Episode 18 here
I have read so many “Bus Tales” episodes on this series and I think it’s time to write my bit from the driver’s perspective.
Um, after hustling for a paid job for two years at the end of my NYSC, it occurred to me that my second class upper was seemingly not good enough for the available or sorry non available jobs. I engaged myself in all manner of odd jobs to raise money and after seventeen months of back-breaking intensive labour, I bought a bus that I would use to ply the Oshodi-Agege route.
It was a beautiful day; the weather was fair and held promises of a good day for business. I loaded my bus at Oshodi garage and we set off on our journey to Agege. The first thing I noticed from my pilot seat was chaos going on in the middle seat. A well dressed official-looking gentleman was complaining about a market woman sitting beside him who had packed all sorts of dirty-looking, fish-smelling sacks haphazardly on her lap. In a matter of seconds, it had degenerated into a shouting match with all kinds of insults being hauled back and forth! The woman was cussing the man in “Igb-lish” (a mix of Igbo and English) accent and after much entreaties both parties shielded their swords but you could tell from the electrically charged atmosphere that all was not well.
When my conductor was collecting the fares, another shouting match ensued. There were two young ladies lapping each other, chatting lousily in Ajegunle-spiced pidgin. They asked my conductor rather rudely to take 130 naira instead of the normal 150 naira fare. I was very irritated, especially after I turned back to discover the ladies were using Bolds 5 and 6. How on earth would you be using phones with combined price of over a hundred thousand naira yet lap each other on a bus and insist on paying less, throwing in an attitude in the mix? Thankfully, a passenger helped them with the 20 naira difference and the matter was resolved.
As expected, we met heavy traffic from Ikeja Along and their were arguments in the bus about the government of Uncle Jona. These came with the attendant divergent opinions. A man from the back with a south-south accent cleared his throat noisily and bellowed ” these useless northerners are just making it impossible for my brother to govern”. “How so?” Another queried. “Boko Haram nau!” He replied in his “wisdom”. Another passenger chipped in “na BH make NEPA no work? Na BH dey take 40% of our budget in salary? Na BH do fuel subsidy? Na BH no ansa ASUU even after all these years wey dey don agree? Na BH dey thief oyel for south-south? Forget story my brother, this government be the “worstest” government I ever see or hear for my life…”
I just kept quiet after the outburst which in my opinion was a bitter truth especially coming from another south-south man.
Capitol road was blocked and the “blackberried” ladies were the loudest urging me to take a one-way route. I bluntly refused and another loud noise erupted from the back with some in support of me while others supported the lapping ladies. I held on, while some buses took the fast one-way. I was considering taking the one-way when a police hilux parked in the middle of the way blocking all the one-wayed buses. I was grateful I didn’t take the one-way and funny enough the ones urging me to take the one-way were the loudest in condemning the impatient one-way buses.