Lagos is crazy for real. Don’t assume it’s just a cliche.
Hello Fam, trust your week was splendid. For me, I’m thankful for the gift of the weekend.
Really, my experiences this week got me shaken and it humbled me. The 3-word phrase ‘Lagos is crazy’ is not a cliché no matter how often or seldom you hear it. It is one of the sad realities in this part of the world. In this week alone, I had two crazy near-death experiences on Lagos roads and I almost broke down in tears. Like, ‘how can people live like this? How can people take joy in doing things haphazardly? And they crown it with disgusting audacity’🙄. There are two story-experiences, so this post is part 1. I thought I had seen it all until I saw part 2, I shook.
Part 1 started with my road experience on Monday after I had left work and was heading back home. There was an unexplainable traffic from Ikeja bridge through Oba Akran, Agege and other axis along the way. While I was still thinking of how I am going to spend almost 2 hours in the traffic ahead, the driver of the “Danfo” bus I boarded maneuvered his way off the bridge, turned to the second lane, and in a reverse mode, he drove the bus into one-way. Almost everyone in the bus was scared, and they became watchmen with their heads turned back checking to see if there were oncoming vehicles.
The bus still in a reverse one-way motion got to a police checkpoint at a T junction. The driver veered into another lane to pretend he was not on one-way. The police men noticed and he exchanged words with them claiming he didn’t ply one way. Almost immediately, he veered off from the police only to drive into coverts, ramming into a nearby FirstBank building. The vehicle was galloping, going out of control to the extent that the commuter who sat close to the entrance of the bus fell off the bus.
To say I was scared is an understatement, I was overtly terrified, I closed my eyes and kept saying ‘Holy Spirit, I don’t want to die’. I said these words until somehow the bus got stable and halted. However, the irrational driver didn’t give us time to recover before he veered into another lane, facing oncoming vehicles and was still on speed. By this time, everybody in the vehicle were in unison, pleading for their lives, begging the driver should stop his senseless driving.
I was sitting at the back row of the vehicle beside a hunk bearded guy. After a bit of recovery from the near-collision with the FirstBank building, we naturally got talking and I told him how I closed my eyes during the drama, he laughed and said I should have opened my eyes to see where and how I could escape if I needed to.
We exchanged few words about how crazy Lagos Danfo drivers can be and the guy was a bit surprised that I alighted from the bus before the final bus-stop. I’m sure he thought I alighted out of fear, because he asked ‘Oh! Are you getting down here’ and I hurriedly replied ‘Yes, Good night’.
My Monday road experience made me understand how one person misdemeanors can affect the lives of innocent people. If only Lagos Danfo drivers can have a thorough reality check that their actions or reactions can lead to loss of 12/14 other people at a single time, maybe just maybe they would be responsible. Being a public transport driver, you are not only responsible for your life but for the lives of the commuters.
Also, I realized that often times bad things happen as a result of chains of bad decisions, bad choices and actions. When the driver veered into the one-way reverse mode, myself and a couple of other commuters complained about his unsafe decision and action but it didn’t change anything because he was already on the one-way lane and other commuters were watching the back for him. I remember that a man rudely said to a woman “Madam, keep quiet. Let him focus on what he is doing” when she commented about the driver’s unsafe driving.
The driver made bad decisions, bad actions and he was encouraged by majority of commuters. This chain could have ‘ended in tears’ if not for God’s mercy. The issue here is more than a traffic management issue. It is a reflection of a dysfunctional society where an overriding percentage of people do not care about order and rightness.
I can only hope that somehow, very soon that sense will be restored to our society and we can truly live a proper life of sanity.
P.s : (In Pidgin) De story neva finish. Watch out for Part Two!