So, I have been on a long hiatus with the Affairs post, and unfortunately, I have decided to end the Affairs series and start a new one soon.
The reason why is because I now reside in the beautiful city of Ibadan (Thanks to NYSC), and new changes means new stories to tell. I work in a military run secondary school as a school counselor, and I dare say it has been quite an adventure.
Where should I start giving you gossip from? Hmmm…
Let us start with Ibadan as a place before I get into the ‘other things’.
It is a really big city. It is so big that it has what I refer to as ‘Local governments in Local governments’. There is Ibadan North, Ibadan North-East, Ibadan South, Ibadan South East….and some others that I cannot remember right now which are like regions under these local governments, and these Local governments are quite distant from each other. For me, my life has circled around where I reside, University of Ibadan and Bodija. I should go out and explore but the problem is the next issue.
Unlike Lagos that has the big BRT buses and a couple of neat taxis here and there, Ibadan is not close to that. For me, luxury is when you can get on a bike to beat traffic or pay for a taxi on your own when the road isn’t so busy.
Let me break it down a bit more.
Ibadan is a commercial city. The area in which I reside has a major road that links up to another major roads that fuel tankers or food trucks or the regular civilian drivers going to other parts of the country ply. It is also a bus park for travelers going to places like Iseyin, Lagos, Abeokuta, Oyo town and so on. In fact, there are two bus parks. As Nigerians, you know how we do, wherever you notice a lot people go to, a market shall be created with little regard for health or life. Thankfully, the Oyo state government is rectifying the issue by creating and expanding the roads in that district to reduce traffic and possible loss of life. (God Bless You, Senator Abiola Ajimobi)
Now, here are my struggles with the public transport system.
It starts with when I decide to take a bus to another side of town for ‘business’. First, there is the crossing of the major roads and trying not to get hit by a car or a truck or a tanker. Crossed? Good. Then we walk to the bus stop and search/wait for the next available car to your destination. Due to the road construction going on, there is a lot of dust and noise from the caterpillars and other engineering machinery. The bus drivers are yelling out their terminus “Dugbe! Dugbe! Gbe! Gbe! Gbe! Dugbe!” or “U.I! U.I! Express! Bodija!’ The market women are yelling at themselves, their kids, their customers, the taxi drivers and okada men. Then some men are hollering at you “Baby! Faainne Geh! Omoge! Iyawo mi! AAAH! Aunty! Sister, you fine today O! See as you dey shine!” Sometimes, they even do beats for you according to your footsteps or nyash steps “Ehh! Ehh! Ehhh! GBOSA! (The Gbosa is for when you stop walking or sit on a bike) Gbam! Gbam! Gbam! Ti ti ke! Ti ke!”
I find my bus, and then seating position becomes the struggle. If you are lucky, you get to sit in front with the driver; preferably,or by the window. No qualms. You get fresh air; have a comfortable space to yourself and another individual who would pay you no attention.
Then, on some other days, you get the other seats. Now these other seats are not so bad. Especially if the bus is spacious, the humans inside are decent and the driver is cool tempered. The times when they are tiring is when you are unfortunate to be seated on the last row on a very hot afternoon, squeezed in between two big, most likely, sweaty women with hips for Africa; with one carrying a crying baby and the other, transporting food items like fish or tomatoes or onions or dirty dishes from food sales to another side of town. You can’t get down because you are in a hurry or…they have folded you in, so you continue with your journey.
With the Taxi drivers, their issue is CHANGE. The thing to note is that 80% of the time they do have change but they are waiting to give it to somebody better and more deserving than you. They first warn you before you enter their cab (It is most times said in Yoruba)
“I no get change O! If you no get, no enter”
Also note that if your money is torn, they will not accept it.
Yesterday, I think, was my unfortunate taxi day.
In the morning, I got into one to work. I had change but I didn’t know my change was torn until I paid it to the driver. It was the only change I had on me. (As a Boss, we only handle from Ziks upward.) Then he started shouting at me in Yoruba. I tried explaining to him that if he could go to a Bank, they would change it for him. That was a big mistake because it pissed him even more and he threw my slightly torn change at me. I was like ‘WHAAAAT?!’ and I started laughing and began to ask him ‘…but Sir, why are you so angry this morning? It is too early in the morning to be mad and all because of change. He was too infuriated and ranting in Yoruba until a lady who had been seating at the back seat asked how much was my fare and offered to pay. I thanked her and left.
Second time, It was noon and I was headed home from a little errand in town. Another taxi drama but luckily, it wasn’t my fault. The driver did the usual ‘I no get change’ talk but this lady entered the car and when she got to her bus stop, she brought out her money and handed it to the driver. The driver started “Olori buruku ni e” (I hope I spelt it well), and continued in Yoruba. Not only was the girl not giving him her exact amount, the money she was giving had been cello taped. My guy vexes! He threw the money at her face and started insulting her. She didn’t even mind, she took the damaged note and gave him one of an even higher denomination. I was like ‘Shhhuoooo! E be like aunty never grasp wetin dey happen! Haaaa!’ (in my head, of course) The driver almost ran mad with rage. She took her money back and paid no attention to the angry human. He parked at her bus stop and she got down and walked away like nothing happened. The driver stuck his head out of the passenger window and was throwing insults her way when I, as a Boss…with change, offered to pay her fare then he calmed down and drove off. I had to check to make sure it wasn’t the guy from this morning. It wasn’t.
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