A torrid tale.

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I.

The buzz of your alarm wakes you up at 5 on the dot, it is your first day at work and neither hades nor hell will make you fall victim of lateness. You mumble a quick series of “Thank you Lord” s, throw in a few requests for protection to and fro, divine favor in sight of your employers, and several other favors. You dash into the bathroom at quarter past five and get out five minutes after, with lines of water ambling down your body. You dry up fast, dress up even faster and by six, you’re ready. Your mother rains blessings on you and reminds you of one of Solomon’s sayings:

“A good name is better than silver.”

You dash out of the house at ten minutes to six, board a bike to gate, you have a wad of #100 notes in your pocket, you’ve collected them over the week in preparation for the ‘ko si change’ stories that everyone in Lagos likes to tell. If you are not wise in Lagos, you can’t be anywhere.

You take a danfo bus to Iyana-ipaja and your story begins from there.

II.

Lagos is unpredictable, but there is a level of confidence you exude when you are just a bus and a bike away from your place of work with two hours at hand. The bus should take 30-45 mins and the bike should take five, that’s an hour or less altogether, you would get to work one hour before work starts and make a good first impression. Or so you think…….

The chorus of ‘#300 Oshodi’ hits you like a hammer slapping the nail into a stubborn piece of wood, that is exactly twice your budget and just when you’re sure your wallet would definitely you hear another agbero yelling “Oshodi #200”. You don’t even bother to know where the voice is coming from before hopping in. The last seat in the BRT is taken by a robust woman and her very slim daughters just before you come in and that means only one thing; You have to stand through the ride or go look for another, you weigh your options and choose the better one, standing for half an hour shouldn’t be a bother, after all, you played ball for 45 mins just about a week ago and felt nothing, the only unfair part is that you would pay the same fare as those who are basking in the comfort of their seats while you’re leaning on the rods on the roof of the bus for support.

III.

After the bus is overfull, the BRT takes off, accelerates then swerves into a junction after moving at a steady pace for three minutes,

“Driver, where you wan pass”

An old but curious man asks with almost all the energy he has left.

“baba, na short cut”

The driver replies curtly,

“You know say today na Monday morning, express go don jam”

The baba nodded in faith.

An hour passes and the bus has barely left a spot, moving in circles. Passengers rage in anger and rain curses on the driver who gladly ignores as if nothing is happening. You stand there drenched in your own sweat, not knowing what to think.

A melody of lamentations plays out in the bus, people begin to compete to tell the saddest tale of woes: from the man who claims to have lost a 250 thousand naira contract to the young gorgeous lady, an assembly prefect in her school who has missed the assembly.

The bus finally arrives Oshodi at exactly 9:01, two and a half hours after leaving Iyana-Ipaja.

As you weakly alight from the bus drained of all the enthusiasm you left your home with, a question drops on your befuddled mind.

Who is to blame for the delay, the government who didn’t expand roads to accommodate enough transport network? The driver who made the wrong gamble or the passengers who didn’t probe his decision?

Share your thoughts.

Emmanuel Faith

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