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Akpo Uyeh: Why Are You Running? Why Are You Running?



I am reminded of the saying: ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die” when people freak out at the slightest noise. A spark, a gunshot, an accident can cause a stir and make people run for safety without thinking twice.

Life is very precious, and it is just one life, so why won’t one cherish it? But wait…isn’t it a Nigerian thing? We run for our lives at the slightest scare.

Last week was quite eventful, and one of the events that was quite striking, was a fire scare. As I journeyed back home from a stressful day at work in a ‘danfo’ bus, the last thing on my mind was death; but what happened got me thinking about it.

While I was engrossed with the soothing music from my headphones, the conductor was busy ‘shadowing’  his passengers. The bus seat that was designed to accommodate four people, had five of us packed together. To make matters worse, the fat man beside me sat with his full weight, spread his legs wide and arms like a king on his throne.

“Oga, please adjust… “I politely said to him, hoping he would do the needful.

Thankfully, he adjusted a bit and a bit I heaved a sigh of relief. The journey home inside the bus was meant to last 45 minutes or so. It was not so comfortable but I decided to endure.

Then, traffic showed its ugly head and the bus got quite stuffy. The bus made a turn into a dusty road to beat this traffic, and from nowhere we heard:

‘Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!”

That was how everyone started scampering without verifying the cause for alarm. There was no time to form James Bond moves or act CIA agent.  It was quite a struggle to get out of the bus, passengers were pushing, jumping over others. Those who were impatient sought another alternative, and flew out through the bus window!  The conductor of the bus was the first to run for his life. He left his passengers to sought themselves out. And where was I during the whole incident? Still inside the bus? Your guess is as good as mine.

It was later discovered that the supposed fire outbreak was a wave of dust. And where was the false witness? He had disappeared into thin air; otherwise he would have received the beating of his life to reset his brain to stop playing pranks on people.

That’s how a bus loaded with people: both young and old,  got pranked.

As annoying as it was, it was funny. All passengers re-entered the bus after confirming that they were fooled and we started laughing at ourselves.

This reminds me of two other scenarios. One was during my undergraduate days. I was in the company of my course mates,  chatting all the way as we headed for lectures on the popular tech road in University. The next thing, we saw a group of students running towards us. Without thinking, my friends and I followed suit. We all ran for our lives without asking what was going on.

Different things came to mind that suggested worst case scenarios. Who knows maybe the lion in the zoo had escaped? Or were cultists displaying? Did a masquerade go loose?  These and many more worst imagined scenarios crossed my mind at that instant.

It was embarrassing when we later discovered that they were running because they wanted to get the available limited seats in the lecture room. And my friend and I didn’t bother to know what was wrong, we just joined them to run away!

The other scenario was on day one at the Lagos Fashion Design Week show. During the introduction of one of the designer’s collection, the lighting started to spark. While I was still observing and trying to understand if the situation was very critical, my colleague had already disappeared. Funny enough, we sat at distance from the stage where the lighting was sparking. So if it was going to be so bad, the people close to the stage were likely to be much affected. But those of us that were far off were the ones to ‘pick race’ first.

As the lighting continued to spark, the hall started getting scattered with everyone trying to get out at the same time. Few minutes later, it was announced that the lighting issue, which was a minor issue had been sorted out. So I picked my phone to call my colleague to inform her. Imagine! She was already outside the venue by the gate, ready to go home. According to her, she couldn’t risk her life for her job, when she had a loving family and glorious future!

Life is precious. Nobody wants to die yet we desire to go to heaven, true! How about understanding situations before following ones impulse? Sometimes, the very things we run away from could be endangering. Other times, it might just be a charade! What do you think?

Photo Credit: © Ammentorp |


  1. Weezy

    March 21, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I heartily disagree, although I found your piece amusing. One of the best things about Nigerians is that we run first, ask later. I’ve never understood American films where the San Francisco bridge is shaking and there are loud sounds, but people are coming out of their cars to look at the giant ape.

    If it is minor embarrassment you’re afraid of, then I feel sorry for you when there is a major crisis. Everyone would have scampered. You’ll be standing there asking the dust Na lion? Na terrorist? Na fire?

  2. Billionaire in grace

    March 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Your story made me laugh ???? actually the part where it was a false alarm

  3. Benbella

    March 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    People run because life has no duplicate o. He who runs away lives to run again another day (well except for runs girls).

    As the lyrics of the song by Craig David go: “I am walking away from all the troubles in my life”. If he were Nigerian, he would soon find out that “walking away” is not enough.

  4. Ojuolape

    March 21, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    This piece is da bomb! Read it in my office and just laughed like a complete idiot (not a partial one o)! You made me lose my senses temporarily. Thank you. Will be looking forward to your next piece! Make me laugh again, Deal?

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