Sunday, July 22, 2007

Adventures of a Lagos commuter 3

If you commute regularly in Lagos, you'll meet different people, from the ordinary reserved commuter to the really crazy one.
I have a categorized a few,that you might identify on your next trip.

The Activist: This is the commuter who champions the course of other commuters, ranging from exorbitant fares to indiscrimate abuse by the bus conductors, amongst other things. He is bold, loud mouthed and often times wins the course.
Personal experience: My sister and I were returning from the market one evening,the fare was N30,when the bus was filled with passengers and we about to leave, the conductor annouced that the fare was N50. There was no reason given, the bus that had left just before ours collected N30, but the conductor and the driver insisted on collecting N50.
Some passengers grumbled, some were indifferent, some were cursing the driver, who was already ordering those who could not pay the fare to get off the bus, but alas there was this young woman, in the bus, the activist. She calmed everyone in the bus,raising her voice steadily, she insisted that we must not pay the N50 fare, asking us all to remain in the bus and coperate. She said her house rent had just been increased no explainations, her light bill had just been increased no explainations but her salary has remained the same for 7 years, no explainations!, she went on how we just allow things without fighting or asking.
To cut a long story short, we were all seated in the bus for an hour, no body got off and eventually our action paid off, we paid the regular N30 fare.

The preacher: this is the commuter, who propagates the gospel of Christ in the bus. They may or maynot have a bible at hand, but they quote scriptures well. A few of them are very good, very good meaning; good diction, good dressing, subtle approach and most of them are purely the opposite. A few of them ask for offering after preaching.

Jonah: (remember the biblical story of the lad, who slept in the belly of the whale?).
This is the commuter, who sleeps from the beginning of the trip to the end of the trip,often missing his busstop, sometimes the sleeping commuter might even snore!

The analyst: This is the commuter who ananlyses the political and economical situation of the country, citing unverified statistics and stories, often criticising or comending the government of the day.

The Salesman: This is the commuter who sells strong conviction that his product is the best in the whole world. From booklets, medicine to snacks , name it, the sales man has got it.

The Iya Olomo - This is the commuter, who has more than two children with him/her, often times,this commuter is usually a woman who is pregnant, has a baby strapped to her back and has like four or more children with her. When Iya olomo gets on the bus, she tries with (of course) no success to carry all her four children on her laps until any commuter offers to help her with one or two of the children. When she is getting off the bus it is another drama, the conductor will have to warn the driver "oloyun o pomo o!,o gbomo dani, o mu omo lowo,o leru leyin" (transl: Please wait patiently for this one, she's pregnant, she has a child strapped to her back, she carrying one on her shoulder, holding another and she's got lugage in the boot!)

Staff: this is the commuter who refuses to pay the fare, claiming to be a staff, this commuter is usually a police officer,a soldier or one of the touts aka agbero the motorpark. Sometimes, some smart guys use this moves too, claiming to know the driver from childhood,neighbourhood, or he is the chairman of the boys or some other silly idea that comes up in his head.
If the smart guy is lucky the driver and conductor may let him be but if not they may order him to get off the bus or beat him silly!
Personal Experience: A uniformed man, who was neithera police oficer,naval officer or soldiers, got on the bus one nice friday evening, feeling all fly,when the conductor asked him for money he proudly answered "staff!" the conductor, looked at him and laughed(I remember vividly that conductor's dentition, it was ugly!) and answered"staff ti bo?" transl: staff from where? The man couldnot answer,the conductor had a fun day beating the guy, it wasn't funny at all!

The Mercy passenger: this is the commuter who never has enough money to pay for the fare but boards the bus all the same, hoping that the conductor will look on him/she with mercy or some other commuter will look with upon mercy, and add to the fare or plead with conductor.

Iya Oloja- This is commuter is a regular on the yellow buses, especially the Molue.
They are very cautious with their bags and goods. They haggle alot with the conductor over the bus fares and the fares they have to have to pay for their goods in the bus.
Personal experience: An iya oloja was sitting beside me in a danfo, then the conductor asked for her fare,she brought money from the leftside of her bra, counted it and put it back, brought out money fromthe right side of her bra, counted it and put it back, brought out money from the pouch market woman usually carry, counted it and put it back, finally she brought out money from her purse and paid the conductor!

The eccentric: As the name suggests, this is really eccentric commuter, who is full of drama.
(s)he could either been talking to herself through out the bus ride, or pick on another passenger or conductor sometimes even driver and insult them through out the ride. Pray never to be sitted beside one.

The reserved: This is the quiet easy going commuter, who tries as much as possible to avoid trouble with the conductor and fellow passengers, you will hardly ever hear his/her voice in the bus. They come in quitely and get off quietly.

Know any other kind of commuter, please share.

If you missed the POST that lead to the Adventures 1 and 2 read up!


wienna said... which category do u fall under na?

omohemi Benson said...

am the reserved and reading commuter, quietly observing everyone with a book in my hand.

temmy tayo said...

Lol at being the reserved commuter. Funny to me, I now know what people go thru in lagos.

exschoolnerd said...

lol..i loved this totally cracked me up..cause its so true..

i detest the iya oloja's and the iya olomo...abi warreva dey r called..u forgot the women with big asses..that squeeze u up till ur choking for air.

i am definately the reserved commuter...i dnt wnt my fare and shut up for the whole of the trip.

badderchic said...

Omo it couldnt have been 'truer' (poetic license) this post is off da hook!
im much better dear thanks for dropping by!

omohemi Benson said...

lol, yes o! I am.
you don't know the half of it.

Yes o! I did! Iya oni-idi nla!
how could I have forgotten!
I see you are just like

Thanks babe,
Glad you are better now.

Jola Naibi said...

This had me laughing so hard...I miss Lagos...the salesman usually wears a worn-out suit and even looks sickly himself...but claims to be selling some potion that can cure every illness on wonder why he does not prescribe it for himself. Thanks for sharing!

Miss Opeke said...

Only Omohemi can describe the happenings on the street of Lagos...I miss taking the Molue & Danfo....Great write-up...

Ozymandias said...

Hilarious !! But really true...I miss Lagos...LMAO !!

londonnaijachic said...

This is so interesting! Totally true. How you dey?

snazzy said...

LMAO nice one. There is the high commuter that goes from one character to the other. How about the person with the constant "i can't believe I'm on a bus, I hope I don't get robbed" expression. Laters

NaijaBloke said...

Which yeye reserved category u fall under ... who u dey deceive... no mind her o people..

My 2 cents said...

The commute on the subway or bus system in America is not any better. Public transportation is a convinient means of stratifying society. You meeet all sorts, makes the world look improvished don't you think?

Vera Ezimora said...

Dang, that's some mad traffic o! Chei! That has 2 be lethal.

Izz said...

I don't know which is most annoying, for in buses I like to sit, look out the window and enjoy my thoughts. But 1 and 4 are something else.

Great blog. Will be my new pilgrim.

omohemi Benson said...

I wonder why people ever buy from this salesmen! welcome babe.

@Ms. Opeke,
Lol! me ke?
Thanks babe.

We complain when we are in Lagos, but once we step out we miss the madness.

Thanks babe, am good.

Thanks man,
lol, o! boy there are many kind of commuters o!

I kid you not, I am reserved on and off the bus. sho ara e o!

@My 2cents,
Really,I really don't think we can compare both countries transport systems, but if you thik so hey, and what society doesnot exist with its own unique transport system? I don't think its a strata thing.
Thanks babe.

My sis, you don't know the half of it.

Thats what I love to do to, when am not reading.
Thanks man.

Aijay said...

Omg, this so funny & creative too. Nice one.

Nonesuch said...

brillant post. The Iya Olomo's always jut piss me off.and one of the children always doesnt have a cloth nappy on and he(usually) will unirate.i thinku shd do another one about Travellers that will be off the hook

exschoolnerd said...

hey u update!

The experiences of an achiever....... said...

so true!!!!

The experiences of an achiever....... said...

ah..u forgot d smellicious type (bad breath/body odour)- this type will have u holding ur breath and wishing to God u were near the window! lol!

Tesi said...

What I remember most about the Danfo buses was the seats that could barely fit 3 people and the conductor will refuse to leave unless the fourth person sits not considering that people come in different sizes.

We don suffer oooo.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tayo said...

The "cellphone" commuter: This is the man or woman who receives several or one long call during the duration of the journey, often arguing aloud in Yoruba or Igbo (not heard much hausas) talking about this business or that money or this property, etc. When the phone cuts, he keeps talking for about 5 mins saying things like "can you imagine, they want to sideline me" ... etc. Within a few minutes his phone rings again.

LOL, great write up series. I finally read the 3rd one.

damsel in the desert said...

haha, so funny... i remember a friend and i got the last seat on the bus once... the conductor couldn't have been more than 14 and sat directly opposite us...

there was barely any space between us and him and he had to open his legs so we could put our legs somewhere...

like 10 mins into our journey, i looked down at him and he had this embarrassed grin on his face... poor dude, he was aroused coz we were so close to him and he could barely hide it except for put his hand over his groin... he was embarrassed, but still liked it.

i had to stop myself from bursting out laughing... :)