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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nigeria at 50 - Day 3: Rickety, raggerdy bus ride...

Nigeria at 50, Day 2 - Ochuko www.ochuko.wordpress.com


In Aba, like it is all over Nigeria, the bus is the prominent mode of transport there is. Quite ordinary and single-minded in its purpose of moving people from one point to another, there is nothing exciting about this motorised metal contraption.

Well, not until you get inside.

Deadbeat and ordinary as the bus may seem, it carries within it an amalgamation of some of the most interesting characters you have ever seen. From old men with toothy smiles to women with fat behinds, from young girls sporting the latest knock-offs to young men trying very hard to outquirk even Andre 3000, there is never a shortage of dramatis personae from a bus going from, say, Ogbor Hill to Ngwa road.

Nigeria, to me, is like that bus. Weather-beaten from years of neglect, rough-ridden by numerous inept and valueless drivers, running round the same route with no apparent focus, yet carrying the most optimistic and hopeful people I have ever met.

I am one of those passengers.

I am not your average once-in-a-year patriot who remembers to wear a touch of green every October 1st in solidarity with millions of clueless fellow Nigerians who rejoice at the thought of yet another work-free day; I am not your average smile-and-wave Nigerian who is grateful that at least there’s still life, and so we must hope for a better tomorrow. No, unlike the often-times docile passengers who are thankful that at least they got on an available bus, I am the one guy who shouts at the driver to caution him when he drives a bit rough; I am that guy that will take the conductor head-on for trying to take advantage of a passenger; I am that one guy that will threaten to report the driver to his superiors if he continues to misbehave; I am that one guy who will tell my fellow passengers off for trying to take up more space than is allocated to them. Because when you think about it, if this bus were not here, we would all have to walk for miles; if it breaks down, we will all be stuck in the middle of nowhere, and if it derails while we’re all on board, we’ll all most likely be dead. So yes, I have to speak out because this bus is the only ride to where I’m going.

I wonder if there are any other passengers like me. I wonder if there are any bloggers here who, although in this raggedy bus, will not just sit down and hope to God that the driver knows what on earth he is doing, but will speak out and demand that the right thing be done, the right road signs be obeyed, the right turns taken, and the right speed limits adhered to.

This may be a tall order, but when you think about it, there’s no option. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, I will like us to have this thought at the back of our minds: we either lend our voices and strengths to make this nation work, or you can, as is the custom in Aba buses when you reach your stop, yell at the driver “Ka opuo!”

Happy Independence day Nigeria. One day we shall all be free.


Nigeria at 50, Day 4 - Diary of a Nigerian Girl www.diaryofanigeriangal.blogspot.com

29 comments:

ochuko said...

Hmmmm...huge food for thought. This attitude is what they call excellence.
I'm joining you to stand for the right thing and be an active passenger in this bus ride.
Piercing write up.

rethots said...

We simply should stop tolerating excuses and enduring ineptitude.

We all in one accord should stand for 'something', more importantly that 'something' should the the positive and progressive change we want.

isha said...

Fantastic point of view. Very well writte. I hope this pieces touches Nigerians to get bold.

God bless Nigeria.

My world said...

thot-provoking...well written.

indeed,I'm one of those that will demand for their right.

lamikayty said...

Real food for thought!!!
Hmm you are in Aba!!!! never lived there,but been there several times!!! I'll lend my voice praying that many others will join in the fight!!

Muse said...

@ochuko: Good to know! here, take a seat.

@rethots: Well said.

@isha: Amen to that.

@myworld: aluta continua!

@lamikayty@ I'm in Lagos. I was born and bred in Aba, hence the bias.

Black Man Comes said...

Hence forth, I will speak up.

Tisha said...

I can be a 'shouter' too sometimes
I am barely over five foot
so folks are always surprised
But it hasn't stopped me yet.

lol
I like the comparison between the bus and Nigeria and the fact that we are the ones who will build our nation.

~Sirius~ said...

Awesome post!
Now I'm clueless as to how to voice my own story! *wailing*

Enough is enough. We all have to make a change now. Be like your character and caution people around us and encourage them to caution those around them.

That's the only way change will come.

Freaksho said...

First time i've ever read a post that makes me want to vote.

Muse said...

@blackmancomes: welcome, comrade.

@tisha: babes, the size of the messenger is nothing compared to the weight of her message and the conviction in her heart. whe you speak, we will listen.

@~Sirius~: open your mouth to speak, and it will come to you.

@freaksho: good for you bruv. it's never too late to be a believer.

doll said...

I like this perspective actually..

oluSimeon said...

this is the only bus we have o..
let us all realise that.
well done !

Myne Whitman said...

This was a great post, I have hope in Nigeria sha.

Nonye said...

paints a raw picture of our
dear Nigeria without sentiments

olaoluwatomi said...

I love the picture you painted. Its exactly true! Nice job and thanks for reminding us that if the bus breaks down we are all done for!

olaoluwatomi said...

I love your description! Thanks for reminding us that if the bus breaks down, we are all in trouble.

incoherent said...

we all speak. how many of us are doing? cuz speaking is easy. i do it all the ime. i'd like to get my hands dirty now. can anyone point the way?

bArOquE said...

ka opuo...LET HIM OUT...fantastic analogy you have here...many a times, i have decided to get on another bus, but it seems like on that other bus, i may not have a voice as to what's going on...the ability to NOT join them because we havent beat them YET, is why i am still on this bus...last last, i suppose join hand beat this driver if him 'misdrive' us...God help us all

lani said...

hhmmmmmm .... nice analogy ... we can make it better!!

Naijalines said...

We are indeed the only ones that can drive our nation. Now to navigate a successful route leading us to the promised land, we need a good master driver and plenty petrol.

StandTall-The Activist said...

Yes, no option that to all be part of the revolution

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