It was another Wednesday morning, all dressed up in my suit and tie…
Scratch that, this is not some Afona kinda rap skit or Obiwanne and Hilda singing Maroon 5’s she will be loved under the rain kinda stuff. This is real shii that happened!
Back to the matter.
I once tweeted that most Lagos drivers are mad. That’s a fact, especially those that ply Iyana Ipaja – Abule Egba axis. Even if you ain’t mad, with time you’ll just have to learn how to be mad for your own survival.
I won’t even bother whining about the horrible roads and hold ups. It’s almost a year now in Lagos for me. I’m used to it already. I remember those times I kept complaining about the traffic on bbm and Makua kept telling me to shut it. Imagine? That small pikin, even my younger sister is older than him. Guess love truly covers multitude of sins/crimes. Him for don chop better slap by now.
This Wednesday morning I left my house say around 5:30am as usual, got into a bus which later diverted into a street to avoid the building traffic on the express way. Lagos network of roads is so foolish, I swear! The driver would take a street, drive so far into the street, take so many turns, you’d think you’d burst out close to the border of Lagos only for you to burst out on the express way say four junctions ahead of the one the driver diverted from. Total waste of fuel. And the street roads are so bad, you’d end up having body pains.
Benin city still has the best network of roads in my opinion, just take one street off the main road at Ring road, next thing you know, you are coming out by Uwasota.
Anyway back to my story, the bus diverted and the mad driver was on top speed. Next thing I knew, my bus rammed into the back of another bus, and gbam! We were in a gutter.
It felt like a Nigerian movie; you know the way accidents are portrayed. The camera starts swaying and the occupants all moving from side to side and then an abrupt stop. All that happened. We the passengers were all tossed from side to side with our body parts hitting the damn iron seats!
Another thing I don’t get. Why on earth are the seats of Lagos buses made of wood and iron? Why? Why? Why?*sheds a tear. In Benin, you get to see couch as chairs with good foam. You can even lounge in the buses, listening to correct jam the driver is blasting. Sometimes you even begging him to reduce the volume. But in Lagos, if you manage to see a bus with a radio, na yoruba song them go dey play. Pathetic I swear.
We all got down from the bus which was now half hanging inside the gutter, stretching and looking for injuries. I felt fine and okay. It was just the guy who sat in front that seemed badly hurt as his head hit the windscreen and cracked it. Ouch!
The conductor refunded our money and I had to wait some minutes before getting another bus. Thank God for safety and life.
When I got to the office, I realized I actually had bruises on my right hand and a swell on my right leg. Cleaned them up and applied robb. At close of work after the day’s madness I felt a pain on my left ankle, raised up my trousers and then saw it was really swollen.
All I wanted was to get home and rest, little did I know more Lagos bus drama awaited me. I got a bus at Ikeja Along bus stop. There was a bit of traffic on the express road. The young driver diverted into a street despite warnings from most of the occupants of the bus telling him to follow the express way.
Soon enough we realized the bus wasn’t in good shape as the two kid conductors needed to push the vehicle back to life each time the engine went off. One of the kid conductors collected fares from the passengers. Of course, he didn’t say ‘pay your money’ he spoke yoruba like they all do. Why do yoruba people just go about speaking their language to anyone they come across? Why do they feel everyone is yoruba? So annoying!
You’d talk to an okada man in english and he’ll reply you in yoruba. Nonentity! Mtcheeew. There was a day in a bus, one conductor kept yelling ‘owo da’ (i.e – your money) to a passenger. The guy understood but kept quiet. The conductor got angry after his several calls of owo da, and then angrily said ‘oga give me your money jare’. The guy looked at him and said, ‘you for nor ask me in english na, you people act as if everyone is yoruba. From my side owo na soup. I nor get soup to give you’. I couldn’t help but join other passengers in laughing.
Anyway this kid conductor took our fares and refused to give us our change even though it was obvious he had change with him. We kept on going, the driver doing his best to mange the ricketing bus through the inner streets filled with pot holes. The bus came to a final halt midway. The driver picked a tube from his side, said he wanted to check his fuel level. Trust yoruba people, they started complaining and insulting him. *sigh…they can complain and insult for Africa ni!
The kid conductors alighted and joined the driver at the back. After a minute the passengers started to come down too, by now the kid conductors were no where to be found. After say ten minutes of arguing with the driver it was obvious he told the conductors to run away with the money so they won’t refund our fares. That’s how I lost N500 that day. The driver thought he was smart, but trust Lagosians…
I was amazed by what happened minutes later. They argued with the driver for over thirty minutes telling him to call his conductors back but he kept denying that he told them to run, rather they had even stolen his money as he didn’t know where he would see them. Obviously he was lying. I looked at my phone, (I am not a wrist watch person) the time was about 8:30pm. How do I get another bus from this odd place? That was what was on my mind, but being scammed by two kids wasn’t funny and that N500 did pain me. But getting home in time was more important.
It dawned on the passengers that it was a lost cause, the conductors were somewhere hiding with their money and the driver had no money on him either. They searched the vehicle for money but found none. They weren’t leaving the driver to go free, they had to get their pound of flesh. One guy took out the battery of the bus and walked off. I stood amazed. The young driver wailed but couldn’t resist the guy. A woman angrily took off the bus’s two front wipers. Another guy took the knack sap sprayer that was in the bus. A guy took the jack from the boot. This was justice being done. The driver started to plead and cry.
The more he cried, the more irritated I got. Three kids think they can just pull a stunt like that in a bus filled with adults? Dem nor born them well.
A guy borrowed the jack from the guy who was about leaving with it and used it to smash the headlights of the bus, making sure even the inner bulb were not spared. I wanted them to even smash the windscreens, till a guy said the driver was evil as he had put unnecessary expense on the owner of the vehicle. He would run away and leave the vandalized car for it’s owner.
It took me thirty minutes to get another bus. At the junction where the ‘new’ bus joined the express way, the driver parked for passengers to alight, and that’s when another drama ensued.
He refused to pay the abgero boys their due. They ripped his door off as he was about driving off. I spent the next thirty minutes watching him fight with them.
Did I mention I had stomach upset that day? I was there dying in pain as my stomach was rumbling. The fight was settled and we continued the journey. At Abule Egba junction, the driver took the u-turn and drove backwards the way we came instead of dropping us off before turning. I looked back at the woman who entered the bus with me from the initial bus where my money was stolen.
She returned my gaze, shook her head and said today na today. I was too weak to complain, I just got down, crossed the road, walked some distance before taking a final bus to my junction.
Thankfully there was no more drama. I finally got home in due time and into the bliss of releasing myself. Sometimes the toilet can be the best part of your house, if you know what I mean…hehehe