Benin – Why I prefer to stay in Cotonou




I have lived in the petit town of Badagry since my childhood. It is situated between Metropolitan Lagos, and the border with Benin at Sèmè. The Nigerian French Language Village (NFLV) is situated there. So, on one the vacations, I decided to go there to learn French. Taking trips to neighboring francophone countries was included in the school curriculum, so I took part.

Steinmetz avenue in Cotonou

Of all the trips I made, my preferred was the one to Cotonou. First, It’s closer to my home. So after my first degree, I decided to move to there to improve on my spoken French.

From Badagry to Cotonou is like an hour thirty minutes’ drive. The route is always busy because a lot of smugglers pass through it, but as soon as one crosses the border, the air is always different. One can almost immediately feel the serenity that reigns in this country.

I don’t know, probably it’s just me; I am in love with this place! Well, after studies, I had a choice. I could have moved up town in Lagos and had to face the hectic traffic and most likely end up being exhausted by the time I’m home.

I chose to live in an environment where the traffic is fair. This reminds me of when certain people complain about the traffic in Cotonou. I simply marvel each time. A trip to the Lagos Island is always like taking a trip outside the country. It’s funny someone who has likely taken a flight from Accra-Ghana to Lagos would have gotten to his or her destination, while the person in Lagos traffic is still stuck in there.

Maybe an experience on “Barrack-Volks” road (Lagos) will make them appreciate what they have in Cotonou, just like I do. It’s crazy! One could spend 4-5 hours on the road and sometimes even more. The bitter truth is that, it has been like this for years.

A Nigerian friend of mine who lives in Ghana once joked about it, she said:

 «one probably need not worry about going to do the market after work, in Lagos traffic you can get everything you need».

This is because so much time is spent in traffic, that there is time as well to buy from people who hawk food stuffs  and other household supplies.

As a matter of fact; almost every house has a generator in Lagos because of the black out which is the habitual thing. In the evenings, when people are back from work, generators are put on. You can’t imagine how unpleasant it is, in most cases, in the evenings I stay indoors.

Away from noise and air pollution, away from the hustle and bustle, back in Cotonou, the yellow street lights are always smiling at me. I am rest assured that each time I put on my TV it comes on, without the use of “gen”. It’s always good to get away from generator noise you know. The place is calm. It’s freedom, who wouldn’t say yes to freedom!

As time when by, I always found a new reason to like the city the more, or maybe be I’m yet to discover the reason why I ‘m in Iove with the City. 

Afolake Oyinloye

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3 réactions

  1. avakoudjo
    Le 11 octobre 2012 à 11 h 39 min

    I like it la comparaison ouvre les yeux ssur les bonus de cotonou

  2. Ayo
    Le 11 octobre 2012 à 12 h 16 min

    Lagos, une ville pas comme des autres!
    I think what makes Lagos, Lagos, is all you have described… the monstrous hold-ups, the noise of generator sets, the crowd, the rush, the noise of Okadas, the noise of car horns, etc. But there are other states in Nigeria that are more like Cotonou, where there is calm and serenity and life is less expensive… except for the 24 hour electricity part…
    But all in all, when you live in Lagos, u come out smart and strong! i hope that Lagos can be the mega-city Gov. Fashola would like to make it some day!
    Long live Lagosians :)

  3. gozo mareil
    Le 17 octobre 2012 à 13 h 21 min

    eh oui sans vraiment le paraitre cotonou est quand une assez belle ville ou on y vit dans la quiétude quand bien meme de plus en plus le developpement est en train de lui faire perdre sa beauté et son calme avec l’apparition de building ci et là et un trafic routier de plus en plus dense.