Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NAIJA TOUR (2)

When people we know travel and intimate us of their departure time we are wont to predict where they could be considering the time they left to the time such thoughts come to mind without considering unexpected events that may lead to delays. I have been involved several times in such situations where I had just bid farewell to an acquaintance at the park only to be stuck for hours just a few kilometers away from the point of departure, with the last person I saw or those I called to inform that the vehicle I was traveling in had left, thinking I'd have by then gone far.

I have since learnt to be humble in the face of delays when I travel (even when it had the tendency to upset well laid out plans or alter appointments, the failing of which will impact negatively on me), as that couldn't possibly be the worst that can happen to a traveler, in fact I have always felt somewhere in my mind that delays sometimes, protect us somewhat from something worse that could happen to us if we had continued. I welcome most delays sometimes with that at the back of my mind. When the replacement bus turned up after three hours and we eventually continued the journey by 11:11pm, it occurred to me that those I'd informed of my departure time would've put me at Ondo or seeing the end of Ibadan at the time, without the slightest inkling that we had barely just left Lagos, having only just only scratched the surface of what is that journey to central Nigeria from its western coast.

It is because of incidents like this that I make it a priority to travel using well established transport companies, as situations where passengers would be stranded without the transport company sending spare buses to come takeover the journey are not what you would normally associate with them. Though the replacement bus wasn't as spacious as the one that brought us thus far, passengers were just relieved that at least the journey to Abuja can continue, and soon enough angry retorts gave way to jocular insinuations, especially of what could've been had the bus failed to turn up or something even more sinister had happened while we waited. 

Interestingly, once the journey resumed, most of those who had expended much energy engaging the driver of the former bus in expletives-laden banter, became somnolent. I thought about how I used to be like them in the past, throwing tantrums each time I felt shortchanged by the services provided by the transport companies. Nowadays even for the best of them, I retain very little expectations, even to the extent of refusing to eat their heavily monosodium glutamate-soaked complimentary jollof rice, preferring only their bottled water, while I sorted my own food.

I didn't get my favorite window seat this time but I couldn't care less, as I could clearly see out of the huge windows on all side of the bus, and was amazed at seeing children still hawking snacks even as it neared midnight at each of the points on the Trunk A of the southwestern roads, where vehicles are forced to slow down for one reason or the other. Things are really tough in Nigeria, and many families have to make tough decisions like the ones involving these kids to make ends meet. If only those at the helm of affairs, the politicians and policy makers who feel they know better than the rest of us, what to do to alleviate the sufferings of the people of Nigeria, can only get down to doing exactly that, maybe things will turn around for good. Unfortunately, there's nothing on ground, even with this government that won elections on the CHANGE mantra that suggest that things will soon or eventually change for the better.


INSIDE OF THE LUXURY BUS CONVEYING ME TO ABUJA


The night journey that I am familiar with had finally come, so once again I blocked my ears , this time not listening to radio stations but music streaming from my phone on MP3 and nodding off my head to it, while other passengers slept. Gone are the days when luxury buses provided en-bus entertainment of music, even movies. The case for security has ensured  that all of that, had to be sacrificed on the alter of expedience, especially during night journeys, and I couldn't even care less, as when such held sway what was usually on show was the same brain dulling movies off the stable of Nollywood, that I couldn't stand for all it's worth. I searched my eyes for any sign of heaviness, finding none, I knew immediately that a long night awaits me!

'kovich

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