Today is one of those really rainy days, where you are not sure if to go to work with spare clothing because of the outpour. After braving the rain to get to the bus-stop, then the real drama begins. The actors include other persons on their way to work, those returning from ‘work’, those ‘working’ (pickpockets) as they go and of course the ‘agberos’ aka area boys …a constant in Lagos.
My colleague and I managed to find and settle into a bus after several failed attempts. Glad to be the lucky few, I allowed my colleague make the choice of which vehicle to enter. As the journey began, the conductor asked for his money…yes o! They claim it is their money, though it is in your hands. I brought out a N1,000 and he goes, “Driver, drop her now before we go far, I don’t have N1,000 or N500 change, everybody enter with ya change!” he continued for a bus that was already in motion. I simply ignored him.
You see, I was going to pay for my colleague and so had calculated that my balance would be N600 and that wouldn’t be so difficult to find. Thankfully, someone joined me in front and upon inquisition, he had change which I took from him and added him to the list of people I was paying for. I was about informing the conductor of this list and he says “Don’t talk to me.” I turned away and continued singing my song “Breathe” under my breath and nodding away. Then I said to the fellow beside me, don’t worry, he’ll soon come to me. Indeed, he did and was quite humble by this time. “Excuse me ma, the man behind says you are paying for him”, I responded in the affirmative and also paying for the man beside me.
Did I get my change? No! He held on to it though I requested twice for it. We got into traffic halfway down the trip, the bus engine went off, the conductor goes, “everybody, come down, I want to reverse”. Next thing he begins singing in a not too sonorous voice some pop local songs, feeling pleased with himself and went on for a while. I checked and found out there was a gaping hole in the place that once housed a radio. Some lady in the bus was about to pull out her earpiece, the conductor stopped singing and asked her why?
“I don’t like your songs and I want to listen to something else”,
“Don’t wear it, I will change the song” and he does to a worse one and the earpiece was secured in her ears. He went on to do a church song, which only he knew, we all began to laugh. He perched on me, “Madam, I will sing you a special song, 🎼 Come into my yoriyori ….etc I told him, let my husband catch you. No, my son, you will know yourself. Apparently the jean and funky natural hair had him thinking I was young and single. He left it and sang 🎼You are my African Queen. When he was done, he said, “Do you like it baby?” Hmmm.
He eventually gave me my balance at my bus-stop after the driver intervened by making change for him (which he could have asked for in the first place).
Another colleague gets to work later than usual and as I stepped into the office looking concerned if she had gotten soaked and had to go back home to change before coming, she asked if I had seen her text. I said no and she proceeds to tell me her encounter this morning of how she was about to enter an “Ilesha bus” (small 8-seater buses) and she felt restraint but entered all the same because she was running late.
According to her, the driver had mentioned his price for each stop, which is the norm in Lagos. But when the bus got to a particular bus-stop (Igbuefon), which charge was to be N150, the two young men that were to disembark had paid less than the amount. The driver got upset and angrier when the boys didn’t complete their money. Before anyone could gather their thoughts, he zoomed off to the next turn which was four bus-stops (Jakande) turned and went back to Ajah (where the journey first started) without dropping the boys or any other passenger.
Sadly, our office from Jakande was two bus-stops away. Despite all the protest, he refused to stop, to drop the legal passengers (that is those that paid the correct fare). Took everyone back to square one, dropped the boys at Ajah, told the ‘agberos’ (area boys or louts) to beat them up and zoomed off again without refunding their N200.
Phewww One drama too many. So now, when you are entering a bus, apart from praying that the driver has not taken a sachet of ‘something’, got his license legally, pray it is not this man’s bus you enter. A word is enough for the wise.
Photo: Southport School
@imanikel 181019 Frances Kelvin Otung