Hmm, Lagos ! . Growing up and spending most of my life here, hard-coded my subconscious to think the “roughness” of our daily road activities is a good and normal thing.
My relocation to Ogun state and my first trip to Akwa Ibom state has greatly changed that mentality.Sanity should be the norm, not the high level of needless insanity we see everyday in Lagos .
I sat and pondered today, I remembered a very crazy experience that almost cost lives few years ago.
I was coming back from the Island, I had to make a stop at Mushin, I boarded a bus from CMS straight down to Mushin.It took a while for the bus to get filled up, it was not rush-hour, most people were at work.
I sat on the front sit, just next to the driver. He reeked of alcohol and Indian hemp(weed). The driver’s speed was scaringly excessive.
I kept giving him the side eye, because the speed was really uncomfortable.I think at a point, I said in a low voice, “Baba, small small”. With a straight, red-eyed face he ignored.
We were approaching Mushin so quickly and suddenly, it looked like it took barely ten minutes.
As we approached Mushin, a woman with a baby on her back, wanted to cross the road, other vehicles stopped for her, but our driver didn’t . Its was too late she was already in the middle of the road, going back was not an option, she ran faster as she crossed the road on sighting the crazy speed demon charging at her.
Yet he kept speeding forward , then in a split second, inches away, he slammed on his brakes.My heart pounded so fast, I was about to witness a mother and child getting killed. She increased her speed running forward, thankfully the bus missed her by what looked like one inch.
The relief in my heart, instantly turned to rage.I confronted the driver, a man most likely in his early or mid forties .
“Wetin dey worry you !!”, I blurted out.
“You no get eyes !!, you wan jam them !!”, I yelled.
With his bloodshot eyes, he yelled back at me, as he prepared to proceed on the journey “Se eleyi ya were ni” (Are you mad ?)
At this point, I wanted to back off, if you have seen these people fight before, its always bloody.Your natural instinct would tell you to withdraw.
I summoned up courage again, in a feeble attempt to confront him I said :
“Na God save you.If you jam dem, I go make sure you sleep for prison, you go go prison !!!”
Ironically, this incidence happened almost in front of the police station at Mushin.
A few more exchange of threats took place between us.Till I decided to keep quiet.
Its pertinent to note here, that while this exchanged took place, there was pin-drop silence in the bus. No other person spoke up.
Scenarios like this take place everyday in Lagos, what if that woman and her baby had died !. I could not get the thought off my head for about a week.
Don’t keep quiet when drivers misbehave. Challenge them !, caution them !.
Some drivers even have the effrontery to sip alcohol from sachets while driving .Yet no one speaks up for the rest of the journey.
Its even more annoying when the bus is filled with so-called “educated people” dressed in suits who don’t speak up.
This also reminds me of the lady that died a few weeks ago, when an okada rider stubbornly rode through a flooded road .
You are responsible for your life, and to an extent the lives of others around you.These attitudes from danfo drivers, have become normal because we let them become normal, because we kept quiet.
We need to stop keeping quiet.The status quo has to change, you have to change, we all have to change.
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