This beautiful Saturday morning (aren’t they all beautiful?) I spent 45 minutes in Obàléndé waiting for the Bus to Berger to fill up. When it was finally full, the conductor sauntered over and proceeded to collect his money.
“Oga, you no fit collect money for road?” a man on the third row grumbled.
“Na for road I go pay Agbèrò?” The conductor retorted.
“So you knew that one since, you come just dey collect money? Someone from the back row said, disgusted. At this point, I knew how the drama would go, probably ending in a I-no-get-change argument. I was about to plug in my earphones to drown out the noise when one madam beside me upped the ante.
“Oníìranù, the time him suppose dey collect money, na that chingum geh him dey chase up and down! “ she said drawing out a long hiss.
“Na ya business?” Oga conductor challenged, stopping in his collection to face off the woman.
“Abeg dey collect your money dey go, this heat too much nah!” another passenger said.
“Abeg make I fire am! Abi you no hear the nonsense him dey talk?” Oga conductor asked.
“Ehn dey collect your money as you dey fire am nah!” the passenger said.
“Woman wrapper!” madam hissed.
“You dey jealous?” Oga conductor fired back.
“God forbid! Na your kind me I dey follow?!”
“Why you no talk nah, I for come toast you join.” Oga conductor said eliciting a few titters from other passengers.
“You don dey crase! Olòshí!”
He finally finished collecting the money and we left the park. Thank God!
The next sign of trouble was when the engine started to cough like a nicotine addict.
“Oga, this your moto go reach so?” someone asked.
“No worry.” Oga driver said. “Him dey kamkpe!”
“Abeg, if he no go reach, make we come down oh!”
“Come down for where? When I don pay for garage already!” Oga conductor retorted, ready for another fight.
“I say him dey alright, he just dey warm up!” Oga driver reassured.
That’s how we left Obàléndé and climbed on top 3rd Mainland Bridge with our kpa-ka kpu-ku bus. The thing would go kpa-ka kpù-kù, kpa-ka kpù-kù, ó-tó-gé (I swear, the groans of that engine sounded like it was saying just that, true!), then we would go vroom vroom vroom and then kpa-ka kpù-kù over and over again. I reckoned sometime this century, we would sha get to Berger.
We were fine and dandy for a while. In fact, after you settled into the engine’s rhythm, it actually started to lull you like a child’s lullaby. That was until it started to rain and we found out that our kpa-ka kpù-kù’s wipers didn’t work. And oh, Oga driver was as blind as a mole too.
Unfortunately for me, I was in the first row, behind the driver, so I saw everything in HD.
“Oga, you no get wiper?” the lady in the passenger seat asked alarmed.
Oga driver ignored her.
“Abeg stop oh!” she said.
“Stop for where?!” Oga conductor who’d been spoiling for another fight demanded. “Abi you no see say nah for 3rd Mainland Bridge we dey?”
The fortunate souls in the back seats were still blissfully unaware of the wiper shebang and found something else to fight the conductor over.
“Oga, this your bus dey leak oh!”
“Abeg close your window jàre, rain get enter!”
“Na Sharatin you think say you dey? “ Oga conductor retorted forgetting madam in the front seat for the moment.
“Don’t mind them. They will be collecting money, they won’t use it to fix their vehicle. “ One woman said in disgust and other passengers agreed with her.
Ha, if they only knew! There were way bigger issues than leaky roofs on ground!
Consequently, the other passenger in the front seat became the Navigator and Oga Conductor the right side mirror.
“Small-small.” Navigator said, motioning with his hands.
“Your side.” Oga Conductor said.
“Peeeem-peeeem!” The Corolla to our left said.
With that brilliant plan in place, we made it to Ìyànà Òwòrò in one piece. Barely. Next issue was the line of tankers and trailers joining the Berger bound traffic from there.
“We no fit stop for here?” madam in front asked hopefully.
“Madam, nothing do you. Your side!!” Oga conductor said.
By this time, the fighters in the back seats had found out about our precarious situation and had sobered up. Well, sort of.
“Oga, you no dey see? You wan jam trailer? “
“Lord have mercy!”
“Kai, I don enter this one oh!”
“I for no enter road today oh!”
As if to add it’s own voice to the melee, the rain started to come down even harder.
“There’s a tanker in front! Small-small. “ Navigator said and Oga driver stepped on the brakes.
“Not so hard!” Navigator gasped and we all screamed as we were thrown forwards like rag dolls.
In response, Oga driver stepped on the gas and we were all thrown backwards. I cannot write the sort of colourful language that followed. Ah, I fear that I’ll be corrupting the eyes of Nigerians if they had to read it on here!
In the midst of that drama, something let out a hoot that almost had me peeing my pants and all hell broke lose.
“Ah, trailer dey your right!”
“Your side! Your side!”
“Ah, Jesus I am dead!”
“Oga stop this bus oh I wan come down.”
“He dey your side!”
“Na tanker oh!”
“Blood of Jesus!”
“Yéè mo gbé! “
“Orí ìyámi òh!”
Next thing, we hit a massive puddle and the sounds of the water forcefully hitting the undersides of the bus and the avalanche of water that hit us on all sides were the final nails in the panic coffin.
The type of mayhem that ensued was enough to cause even the sanest of drivers to lose control, not that ours was anywhere near sane to start with.
“Abeg please stop for Mobil oh, we cannot continue like this!” one passenger implored.
“Ah, we don pass Mobil since.” Someone else said.
“We don pass?! I think say we still dey toll gate oh!”
“Ah, toll gate ke?!”
For all we knew, we were already in Ìbàdàn sef!
“Na Òtédolá gate be that in front!” someone exclaimed.
I doubted it seriously but the thought of a safe place to get off was too good to pass off.
“Abeg stop make I come down, I no go Berger again!”
“I go waka the rest biko!”
“Why you wan get down inside this rain?” Oga conductor asked.
“You no see the nonsense your driver dey drive?”
“How? The guy dey alright now!”
My head did a 360 and I stared at the conductor in utter disbelief, like really?! That was when it really hit home that we were in the hands of mad men and I joined the crazy clamour for the bus to stop.
In response, Oga driver swerved to the right towards the bus stop without first consulting his Navigator and Oga conductor and he had his right side mirror clipped off by the tanker on his right.
“Yeh, go your side! Go your side!” Oga conductor screamed, not that Oga driver could have heard him above the panicked screams in the bus.
Oga driver swerved left and stepped on the brakes.
“No stop, no stop oh! Another one dey your back!” someone from the last row screamed.
We stumbled on until Oga driver finally brought the bus to a stop beside a dilapidated filling station. As soon as the bus stopped, frantic passengers spilled out into the pouring rain. Mehn, it had never felt so good to have rain slap me in the face, I was so grateful to be alive and in one piece!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime