Sitting in one of these Ibadan Nissan Micra Taxis, I wondered where these cars were imported from. I have been to different cities in the country, but Ibadan is the only city I have seen such cars used for public transport. They are driven by exceptional outlandish drivers who dispense curses and abuses to fellow drivers, tri-cyclists, Okada riders – motorcyclists, pedestrians and other commuters with such dexterity that makes one think they had obtained degrees in cursing and abusing from Harvard University.
Micra has been my means of transportation to and fro my office and home, which takes a chunk of two hours of my weekdays. Micra is meant to accommodate the driver and probably three passengers, but in order to meet the daily needs of the Nigerian driver and his daily ‘deliver’ – amount given to the car owner. Two passengers are compelled to manage the front passenger’s seat squeezing each other beyond explanation. Painted white with blue stripes like ill coloured zebra or wine and orange, these cars swim around you like restless bees.
As I sat in the mid-position of the back seat, between a mean looking man with four wide stripes of tribal marks perfectly designed on his face to distinguish him from other tribes. He was on my left. On my right was a chubby lady who appeared like a working class type with that ‘I foot my bills’ attitude. To me she represents a typical modern career woman. She ferociously crunched chewing-gum and randomly popped it. Her lip-smacking harassed the little peace left in the car and in me. Annoyingly, it reminded me of the noise from Ayo’s room each night. Ayo is my neighbour who is cohabiting with Precious. They make love as if two communities are at war. Last night was crazy as they started early which forced Daddy Mayowa to caution them because his children could not sleep. That’s a story for another day, but I have told Ayo that if he fails to marry Precious after tearing her like that, “Ogun” must surely kill him.
I really wanted to admire the beauty of the marks on this mean looking man’s face, but his stern look warned me not to dare. At this point, I pondered on the pains he must have gone through as a child when he was being engraved with such marks. Then I realised, it was the beauty of every culture.
The mean looking – man momentarily muttered some words which seemed to me to be some swear words or curse directed at the driver who bumped on every pot hole and meandered through the traffic as if he was heading to Lagos or Abuja carrying mere dry fish. The way the man on my left scowled around, it seemed he must have quarrelled with his wife that morning before leaving his house or probably his children reminded him about their school fees. These private schools are really milking parents. Can you imagine ₦70,000 to enrol my little niece in a creche. A child who is yet to talk.
Well, possibly he grunted about his job, these days, people detest their jobs so much, yet they dreaded to resign. It is like I’m one of those people. However, why should I be bothered? I felt sorry for him. I was hauled back to reality when the driver screamed ‘Sango – Mokola – Roundabout one chance’.
Then I realised that a pretty girl who was managing the front seat with another fat lady just alighted. She seemed to have exhaled a sigh of relief and stretched her curvaceous body. I knew she was happy to have escaped the temporary subjugation of her sumptuous body. I lusted at her as she strode up the tarred road to her office with such calculated steps that made her hips swing like an Italian pendulum. My eyes were jumping out of its socket as our car zoomed off. Unconsciously, my head stretched to have a better look at God’s special endowment on the lady, but the lady by side followed my gaze and cleared her throat. She called me back to the earth. I realised she was annoyed by my lasciviousness.
The lady’s hair cologne had made the air in the car seem like we were in one of those cut-throat salons at Bodija. She had been so engrossed with her smartphone that she smiled intermittently like one of those schizophrenic under Rumuokoro flyover in Port Harcourt. She had apologised to me each time her beautiful golden Brazilian hair fluttered into my face and my eyes as I flipped through the pages of the novel I was trying so hard to read. Sometimes I wished I would remain in the cab because it was more fun than my boring job.
However, without this annoying underpaying job of mine, my landlord would have thrown me out. Well, what do I know? Just me writing from my small ‘face me and slap you’ room at Agbowo, after another day in this annoying, interesting job of mine in the present Nigeria APC led government.
Soon, we arrived at Challenge which was the final bus stop. The traffic was slow, and as usual Micra drivers were meandering their way. Our driver tried to manoeuvre his way through a very little space not fit enough for his car, then BOOM! The mean-looking man shouted “Ye!” Instantly the traffic cleared as I looked up, our car had hit a black Mercedes G-wagon. The two back doors flung open simultaneously and two huge men in military camouflage alighted.
At that moment, I told myself I would never sit in the middle again. My left eye and mouth cannot tell you what I saw that day. In fact, my ink has finished.