The following is an article written by actress, Mercy Johnson Okojie.
My picture and that of my daughter, Purity in a Lagos train has surfaced online and quite a number of people have asked me what I was doing in a train and in Lagos for that matter; not Paris or London.
I was around Iddo at Ebute Metta when my Range Rover developed a mechanical fault and I had to make a very important appointment in Ikeja, regardless of the usual traffic congestion in Lagos. Luckily, a member of my management team was around, he suggested a train ride and we were in Ikeja in less than 30 minutes. But that is not the crux of this statement.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have had to answer questions in private and public as to why I would board a train because trains in Nigeria are considered a means of transportation for the ordinary and not-so-rich people. A friend called and said I just devalued my brand by being on the train with ordinary people. I couldn’t help but laugh. Are we extraordinary people because we are celebrities?
In as much as I understand the concept of branding, packaging and exclusiveness, I will never trade the experience to sit, interact and feel the pulse of so-called ordinary people.
By the way, I am part of the ordinary people. I grew up as an ordinary person among ordinary people. Why would I avoid them now? Would that be because I am now famous? Without these ordinary people, how would I have been famous in the first place? Without the so-called ordinary people, where would Nigeria’s growing population of so-called well packaged celebrities be today?
For the purpose of clarification, I was not on that train due to lack of money to get a well packaged cab or to get somebody to bring another car from the house, but my car developed an unforeseen fault and I needed a fast, reliable and convenient alternative immediately, as there was urgent business to be attended to and I respect time a lot.
The train was available where I was; most importantly, I did not want to turn down the opportunity to be with the people who would ordinarily not have access to me. So I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and here we are.
I want to thank my co-passengers, officials of the train for treating me with absolute respect and courtesy, I am indeed very grateful.