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Onyinye O: Driving in Nigeria Can Make a Saint Go GaGa!



“Ehhhh! Yes! Ehhh! Same to you jare! Rubbish! Abeg, get out jor. Ahn ahn. See this useless man o! What kind of nonsense is that?” Miss I-Always-Do-Right shouted out to a driver who had just driven off.

She’s had one hell of a day; work was stressful. She had an argument with the Bae earlier. It’s the end of the month, so no money (but her needs do not respect that) and this traffic drama just capped it up! Her bestie who’s been in the car with her this entire time but was on the phone throughout the ride just hung up! “Ah ah, take it easy now. Why are you shouting like this sef? You know we have mad people on the road now. What even happened?”

Miss B furiously replied “Didn’t you see what that useless man just did? He pulled up behind me o and kept horning for me to move and the traffic light was still red. Did I force him to stay behind me? Me I can’t beat traffic because of one rubbish person o. As he saw I wasn’t moving, he got out and was insulting me as he was going off. Nonsense!”

Oh well! That’s one of many many road stories. We all move from one place to the other by various means; taking a flight, enjoying the views of the seas when on a boat, hopping on a bus, boarding a taxi, driving ourselves and even getting on an Okada.

Even if you haven’t experienced transporting yourselves through any of such means (which seems almost impossible), you have certainly used a Legediz Benz at one point or another. One thing, we all can relate with, is the “madness” on the road! I’ve heard people argue countless time s- “Abuja drivers are the craziest drivers in Naija” and the other party is says, “which kain? You no dey stay for Lagos so no just open your mouth dey talk that one there.”Right now, I wouldn’t even tread on such dangerous grounds by attempting to dissect that angle; however, I might be taking bits and pieces from the Abuja madness because I can relate with it a bit more.

Just recently, on my way back from work, I was actually discussing this same issue with some colleagues and we couldn’t help but wonder and laugh at each other’s experiences. Fast forward 10 minutes after the conversation, I was approaching a traffic light (heading home) and this taxi driver just pulls up beside this lady – literally about to hit her car! I was so surprised and my mouth helped carry out the reflex action to express my shock- my jaw dropped!

And instead of this cab guy to be remorseful, he also opened his mouth too (imitating the lady) and then laughed and moved on! I’ve seen people scream at themselves from their cars, quarrel on the roads while throwing snippets of insults here and there, etc, and various reasons span across.

So for example, someone needs to take a right turn soon and is in the middle or left lane- s/he ought to indicate abi? Well, be that person to indicate first, then you’ll share the story on how people from behind suddenly started horning madly and speeding to overtake you – as though if they didn’t pass you at that very moment, they’ll die.

This same thing applies to getting into a line especially when there’s the type of hold up a friend of mine would refer to as the one that’s tying wrapper with gele (yeah, that kind of serious traffic). Sometimes, it just seems impossible. But for what it’s worth, some drivers would argue make their case and tell you that they are right and their reasons might probably sound legit.

Ordinarily, it would take Mr Calm who happens to be a taxi driver about 20-30 minutes to get to “town” when the roads are entirely free. Thanks to the heavy flow of traffic, it takes him maybe an hour or two everyday. Now, each time he has to go through this, he sits in his car feeling frustrated and “crawling” along with other cars as they move; sometimes, he turns on his car radio (Wazobia FM steady saving the day) to distract him from this reality and of course, feel the impact less. In all of these, he’s constantly thinking of his life and even more predominantly, why this traffic situation can’t be better. He’s been at this for years!

In the midst of all this, Mr Smart, who happens to be a working man on his way to work boycotts the line and shoots himself straight up from the tail back of the line to the very front by “creating” his own lane at the edge of the road and squeezing in. He gets there and is trying to manoeuvre his way into the line but everyone is keeping a stern face and following the vehicle in front of theirs “bumper-to-bumper”. It’s almost Mr Calm’s turn to break free and leave this “hopeless situation” and then Mr Smart just feels like he’s had to wait too long and wants to get in front of Mr Calm who was waited angrily but patiently to get to this point.

So what happens? The silent war battle begins! Mr Calm is saying to himself (in his head), “see this guy o! Where does he think he wants to enter? Certainly not my front. After suffering and waiting to get to this point, he wants to get in? Lai lai!”. On the other hand, Mr Smart is thinking aloud saying “Ah ah! What’s wrong with all these people? Can’t they just allow me rejoin the line in peace?” and he just goes on and on and on. His wife, who he needs to drop off is in full agreement with him and urges him on saying things like “honey, put your head before this one moves forward noow”.

So Mr Calm and Mr Smart have their own justifiable reasons why they behaved the way they did, yes? You know, in a bid to get to our destinations on time or maybe just prove a point on the road, most of us (if not all) have contributed differently to various things which contribute to this road madness. By screaming at the taxi driver to hurry up, telling the bus driver “abeg conductor! Dropping dey o. I no dey reach that front side. Wetin dey do you? I say park na!” – even when it’s not a designated bus stop. Sometimes it is by overtaking someone saying “what’s this person driving sef?” thinking the person’s pace is way too slow (and at the end of the day, the person ends up just beside you at the traffic light); even crossing the roads without thinking through it properly, beating traffic, banging loud music in our cars (that end up as a distraction sometimes), horning constantly, answering phone calls and even chatting while driving, throwing that banana peel out the window, poking out the bumpers of our cars into the road without caring about the oncoming vehicles (saying “they’ll wait jor. Me I’ve waited here too long. Ah ah. Will I sleep here?”) We all have a hand in it.

At the end of the day, all these have a ripple effect and area true reflection of who we really are. If only we constantly think “how does my current action or habit affect the next person being transported?” I guess things could be better.

I find people’s road rage experiences incredibly funny and interesting. Share yours below and let’s get talking on this.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Kiosea39 

Onyinye is a media junkie, beauty enthusiast, realist and aspiring team fitfam champion who glides through life believing that every experience is a learning curve. When she's not working, reading or sleeping, she's constantly typing away on her computer. Get interactive with her. Email: [email protected]. Twitter : @theonyinye. Instagram: @beautifulonyinye_.