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IFEATU'S BUS CHRONICLE: THE FAMILY IN THE YELLOW BUS



Trade? Yes, trade!

Everyone in Nigeria is an entrepreneur of some sort, or have you not noticed? But there is something I am NEVER going to trade. My peaceful morning!

I love my mornings calm and quiet while I listen to every thought of my heart. 

Today is a gifted day. Calm, serene and dry. I have a suggestion that the rain needs to start sending a memo before it rains, considering it's incessant fall. 

I am seated between two garrulous women. The one on my left is stout and fair while the one on my right is slightly lanky and dark.  The bus zooms on the dry tarred road, the atmosphere is serene, thanks to the garrulous women who have taken a break. 

"Driver, O wa o!' A shrill voice announces in front. 

The driver brings the bus to an abrupt halt. 

"You for don talk since make you stop where him stop before."

"You dey mind am? Just dey waste person time," the fair lady says with a sigh in support. I am tempted to say something in support of the lady who was being bashed but I keep quiet. 

I am praying that the driver and the conductor don't team up with the women. Perhaps, God thinks my prayer is a worthy one. They don't as much cough. 

The lady wobbles and alights with a limp while she struggles with a heavy bag. The conductor makes an attempt to help her. 

She is an older woman. She says nothing to the younger women. 

"Ha! I no know say na mama o! The dark lanky lady says with an air of regret. Our eyes lock and I shoot her my disgusted look then direct my focus to the busy road. 

We drive for another ten minutes and a Corp member boards the bus. 

We drive in silence for a while. The driver honks and swerves the bus off the road avoiding a bike rider. 

"Idiot! you no go look road well."

The startled rider regains himself from the shock and shoves his five fingers at the driver with a slip of  "Waka" off his lips. Bike riders in Lagos are the proverbial lawmakers who are never guilty. 

"Yes! Owo da?" The conductor stretches his palms right in the Corp member's face. 

The young man reached for his leather wallet tucked in the back pocket of his well-ironed khaki uniform. He pulls out a crisp two hundred naira note and hands it to the conductor. 

After an interval of probably five minutes, he stretches his hands at the conductor. 

"My Change!"

"I go give you, I never get." His debtor spreads the naira notes arranged horizontally in his palm as evidence for him to see.  

The bus becomes calm again except for the 'grunting' sound coming from the bus as if it was particularly angry about something. 

Soon we are driving into the makeshift park. 

"CMS, oya e bo le o," the conductor announces and we alight one after another. 

"Conductor, give me my change!" 'Uncle Corper' says with an air of irritation. 

"Which kain change? I don give you." 

They break out in an altercation. Some of the young men who alighted and took few steps forward, retreat to find out what's happening. We are all temporary family members when we board a bus. 

An elderly man is wagging his finger in the conductors face and yelling obscenities. 

"Thief, give the poor boy his money" he yells.  'Uncle Corper' is calm while our 'bus family members' are making sure he gets justice. 

A stray conductor from another bus comes close to find out what's going on too. "Haba, Corper, you no fit leave the money for am, shebi governement dey pay you."

Did he just say pay? The same government that has become lame to implementing the meagre minimum wage promise. 

The men are forming a circle around the errant conductor. He says something about God punishing the Corp member and shoves a hundred naira note in his palm.  

My lips curl up in a smile. I am glad the young man was not robbed of his deserved balance. I smile even harder at the thought that I might need to put the tag 'Bus Referee' in my résumé


Today was a double match. 


Old woman (Tolerance) 1 Vs Younger women (Intolerance) 0

Corp member 1 Vs Conductor 0


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