the times I don’t sell,” he explains.
Though the job of a vendor is not high-paying, Dan admitted that working as a vendor has its own benefits which cannot be quantified. “Now I can talk to people with renewed confidence. Also I now know I can do some other things I have not done before,” he says with enthusiasm.
He doesn’t see it as a lifetime career, however. “Yes I’m proud to be a vendor. But I know I will not do this job for long because I know what I’m looking for has not yet come. But being a vendor is certainly better than doing nothing at all.”
Dan, who also goes by the native name “Oghenemaro,” meaning “My God is great,” writes gospel songs and also sings.
“As a person that sings and writes music, one day I would like to see my music being played everywhere across the world,” he says, rather self-assuredly. His role models in music are Kirk Franklin and Don Moen.
Would he like to imitate any of these music greats? He answers deadpan: “No. I want to be myself.”
Written by Ali Smart,
The Big Issue Lagos – Nigeria