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Eniìtàn: Life of a Lagos Commuter on a Rainy Day! Here’s How My Ride from Obalende to Berger Went

Temi Phillips

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dreamstime_s_10336525This 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? “

“Oritse gbàmí!”

“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

I’m an Engineer, trained to build robots but I would rather write about humans. I’m a Project Manager by day and a Writer by night. I’m Eniitan and you can read about my non-robotic humans at www.eniitan.com Follow @eniitanstales

36 Comments

  1. Sade

    May 23, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Some of the vehicle should not be on the road again,while most of the drivers should frequently be tested for substance abuse,and too much alcohol consumption.

  2. Tutu

    May 23, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Lol. Nice write up. ‘Twas like I was there with you. I know that route very well, so it made sense to me. Thank God you’re fine.

  3. Akanke

    May 23, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    ????????… so funny and so true! Danfo drivers in Lagos… chai.
    I try not to use the express to Berger too. I will rather cut my journey into parts and use ojodu Berger route. Once i hear Berger Straight I ain’t entering.
    Can’t coman scatter my body in front of otedola estate.
    Pele oooo. Ku oro Nigeria. E go better. Big hug from someone that was in a bus and the brake stopped working ?.

    • Eniìtàn

      May 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Rotfwl @ Can’t coman scatter my body in front of otedola estate!!! 😀
      Yes oh, a ku oro Nigeria! From one crazy bus survivor to another, Oluwa l’olusho aguntan wa!

  4. Spunky

    May 23, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    This is really good.

  5. Californiabawlar

    May 23, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Just the headline alone gave me terrible flashbacks ???

  6. Tracy

    May 23, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Brilliant writing, had me in stitches

  7. Xxander

    May 24, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Lol

  8. Allie

    May 24, 2016 at 1:37 am

    ???????? Eniitan! You had me laughing so much, I almost woke my kid. Glad you could find the humor in the situation.

  9. SB

    May 24, 2016 at 2:48 am

    I remember vividly I used to ply that route,with my office shoes in a bag.. And flat slippers on my feet from obalende….I can imagine what the poster went through. I GOD all glory for changing my story…. Oluwa modupe. Moyin o

  10. Eve

    May 24, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Looooool… Such a funny, inciteful writeup. I havent been in Nigeria for a while and that just reconnected me to all the struggles of an average lagosian. Through it all, we always find the humour in every situation and we are always grateful. I miss Naija soo much.

  11. Grace

    May 24, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Very true. I wasn’t there but I know how it must have played out. Most public transporters have no iota of care for the welfare of their passengers. They’re only interested in the money. I pray that one day a civilised transport shuttle company comes up & that more people will buy cars, these local ones will beg for passengers, no matter how cheap they are & they still won’t see.

  12. Samuel

    May 24, 2016 at 5:37 am

    The very reason I don’t like Lagos state. I could live in Ibadan but Lagos is a big No for me

  13. Emmanuel

    May 24, 2016 at 5:49 am

    You’re an amazing writer. Enjoyed every bit…

  14. DAME

    May 24, 2016 at 8:24 am

    God knows thats why if i want to go out when am in lagos on leave i either enter BRT BUS…(The new ones) or enter cab or stay in my house. After being flung out of a bus from on the lekki to Ajah Mkt route…my huge scars are a constant reminder of the madness of the lagos danfo/yellow buses.
    Thats y i like my abyja biko….cab cab cab cab cab and now…drive ya own

  15. Sai sai

    May 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

    This is one of the most interesting write up I have read in bellanaija..will sure look out for your subsequent write ups. .I felt like I was inside the bus with you..especially the part where you said you were thrown forward,lol I swear it happened to me too..
    The last time I was in lagos, I had to go Bruce Lee style while jumping inside the moving bus, what was I thinking?I ended up tearing my precious bag and bruising my knee..at first I was forming gentle, everyone even the good looking girls were jumping inside bus..who gentle don epp?

    • Eniìtàn

      May 25, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Hahahahaahaha @ Bruce Lee style! No fine geh for Lagos oh, you gas to jump bus! ;D

  16. Moyo

    May 24, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Good article, it was a graphic account. It was like I was in the bus. Well done Eniitan. I thank God you came out safely.

  17. Tincan

    May 24, 2016 at 9:25 am

    You just gave me some medicine for my soul. I loved it.

  18. Ada nnewi

    May 24, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I’m actually crying from the laughter i just laughed…. I.m so bookmarking your article…

  19. Berry

    May 24, 2016 at 9:48 am

    God, Tears were dripping off my eyes. Amazing write up!

  20. Taffy

    May 24, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Excellent piece! My sides still aching from laughing!!!

  21. Strit Kredibility

    May 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Enitan double ‘twale for you. Growing up i had a favourite column in Vanguard Newspaper called Sketches written by Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede of blessed memory and later years i read and still read Bus Stop Parliament in the same Newspaper started originally by a veteran Nollywood actor i can not now recall his name. These writings were served on a plate of satire and laid on a platter of wit with well syntax-ed grammar you cant help but giggle and awe all through. It captures the humour, frustration, survival skills of the Nigerian in their day to day quest and commute.
    Enitan you brought back that same feeling of reading the Pros., well done, May your Eleganza biro not dry of ink. Owo yin a ma r’oke o. Bus commute in Lagos is an epiphany for many, it changes lives more than anything.

  22. nne oyibo

    May 24, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Lolss, this really made my morning. On a different note, your profile says you are a project manager and it got my attention. I have been PMP for 5years now and have not done anything professional with it. This employers seem not to be impressed with it?. Anyways i will love an opportunity to do all your dirty work if possible, even without pay. I am hardworking, focused and self motivated. You can reach me on [email protected] com if you dont mind an assistant.

  23. glow

    May 24, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I laughed from the beginning to the end…was even rolling on the floor, my chest aches ooh …very fuuny article that i can relate to …

  24. Somtoo

    May 24, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    wonderful narrative, Very graphic and humorous. I was just smiling all through

  25. shield

    May 24, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Hmm I can sooo related to your experience. I was in a bus going to Ketu from Barracks and at Ojota, while our bus driver was dragging road with a trailer, it hit him a bit. That was how the guy did not continue to Ketu anymore. He started chasing the trailer all the way up the bridge linking the Lag-IB expressway. The trailer was on speed and swerving anyhow so our driver would not be able to block it. See shout, fear, prayers, kai, at one point, one woman was begging the driver not to sacrifice our lives cuz of his dented bus. This went on for minutes. Other road users were just staring at our bus moving at top speed with passegners shouting gor rer or ,,,
    Azzin who chases a trailer in Nigeria? Only a mad man!
    When we finally alighted, we were just thanking God…

  26. Chu

    May 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    This got me laughing, chased bus to Lag-Ib, my God, how did the trip end?

  27. Adaeze

    May 24, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Can’t stop laughing. God will help us o…

  28. Kismet

    May 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Chineke nna! I had this same experience on that Obalende to Berger route, was so bad that I had to take down the license number of that bus to make sure I never ran into them again.

    After the garage drama as usual, car refused to start and I was already contemplating alighting the bus, but considering how late it was I decided to just stick it out. Only for the bus to get on 3rd mainland and start swerving, I called on all the deities on this earth that night. After third mainland, I was rest assured I would need my father’s BP medication because the mad driver kept on swerving beside those monstrous trailers. After 2 excruciating hours imagining how my obituary would read, I took the risk and alighted some place before toll gate.

    Ehen lest I forget here is the license number (YA 579 AAA).

    • Eniìtàn

      May 25, 2016 at 8:41 am

      rotfwl!!! The “how my obituary would read” just killed me!!

      Psst, thanks for sharing the plate number ;p

  29. Godlovesme4me

    May 24, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Ohmygosh!! I laughed and laughed and laughed. I enjoyed reading this piece of yours Enitan. You got me cracking up non-stop and i could actually picture the faces of all the frantic passengers on the bus. Thanks girl for making me laugh…it felt good #fellowengineer

    • Eniìtàn

      May 25, 2016 at 8:42 am

      Doffing my hat, fellow Engineer 😉

  30. richard

    May 24, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    you’re a good writer. Pls keep it up. I also thank God for your life.
    Those guys are crazy

  31. Eve82

    May 25, 2016 at 6:34 am

    I have not laughed this much over an article in a long time. God bless you for this tonic! May your talent take you places writer!♡♥♡

  32. Ever Green

    May 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Recently, I remember the last time I went to MFM Prayer City after the end of the program I was in high spirit and trusting God for breakthrough, Naso I enter bus infront of the gate to Berger, the driver kon dey behave like Jackie Chan, most of the people in the bus were shouting : Driver stop we no go again, some were saying give me my change I no go again and another was almost saying catch fire and my heart almost came out of my mouth, whenever I remember that day I cant help it but smile and thank God for my life. Yeye reckless drivers plenty boku for this Lagos.

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