By Mike Ebonugwo
The commercial bus left the popular Oshodi Bus-stop heading for Mile Two. It was initially an uneventful journey untilÂ the conductor started demanding the mandatory fares from the passengers. Most of the passengers promptly paid the agreed fare except a woman with a little baby girl.
Although the conductor had loudly announced that the fare to Mile Two from Oshodi was N100 the woman insisted she was paying N70 because she was disembarking at Alaba Express Bus-stop. But as far as the conductor was concerned, Alaba Express was within the vicinity of Mile Two, apart from the fact that the two bus-stops are only separated by a short distance.
â€œDo you think Iâ€™m a mugu? Abeg pay your correct fare. If you think I will collect anything less than N100 youâ€™re joking. And if you refuse to pay, driver will not stop for you to get down when we reach your bus-stop. And in case you donâ€™t know, from Mile Two weâ€™re going to Tin Can and from there to CMS. So donâ€™t be surprised to find yourself in Tin Can or CMS,â€ the conductor angrily told the woman.
The womanâ€™s response to this was: â€œDem no born you and your driver well. If you try it; if you people make mistake carry me pass my bus-stop, you will regret your life. And let me tell you: If your driver fails to stop for me or even pass my bus-stop small, I will not pay you shi-shi and nothing will happen. You think Iâ€™m the kind of passenger that you people will cheat anyhowâ€.
Some passengers in the bus, including a police man tried to intervene but the shouting match continued unabated. But they eventually succeeded in convincing the conductor to accept N70 from the woman and allow peace to reign. As the woman was disembarking from the bus her parting shot was: â€œNa God save una today. If you people have made the mistake of not stopping for me, you will have regretted your lives. Useless people!â€
The driverâ€™s response to this was: â€œCarry your wahala go. Just look at her: wicked Ogbanje woman. Maybe the time for her to return to her evil kingdom has come. Thatâ€™s why she is going about making trouble and looking for the person that will kill herâ€. But for the conductor: â€œHer own pass Ogbanje; this one is a marine spirit. Didnâ€™t you see her eyes? How can a normal human being have eyes that are green in colour? I swear that woman is from the marine kingdomâ€.
On hearing this, the driver immediately advised the conductor: â€œAbeg make sure you separateÂ the money you collected from her; donâ€™t let it mix with all the money we have collected since morningâ€. But the conductor was quick to reassure his driver thus: â€œDonâ€™t worry, I will not make the mistake of mixing her money with our own. In fact, as soon as we reach CMS I will go and collect anointing oil and holy water to spray on her money; it will scatter her evil powerâ€.
All the while the conductor and the driver engaged in this dialogue about the womanâ€™s conduct and perceived sinister origin and power, most of the passengers were almost laughing their heads off. One of them by name Anthony was almost choking on laughter as he said: â€œNa wa for una, this driver and conductor. Is it because of just N30 difference that you people could not collect from that woman that made you to see her as somebody from the marine kingdom? By the way do you know her before…?â€
Before either the driver or the conductor could answer, a fellow passenger interposed thus: â€œI know that woman O. Yes, she behaves in a strange manner. As you see her so, she can change whatever she is putting on every 30 minutes. And you had looked closely at her fingers you would have seen all kinds of strange rings sheâ€™s wearing…â€. This sent the passengers into another round of laughter.