Plenty of years ago, I watched a movie titled Lagos Nah Wah, where a man who had just come into Lagos from the Eastern part of the country ‘experienced’ Lagos for the first time, the good, bad, along with the ugly. That was my first glimpse of Lagos. Having lived in Jos my whole life, and reading about Lagos and its beaches in novels, I always thought Lagos was a fulfillment of Heaven on earth, I imagined the beautiful and calm life I would live in this palm filled city when I grew up.
|my image of Lagos.|
Fast forward to about 20 years later, I entered a night bus heading to Lagos for the first time. Oh thejoy! The excitement! The sense of fulfillment! I think I was happier than Sméagol and his one-true-precious-ring. Well, after a couple of years in Lagos, almost all my illusions have been shattered, but today, today, I think I became a true Lagosian, I had my very own “one chance” experience, and by the grace of God, I can tell the story.
I had just gotten to Oshodi from Ajao estate, where I went to pick up stuffs from a friend, and I needed to take a bus going to Ojodu Berger where I stay. Not being very conversant with the terrain, I enquired from a couple of bus conductors and passengers on the best route to take, I was told to wait by road for buses heading that way.
I had quite a number of bags with me, and was just wondering how I would sit in a bus, when a taxi pulled over and the driver asked “where you dey go?” I think that should have been my first clue, the fact that he didn’t say where he was going, but, what did I know. I said Berger, and he said “oya enter with you 150 change o”. He already had a female passenger in the front, so I got in behind, then a young man who had been standing beside me entered too. My second clue should have been the fact that he dint bother to look for more passengers.
We had barely pulled off, when the young lady in front began to plead with the driver to collect a hundred naira for her fair, which annoyed the driver and the rest of us, I mean, from Oshodi? Woman please! Then the driver pulled over and told her to get off, and he angrily said “how you go pay me #100 when I know say na money you carry for those carton inside my boot”, that should have been my third clue, how did he know??
And the woman launched into a surreal tale of how she is a runs girl who is married to an Alhaji, but is running for her dear life because he had turned her into a sex toy, and how she sleeps with dogs for him, and how he videos it for white men… it was just incredible, the kind of stories one reads in magazines. Then she casually informed us that she had about 20 million naira in those cartons, but she was willing to share because she is naturally not greedy’
Words can’t even begin to express what was running through my mind, for reasons I do not understand, I had gone into panic mode. Even though they kept trying to get me to contribute, a voice in my head kept saying “do not utter a word in this conversation”, moreover, the reverend sister in me had gone into prayer mode. Everything about them felt wrong, we were on top speed on the express, the car was locked, my side had no handle, my window was wound up, and it had no control handle too. At a stage, the other three occupants were totally focused on trying to make sure I said something, it was as if they were joining forces. The driver kept staring at me from the rearview mirror, while the other two had faced me and were pressuring me to say something, I could feel them closing in on me, I kept praying!
The lady promised to give 2million if I could just say something, the young man tried to make me see sense in sharing the money with them, and the spirit of the Lord in me made sure I was mute all through. Then finally, a bus stop! In a calm voice that did not betray the tumult in me, I said, “oga I go stop here” the driver looked at me as if he dint believe what he just heard, when I calmly repeated myself, he reluctantly pulled over, as if he couldn’t believe he was doing it. I got down, pulled out my wallet and gave him his fare, which he hesitantly collected. Before he pulled off, all three of them looked at me like I had two head or something, but I knew I had just been saved!
I felt like a cloud had been lifted from me in that instant. I had heard people talk of ‘one chance’, but it never felt like something that could happen to me, well I can only say THANK YOU LORD!