‘Ojota! Ojota’ Comot for here oh! After here na park o! ‘ The bus driver shouted gruffly, for the umpteenth time.
I gently nudged the man beside me, he looked up and smiled. I heaved a sigh of relief inwardly. He looked gentle thankfully.
‘Is this Ojota?’ I asked almost in a whisper
‘Yes!’ He replied without any hesitation.’I will alight here too but let him park properly’.
‘Thank You’ I said breathlessly. I sat tensed as the driver swerved the bus into what seemed like a park or rather a sort of haven for homeless buses.
‘Is this really worth it?’ I thought to myself.
Okay. Quick intro. I am a crossriverian popularly tagged ‘Calabar’ by the Westerners & Easterners and the most part of my life, so far has been spent in Calabar, Cross River.
This was my first time as an adult on the streets of Lagos..Lasgidi..Gidi and yes! I was already feeling giddy even before I had stepped out of the bus.
The bus stopped abruptly, I turned to my helper and he gave me a slight nod, that was my cue, I got down from the bus swiftly and headed straight to the back of the bus where my brown bag lovingly awaited me.
‘Where are you going?’ My helper asked.
‘Ikorodu. Please, where can I get a bus?’ I inquired as tightened my denim jacket properly around my waist.
‘Just take the pedestrian bridge’ He pointed to a bridge occupied by so many people that seemed to be in a frenzy as they moved swiftly back and forth with so much energy that could make an airplane take-off quite effortlessly.
I watched for a while in awe as I lumbered towards the bridge dragging my bag behind me.
At the foot of the bridge, I was still wondering how I’d ever make it up. When I heard a voice behind that enabled me to make a rasp decision.
‘Madam, abeg carry yourself comot for road if you no wan waka, kilode?’ A woman with a heavy sack on her head hissed behind me, that was all the prompting I needed.
I struggled with my luggage, all the way up. Till date, I don’t know how I got through, but I did.
On the other side of the bridge, I found this really cute guy, he seemed to be waiting for a bus. He looked even meeker than my helper in the bus.
I had heard about how well-dressed men/women in Lagos, walked up to people and begged for money and all. I was trying hard not to appear like a potential beggar to the good-looking guy with lustre afro and perfect brown eyes that would remind you of well brewed coffee.
‘H..hi’ I called out, flipping my bangs in a sultry manner disregarding the fact that I was too tired to waste my time on such trivialities.
This is where my friend, Omoh would have sneered and said, ‘ You and Man’
‘Hey’ He looked up from his phone and took his earphones off.
How in the world was he able to put those comfortably in his ears in this crazy place? I thought to myself.
‘Please, where do I get a bus to Ikorodu?’ I asked in the most pleasant voice I could muster, I still had to prove I wasn’t going to beg in the end.
He pointed a slender finger to a petrol station nearby, ‘over there, just get a bus to Ketu. Once you are at Ketu, getting to Ikorodu is no biggie’.
My expression changed instantly, ‘Ketu ke?’
Did my uncle miss that out??
He nodded. I had spent longer than I should have, so I thanked him and moved forward to board a Ketu bus or do folks heading to Ketu, board Kettles instead, a kettle-like looking shuttle, maybe?
After all, nothing was impossible in Lagos, anyway.
I got to the petrol station, panting like I had just completed 100 metres race, I was really fagged out and thanks to the ‘adorable’ network, I couldn’t reach my uncle.
By the way, my uncle is actually my uncle, like family- blood..brother to my mother and not that kind of uncle, just incase, you are wondering.
“Iko’du!Garage! Iko’du!’ A conductor yelled at the petrol station.
The yellow bus was so rickety, I wondered if the passengers were getting the right amount of Oxygen.
‘Madam picky! You should be in that bus’ An inner voice reminded me.
I moved towards the bus, ‘Ikorodu?’
‘Agric bus stop?’
The conductor glared at me, he was obviously getting irritated.
I didn’t budge. ” Oga, I no sabi d place’
‘Enter’ He answered sharply as he opened the door to the passenger’s seat.
With my bag safely in the booth of the bus, I settled in to enjoy the ride, of course I didn’t.
This was Lagos & I hoped I’d be fully prepared for this hustle..