By Ebele Orakpo
Even in their anger and frustration, there is still a very high sense of humour noticeable amongst Nigerians. In the usual maddening Lagos traffic, one could hear both drivers and passengers raining abuses on one another all in the name of venting their anger.
Come to think of it, it’s all very hilarious and as the Bible says and as medical science has confirmed, laughter is a good medicine.
On this particularly busy Tuesday evening along the Murtala Mohammed Airport Road Lagos, vehicles were inching their way slowly towards the airport toll gate to link Ikeja or Oshodi-Agege Motor Road when suddenly, a car moved to overtake another car trying to negotiate a bend. Shouted a commuter in the second vehicle: “Look at him, foolish man, running as if demons are after him. Where is he going to for God’s sake?”
And when the car caught up with the first car and was about to overtake it, another passenger shouted at the driver: “Take this dustbin off the road. I don’t know what the Ministry of Transport, MOT, is doing. This kind of vehicle should not be seen on our roads.”
“Which roads?” sneered Nike. “Abeg, he can drive it on some roads but not on this smooth, clean road,” replied Mike. The car is even half-caste,” joked Ndidi. This elicited laughter and then Moji asked: “How do you mean?”
“Can’t you see it has got two colours? Wine red and grey, horrible combination!” replied Ndidi.
“I think it had an accident, maybe the original colour was wine red,” said Mike. Almost immediately, a member of the notorious Lagos mini-bus drivers popularly called danfo, drove past to form another lane on the already congested road. And when a driver with a brand new car complained, the danfo driver, ever-ready with his razor-sharp tongue, shouted at the driver thus: “If you don’t move that plastic toy out of my way, I will destroy it together with those sticks you call legs. Just respect yourself and carry that your ugly face and leave. Monkey!”
“Just imagine him calling a brand new car plastic toy,” Joe remarked.
“Oh, you haven’t seen anything. That is the typical Lagos commercial bus driver for you,” said Moji.
Narrated Ugo: “I was in a bus one day when we suddenly realised that passers-by were pointing at the bus and laughing. We were wondering why until we got to the park and disembarked. Lo and behold, the bus looked like something out of the scrap market.”
“Didn’t you notice it before you boarded?” asked Moji. Replied Ugo: “Noticed? When everybody was fighting to get on the bus, thanking God that after several hours at the bus-stop, they were able to get a bus. There was no time to notice any flaws. Even if we had noticed, we wouldn’t have given a hoot.”
“But honestly, some vehicles are not supposed to be seen on our roads,” said Moji.
“True, but first, empower the people to be able to afford decent vehicles. It will be unfair to force a man’s vehicle off the roads without helping him get something decent. Do you think anybody enjoys driving rickety vehicles or ‘push me I push you?” asked Ndidi. “Just reminds me of a medical doctor who was mistaken for a native doctor by the Police because of the battered car he was driving.”