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My experience with Island bus drivers

Before I moved into the real Lagos, I usually thought the term ‘Lagos Traffic’ was just an exaggeration. Have it in mind I grew up in Badagry. Life was easy, I mean no traffic of any sort. My parents practically woke up by 7:00 am or 7:30 am and still got to work by 8:00 am or 8:30 am. Badagry was just the life, peaceful, quiet, refreshing, nature-friendly and NO TRAFFIC.

Before now, I could be described as the average ajebo girl. This baby girl was used to the driver dropping her and picking her up for every occasion, no bike I couldn’t even climb on a bike to save a life, no kekes, no boarding of buses I had no idea how much the fare was from my house to the market.

Then I moved to Lagos, Island precisely for my Youth Service and the real life started. This real world didn’t even take it easy on me. It came at a full speed and just hit me in the face.

I stayed at Ajah and my point of duty was at Victoria Island. NYSC life was pretty easy my uncle’s driver would drop me at work I didn’t need to resume early and all of that. Then I went for my masters and got a job after and this was when I understood Island bus drivers thought differently from every other human being.

Have you ever imagined waking up few minutes to four, leaving the house by five, walking to the estate bus stop and taking a keke to Ajah. By now it’s already 5:30 am and the traffic is getting real. You board a bus from Ajah and the driver doesn’t even bother checking the condition of his bus, so his bus breaks down at the free toll gate.

Traffic is gangster already so you begin to trek and Lagosians in their car are not even nice enough to offer you a ride, in fact, they look at you somehow. Luckily, you get another bus along Chevron but the normal reckless bus driver imagines he is a superstar and drives into a ditch where the bus gets stuck. By this time you are just at Chevron bus-stop. Now you are considering turning back and going home to sleep but the diligent spirit in you keeps saying ‘don’t worry you can make it’.

It’s 7:40 am already and you are supposed to be at work latest 8:00 o’clock. Luckily, again you get another bus and your journey continues with the driver trying to cut corners in the deadly traffic. Then you get to Jakande and the slow conductor forgets LASTMA officials are regularly at alert at this busstop and is busy hanging at the door shouting (obalende, Falomo, Law school, sand fill) only to be blocked by LASTMA officials. If you have ever being held by a LASTMA official, I am sure you know sorry is forever your case and it would be advisable for you to just cancel all your plans for that day.

At this point, there was no need of me getting angry, so I sat in the bus laughing at myself and every other thing which had happened that morning. Again as God would show me his mercies I heard a bus shouting CMS I quickly got down boarded this bus, only for us to get to Lekki Phase 1 busstop, the driver blew my mind and said, “e bo le, mi o lo mo”. meaning everybody come down I am not going again.

It was 9:00am already I just stood looking hopeless and frustrated. The driver was kind enough to put us in another bus. As we almost got to my bus stop I began alerting the driver first gate o, first gate o wa o. I noticed the driver ignored until we got to first gate and he zoomed off like a passenger wasn’t going to drop. This time other passengers assisted me in shouting at him only for him to say ‘I know dey drop for there make you know shout for my head, I go drop you for second gate’ he dropped me at second gate finally, and I had to trek to get a keke to my place of work.

I got to the office by 9:30 am and the first thing that greeted me was my boss’s voice saying,  “are you not supposed to be at work by 7:00 am? What rubbish”.
My brothers and sisters, I didn’t even know when I broke down crying. Remembering all I had gone through that morning, I just felt like running back to Badagry.

BEST ADVISE: BUY YOUR CAR BEFORE MOVING TO LAGOS’ when I say Lagos I don’t mean Badagry Lagos.

Achoba Ojonugwa

Junior Producer at Thomson Reuters, TV Nigeria Theatre Artist Make-Up Artist. Lover of Entertainment (music) Down to earth personality

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