My Public Transport Diaries Episode 1 – I B A D A N
I B A D A N
. . . the only city whose garage I once passed the night! I remember that month, it was December. I had left Kebbi past 9, entered Ojo some minutes after 12.00a.m. I had to sleep at the garage with my eyes half shut and my mind wide awake waiting for 6am to knack so I could start Abeokuta journey. . . I could remember an okada entering the garage 5.30a.m. and the drivers were almost stoning him saying he had come looking for Soka passengers!???
I B A D A N!
What’s that their oriki again sef?. . . I always knew I couldn’t live in Ibadan ever since I started reasoning life after school but whenever I asked myself why, I just could never find an answer. If I’m to count how many times I’ve boarded transport from Ibadan, girl, I’m never gonna be accurate?. As an undergraduate, I could never find a straight bus/car from Ife going to Abeokuta, so I’d have to enter Ibadan from campus gate/Oduduwa University roundabout and then I’d stop at Iwo Road, enter a car going to Abeokuta (I love the Siennas, I hate bus jeez!) but I stopped entering Abeokuta from Iwo Road ever since I heard about the Apata style – girl’s gotta save some cash?; Abeokuta could be like 1k from Iwo Road sometimes 1,200 and then I’d save myself a whooping 600 if not more if I go by Apata – 100 to Mokola roundabout, another 100 to NNPC, then 300 to Asero, Abeokuta and the funniest thing is, it’s faster!. . . don’t worry, it’s not ‘so le – drop!’ it’s a proper garage. . . do you even know drop is like private car in Abuja (wait for the Abuja files???. . . So, just when I thought I was done with the Ibadan travelling life, Kebbi came and it was pretty easy adjusting to the travelling schedule again – there is no Kebbi direct from Abeokuta. So this is what I do – I’d pass the night in Ibadan at my Aunt’s at Oluwo and as early as 6am, I’d have to find my way to Total Garage, Ojo! Sometimes, I’m not so lucky to meet the first car because Ibadan has Soka???. . . before I get to Ojo from Oluwo, it might be getting to quarter to 7 if not past and I always had loads. So whenever I was in Ibadan again preparing to leave for Kebbi, I would call the okada man that lives at my Aunt’s area (arrangee something), he’d pick me and drop me by the road side where I’d hustle for Iwo road first before Ojo and then Total Garage and sometimes I get direct for like N400 or less. . . with that, I tend to meet the first car.
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Ibadan drivers can be very saucy and greedy! Not sorry! As in, Ibadan people are the real hustlers, little wonder they have Soka. . . It is them that would use Sienna to carry 9 passengers – 2 at the front (I donno if they want to be sharing one seatbelt), 4 in the next seat and 3 on the last seat (trust me na! I always go for the back ‘cause an Hausa man will never sit in the middle especially with women by his sides – they always go for the seat by the door, so picking a seat early by the door is cheer waste of time and the drivers don’t even allow a woman at the front – who want to be sharing seatbelt in the first place??? iz nuh like they actually share it though, they won’t use it na ni) that’s the perks of bus sha but the no woman at the front still stands. . . made me remember those days when Mum would tell us not to enter any car that has only guys in them in Abeokuta or else someone would just sleep off and meet themselves at Ajaale or whenever we go to Lafenwa market, we should always be careful and hold our purse so tight because some people can just hit you with their body and before you know it, you’ll discover your purse has gone when you get to where you want to buy something ??? . . . but these days, I still try but I don’t think I religiously check cars and refuse to enter the car because I’m probably the only girl or the second girl because mehn Kebbi is a far something and it is the Lord that keepeth safe. . . I know watch and pray durrh . . . I enter Kebbi early enough is to 12am in the morning!. . .
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Ibadan drivers can charge for load kai! Sometimes you’d begin to think if those loads are sitting inside the bus/car. . . even the normal taxi igboro sef would also charge owo eru. . . like isn’t the boot of a car meant for loads???? iz like owo eru is the shii! Of course it is but I didn’t know until later. They collect as much as 2,000 for owo eru! But all thanks to my Father in heaven and the Aluta spirit from Ife, God wee nuh lemme comman pay owo omogo buh forget o, I for pay sha but I no dey carry more than one Ghana must go but that Ghana must go ehn! E fit reach somebody’s two??! Tori ounje na ni but some girls can carry load. . . As in one sister was returning for NYSC duty that was after New Year celebration, they had to clear a seat for her, her bags no be here . . . I was like is it nuh this NYSC 11 months thing abi na amariya something? Well after sister had spoken English and it was nuh werking, e fun wa lowo tabi ke bole. . . as in Ibadan drivers dont have epo loju (they don’t have skin on their Face????). . . so during those NYSC days, Corp members were returning and almost everyone refused to pay and the driver was like, when we get to check points and the soldiers ask for money, we should tell them we didn’t pay him for load. . . even though he still collected at least 100 naira each from some people minus me, I didn’t have load that time. . . so everyone cooperated at checkpoints even though we knew it was a lie but we had to pity him now cos he made us assume those owo eru were for settlement on the road!
Then my deliverance came after service year!
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I was travelling back to Kebbi ‘cause fortunately, I now work there until further notice. So that morning, this man that wasn’t the driver had packed everyone’s load tightly inside the boot (you know na, those boots no dey ever cover. . . eru ti poju!) and the normal drill had taken place na (owo eru tins), only for me to realize that the guy that was like at the forefront of the owo eru something was paid! I was like what’s going on and then I realized it’s a work something! That was someone’s job! ? That’s what pays the bills. . . and they have shifts! As in Ibadan owo meji f’enikan! ?
So, a man leaves home to help a driver champion owo eru from passengers because that’s what he feeds on! So in case you think owo eru is for driver and for settlement on the road, you’re wrong! In Ibadan, owo eru is someone’s salary/wages! Mehn. . . in Debs voice, I was shook!
Anyways, welcome to Ibadan, the only city where owo eru is more than it meets the eye. . . Omo Ibadan ki ni so???
Ibadan beere ki o too wo o, ni bi ole gbe n jare Olohun. . . (pun intended)???