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Gidi In Heels with ‘Layemi: 6 Types of Drivers You Will Encounter in Lagos



dreamstime_l_35469650A few months after I graduated from Secondary School, my father decided it was time for me to learn how to drive. I had just turned fifteen and I was definitely not eligible for a driver’s license but my father considers driving a life skill needed in case of emergencies. So one day while I was faffing around reading extensively on the courses I would potentially study at the university, he summoned me for my first driving lesson.

Before the lesson began, he told me there were three basic rules for driving:

1)     I was to resist the temptation to take any car in the house out for a spin when no one was home. He vehemently emphasized this point as he said it was a major temptation every rookie driver must struggle with, at some point.

2)      I was to obey every traffic rule whenever I drove as he had no intention of ever coming to bail me out of any situation when if I committed a traffic offense.

3)    According to my dad, the golden rule of driving in Lagos was that I was to always assume that I was the only qualified driver on the road and every other driver was a rookie. In other words, I was to make the judgement call and not to leave the responsibility of my safety in the hands of other drivers on the road, expecting them to obey traffic rules.

I cannot categorically say that I kept the first two rules, but the third one became real to me the very first time I found myself behind the wheels on a major highway…alone. I was so traumatized by some of the brazen acts of road terrorism and bullying that I experienced, that for months I refused to get behind a wheel.

Having now gathered years of driving under my belt, I have come to realise that there are six categories of drivers you will encounter on Lagos roads and you need to devise a means of how to handle each one of them (please note the names are not gender or tribe specific, they are just random names chosen for the purpose this article):

Slow Sally
Hmmmmm…Slow Sally will teach you the dictionary meaning of the word “patience”. She will slow down ten miles before every speed breaker, obey every traffic light (even the ones that are obviously not working properly) and she will not move past 40 km/h regardless of the acceptable speed limit on that road. Slow Sally’s window is always wound up, and she is always looking straight ahead. All efforts to honk your horn loudly, stick your head out of the window and yell are totally lost on Slow Sally because most times she doesn’t even know you are there…she always has her eyes on the road remember?  This is why I like Slow Sally, she is very focused *insert sarcastic smiley*. Slow Sally’s car is always the only car in traffic with no single dent or scratch.

Angry Andrew
Angry Andrew always has one hand out of the window, as though controlling traffic from inside his car. He can be seen occasionally sticking his head out of his vehicle to yell at everyone from the ‘gala sellers’ in traffic to the driver in the car next to him. Angry Andrew will not let you overtake him on the highway and he will not let you get into his lane in traffic. Angry Andrew is always angry and we don’t know why. Please don’t be like Angry Andrew.

Judgy George
Judgy George is the guy who plays the witness role in every showdown on the road. He can be seen giving a blow by blow account of every incident. He is the guy who slows down to pass judgement on every situation confirming who exactly the villain and the victim was in every road side drama. He is also often seen sticking his head out of his window to give live commentaries to other drivers on the road.

Mr. Flash
This is the person in the bullet proof car with tinted glasses and a customized plate number. You can hear him coming from miles away, thanks to the sirens blaring to announce his presence. Mr. Flash might as well be a superhero with the ability to make time stop because everything comes to a standstill while Mr. Flash manoeuvres his way out of the congested traffic… and just like that he is gone… in a flash!For every Mr. Flash convoy you encounter, there is a Mr. Opportunist who is not part of the original convoy but follows it very closely to get through the traffic. Please every time you spot Mr. Opportunist, don’t let him pass (Yes! Bad belle thingsss).

The Speed Racer
This guy just has a compelling need to test the capacity of his engine every chance he gets. He can be seen breaking speed limits on random roads, from major highways to tiny parking lots. We are still investigating why he is constantly on the run. Anyone who has a clue as to why The Speed Racer is always in a hurry may please solve this age old mystery in the comment box below.

The Jeun Soke Squad
These boys are the real MVPs of Lagos roads. The Jeun Soke squad is made up of Danfo drivers. There is a special driving school for the Jeun Soke squad. In this school, they are taught innovative ways of driving a bus; from how to drive a bus without head/tail lights to how to drive a bus with no doors or mirrors. They are even taught how to top up their fuel whilst in motion. There is also a voice coach at the Jeun Soke driving school that teaches them how to speak in the Jeun Soke baritone, as this is a key graduation requirement.

Now just as my father had his “Lagos driving golden rule” which he passed on to me, I have coined one of my own which I will pass on to my children as I teach them how to drive:

“Thou shall not argue with, try to overtake, or attempt to correct the behaviour of any member of the Jeun Soke Squad. For every Jeun Soke Squad member you attempt to take on, there are ten more lurking around willing to join the conversation. They are also known to have various sects that come to their rescue at such times, these sect members often drive equipment with two wheels (The Okada Movement) and sometimes three wheels (The Napep Tribe).”

What is your golden rule for driving in Lagos and what kind of Lagos driver are you? Please pick a team and be honest!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Layemi is a career woman, a writer and a relentless dreamer. She is an eternal optimist, hopeless romantic and an advocate for equity. She wants to be remembered for impacting the world and inspiring billions through her writing which she hopes will someday earn her a Nobel Prize in Literature. She occasionally tweets with the handle @luola12


  1. Lord deliver us

    June 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    My golden rule is similar to No 3 of your father’s driving rules, it is called defensive driving, I always assume that the person in front, beside and behind me don’t know the basic rules of driving so I ensure that I am not too close and try to second guess their next move. for those behind, there isn’t much you can do but to always make sure you don’t stop suddenly, your breaklights are working and pray. the day we will have less traffic and accidents is when we get rid of the Jeun soke squad.

  2. annonymous

    June 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Slow Sally but not @ 40 o!

  3. Dodoridodo

    June 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    For me its easy, leave very early and close very late…that way you avoid all the bruhaha

    • Ch

      June 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      @Dodoridodo, depends on how late you close and your route o. Mine is Ikorodu road and I dread the tankers and trailers at night too, cos it’s like they unleash them from 9pm. Only God helps one to drive with your sanity intact in this Lagos.

  4. Spunky

    June 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    As a rookie driver, I fell short in the mentioned rule no. 1. My parents and their friends had gone out and I remember falling to temptation to take the car for a spin. My dad always kept the keys out of sight so imagine my luck when I saw the key lying carelessly on his bedside table. I took my kid brother along and together we drove around. It felt good ( I never drove out except the occasional throttling forth and reversing back to same spot whenever I washed the car). I made sure to drive by every location I was known…lol! Then it happened! The car came to a halt and just won’t start. Had to get an electrician to try fixing it, for where? Motor no answer. I had a piggy bank @ home so promised to pay some random young guys to push it home( thank God we were close to the house). I jejely parked the car as it was and left the keys where it was…heaving a sigh of relief. Popsi and friends returned from the event they went for na so my kiddo open him small mouth dey relay the story to my people (plus the one when no follow) I felt like dying! In conclusion, he said ” and that is the end of my story”. Everyone cracked up and that line saved the day. We are all grown now and when I see the man he’s become, I sometimes reminisce and replay that incident.

    Ps. I am a very “angry Andrew”!

  5. Lola

    June 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I am currently a speed racer, aspiring to be a Mrs. Flash! Hilarious article by the way.

    • Amy

      June 30, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Very hilarious indeed can’t stop laughing, lots.

  6. Call Me Gorgeous...

    June 29, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    All I know is that i have road rage…:(
    Reason i don’t drive in the “abroad””..
    Not sure i’am willing to part with USD100 like that…

  7. Mina Martins

    June 29, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Hahaha! Hilarious article and I totally agreed, but let me add one more.

    The Suicidal Sammy

    Whenever you come across this one on the road, you just know that the only reason he is behind the wheels that day is to end his life. He overtakes without thinking, swerves like a maniac, ignores traffic lights and speeds through without a thought as to whether or not a vehicle is near, I am sure he think his indicator light is just some toy because he turns left/right without signal. Woe betide you if you so much as find yourself strolling in his path. I believe the Okada Movement propagate this kind of driving. Let’s all hope he finally kills himself before he gets the chance to take others with him.

    Nice work Layemi.

  8. Chi

    June 29, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I am definitely a “Slow Sally”. I started laughing the minute I read this- fits me to a “T”. No dents or scratches whatsoever on my car. My motto when driving is “there is no hurry in life” …Still laughing….

    • Lucia Leoso

      June 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      We are both on the same boat… way to go slow sally

  9. Chuck

    June 29, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Very funny. How about the ones that have loud music on in their cars as though there are in a club…. I guess they fall under Jeun soke

  10. Lucia Leoso

    June 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I went from being a speed racer to slow sally in a space of one month. One failed brake on the express way reset my driving mentality sharply. Slow Sally all the way its a lot safer…

  11. abby

    June 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    lol.. i enjoyed this.. i belong to the “slow sally” team

  12. el patron

    June 29, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    quick question do we have speed limit in lagos, if so i know we dont abide by can the police even enforce it..they gat no speed guns.
    i drive with my emotions, sometimes its need for speed mode, sometimes its just go on mode.

  13. Ayor

    June 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Mehn this article made my day. Thank you ‘Layemi & Bella Naija. So funny exp Slow
    I believed am Mr Opportunist.. when it comes to driving lol #dontdull

  14. tamy

    June 29, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Hahahahaha @Mina Martins had a similar experience jst dat unlike u I didn’t go outsyd d compound and I managed too break the headlight and dent the bonnet and the garrage pillar(still dnt knw how all that happened)…Am a speedy racer,tho am quite careful,am not really responsible for all the dents on d car 🙂 hopefully wwhn I get my own car i’ll lrn to b slow sally

  15. Syvanti

    June 29, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I must have multiple personalities cos I’m definitely speed racer (in Lagos yeah right but I really manage it) and angry Andrew mostly thanks to the Jeun Soke Squad and the Slow Sallys who seem to always think the fast lane is for crawling. News Flash lady/dude, see that lane on the edge of the road, IT’S ALL YOURS (I’m so sorry, that was angry Andrew….jeez). Maybe avoiding the jeun soke squad and napep tribe (location dependent) will turn you into determined Debbie (the best driver on the road cos everything is on point. Mad driving skills, road knowledge, ability not to react to provokers (my new name for both jeun soke and slow Sally) and the super hero ability of never backing down from LASTMA, VIO and Road Safety.

    My road rule is simple, for sanity sake, get off the road as quickly as possible.

    P.S. add determined Debbie and the Foot nation who with their leggedes benz insist on crossing in front of you and at night are only visible as moving feet. God help the naija driver!!!

    Great article, ok bye…..

  16. ty

    June 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

    i am a mixture of all …depending on my mood and how loud the music of my car stereo is?

  17. ty

    June 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

    ok except mr flash and probably jeunsole squad

  18. EVRA

    July 1, 2016 at 10:47 am

    nice article….
    however, you forgot two groups
    1. Talkative James
    he is always on the phone while driving. the call is more important than the steering.
    minutes after the traffic light has changed to green, he is rooted to same spot cos he has probably forgotten he was in traffic…
    everyone has to honk conistently and simultaneoulsy sprinkled with swear words before he remember to turn on his ignition and drive……
    you dont want talkative john in front of you during a rush hour island traffic on a Monday morning.

    2. Hungry Jumoke
    hmmmm i admit…i am a hungry jumoke.
    in this group, we must buy something in traffic and we dont mind waiting to collect our change even though those behind might be blaring loud horns to call us to move…
    however, empathy doesnt allow me speed off and make the innocent hawker to sprint 200 metres simply because i want to buy a bottle of my favourite teem and gala….

    • Becky

      July 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      “@Hungry Jumoke, 90k is waiting for you, pls fast when you are tempted to buy in traffic.

  19. Jide Akin-Williams

    July 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    i don’t know if this falls under this article but you know there are some unfortunate souls in danfos and marwas that always feel the need to comment. After warning d driver of the marwa severally to be careful (a warning he carefully ignored), he eventually had his way with my car, i got down after blocking him and every other vehicles behind me to treat his @*#k up. Turns out that you never win with those guys oo. The passengers almost had me raw. the driver was pleading, the passengers were insulting. in my head, it was a script. i’m still pained ooo. dem chance me mehn. Please i want to use this medium to reach out to the minister of transport to place a ban on any form of public transport. they are the only problem we have in Nigeria. Please ban anything black and yellow.

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