by Jennifer Ehidiamen
One day, we'll travel to Abuja
by train [LOS-ABV]. And I'll get to write a travelogue. But until then,
enjoy this piece on some interesting people I see (meet) whenever I
travel by Danfo [those yellow buses], around Lagos:
co-driver: In a Danfo bus, you'll normally find a driver, bus conductor
and other passengers. Among these other passengers is a co-driver i.e. a
self acclaimed one. You'll often hear him from the back seats giving
orders to the driver on where to follow, how to step on the brake, how
to swerve onto a new lane etc. And the driver most often respond: "Na
you dey drive?" Or "You wan collect steering for my hand?"
Alert: Imagine yourself inside a danfo bus and the driver is running on
what seems like a top speed. Then all of a sudden you hear a voice
break into your chain of thoughts. More like a scream: "Ahn ahn, driver
you wan kill us?" Or "Driver please take it easy o. I never marry."
Sometimes the co-driver doubles as a "red alert". Other times another
passenger plays that role. The main goal is to caution the driver so
that we can all arrive safely.
3. Preacher man: Repent for the
Kingdom of God is at hand. With the preacherman in your bus, you can
barely hear yourself think. Forget about receiving calls in that bus. If
you do, you will hear the person on the other line asking, "are you in
church?". The good thing about a preacherman in your danfo bus is that
you get reminded that heaven and hell is real. "If we all die now, where
will you go? Heaven or hell?" Some passengers stare at him in anger.
Why should you say if we all die now? Yes, of course we want to make
Heaven. No we won't die in this danfo bus.
4. The pervert: One
day I was in a danfo bus and I heard a woman say in a loud voice "if you
try that again I will slap you." She was referring to the young man
sitting beside her. The story was that the man was rubbing his elbow
against her bosom. You can't really tell who is rubbing what because
some of these buses are usually so jam-packed. The best thing is to
position yourself well. But if you are unlucky you might fall victim of
false accusation, this time a reversed psychology- one day, an older man
pissed at the way a woman was protecting her frontage bluntly asked,
"who wan touch your bosom?" According to him, he has more than that at
5. "Do you know who I am": This man or woman tells
us in a danfo bus that he or she is a very important person so the bus
conductor must not argue with him/her over N10 change. Enough said.
Political analyst: If you missed the news last night, and you have a
political analyst riding the same danfo bus with you, may God bless your
day. All is cool until he gets another politically conscious passenger
to engage in the discourse. Sometimes their analysis is a comic relief.
Other times depressing. Depending on the topic in focus. An elderly
analyst tells the younger folks in the bus about the good old days. And
the danger of having a "young" inexperienced president rule Nigeria.
GSM users: Sometimes, you enter a bus and everyone, well almost
everyone, is on their mobile phone making calls. The one screaming at
the top of his voice...
8. Sleep-attack: How do people sleep
through the journey? In the danfo bus? On the bumpy Lagos road? Forget
it. You don't know what their story is about. Body no be wood o.
9. Networker: The guy tells you that you have beautiful brown eyes and soberly shares his story. What is yours? Blank stare.
Tribalism: If war breaks out in Lagos, it might start from a danfo bus.
One minute you enter a danfo bus and you see us all sandwiched in the
air-tight yellow buses and you sigh in relief. The next, you hear an
argument from the back row and the next thing, someone is yelling,
throwing verbal punches at a particular tribe. End of story.
These are my first ten. There are more categories to meet.
It is no longer news that I love public transport. If you want to really see Lagos, ride the danfo but bring your change.
I entered a bus in ogba (Lagos) and looked up in time to see that I was
sitting beside an old colleague from Nasarawa. Danfo is cool like that.
Enjoy life. Take it easy.