Been thinking about driving lately. And that’s funny, considering that I don’t own a car – yet. Why would I even think about going to drive abroad when I don’t even own a passport?

Well, that’s not why I’m here?

You see, it’s hard to not think about these things during this yeye fuel crisis our dear oyel-producing country is experiencing. How we produce, refine abroad, import and sell at crazy prices but still experience scarcity is a riddle that will forever confound me. Forget all that silly macro-economic nonsense they keep spewing; I just don’t gerrit. I think I’m in good company though, especially when a genius like Dr Ibe Kachikwu admitted recently that he’s not a magician. Now where does that leave a simpleton like me?

However, this is not the only thing that confounds me. Even with this biting scarcity, you would expect that the traffic would be lighter in Lagos. Whosai, e nor follow! The traffic seems to be worse. Then you realise that all the cars without fuel are on queues at every petrol station in the city, resulting in crazy traffic for drivers trying to manage their fuel and failing in the process. I know I shouldn’t be bothered about these things right now seeing as (you guessed it already)… But I use cars at my office when I have the misfortune of going out so it pains me too. It’s a no-win situation I tell you.

Now, about why I said what I did earlier about our lot being candidates for prisons abroad if we drove there. I’ll explain. It shouldn’t be too far-fetched since every driver in Lagos a potential nutcase and we always drive like we’re sane but other road users are crazy (while they think the same of us too).

Have you seen what we’re like at traffic lights? In the abroad, red means STOP, amber means: SLOW DOWN or GET READY, Green means GO. Right? It doesn’t work like that here except for the green light which still means ‘go’. Here, when you see the amber colour, you floor the throttle and go as fast as possible in order to beat the lights; if it’s the red colour, we look around to see if there’s nobody to arrest us or the green-lighted  are slow and then we run the red light. Who does that? Well, crazy drivers like us do. Nobody’s exempt, from the unruly danfo drivers to the ones driving G-wagons, it’s the same.

Speaking of those unruly masters of the famous yellow buses, how come we hate them when we’re driving our own cars but love them when we’re commuting? For an average Nigerian in Lagos, when we’re behind a steering wheel or we’re passengers in private cars, we seethe and cuss out danfo drivers for being so disorderly, especially when there’s traffic. However, when we’re in a bus we secretly pray for those daredevil drivers to break every traffic rule. Lagosians are always in a hurry and it drives them crazy seeing a BRT lane lying fallow when they’re stuck so if the bus driver takes the initiative and veers into those forbidden lanes or decides to enter the other lane and drive against traffic, we shout a loud hallelujah in our hearts. Our God is always good!


See what I'm talking about? Crazy people!
See what I’m talking about? Crazy people!

Just wondering: if we were to drive abroad, how would we translate our uncanny ability of making roads meant for two rows of cars into four-lane passages? But the less said about that the better.

The other day, I inexplicably hit the road with a car at home without a licence and was stopped by the police. Told him what happened and the dude told me to go park at the station, return back home and bring the licence. Now, a Nigerian knows that it’s important to ‘sort’ things if it’s not necessary to get to the station. Once you do the opposite, your troubles suddenly multiply when you get to that place where “Police is your friend” is boldly written on walls. So I ended up obeying Prophet Isaiah and ‘settled the matter’ with the money I wanted to use for fuel. Bummer. Considering that I suggested that he ‘help’ me out while offering weekend money, I would be in jail if I was in a saner country.

If you like, don’t agree. I know myself though, if I travel to the abroad, I would not last on those roads over there. So with these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to confuse you and not convince you that trying to drive abroad is not meant for Lagosians. As my people say in Yoruba, “Búttá kíí sé óunjé óbó” (Butter ain’t monkey food).

Ah yes I’m generalising. Sue me.

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