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“Owerri, Onitsha, Aba!”
The park boys cried out, as soon as you
alighted from an Okada at Maza maza
park. They hovered around you like
fruitflies buzzing around rotten
“First lady, wia you dey go? See clean
bus hia! Chasis!”
“Leave my bag alone,” you snarled at
an overzealous baggageman tugging
on your baggage.
“Tomato Jos, come see better bus.”
Aww… That high-and-mighty feeling
when a bunch of men fawn over you.
Business aside, you secretly hoped they
meant every bit of it.
“ Mummy mara mma, bia godu ka m
gosi gi first bus. Come, nne come, we
will take care of you .”
Another older stocky man said in low
tones; he had a fatherly presence.
“ I’m going to Owerri. And first bus
please,” you said to him.
Without saying a word, he picked up
your bags and nudged you to follow
him, as if your consent didn’t matter.
If appearances are anything to go by,
the stocky man seemed upright. So you
allowed him lead you into the busy
park, until you arrived at this decent-
looking bus company. The company
signpost read: “ Testimony motors
(Merry Christmas) ”
The girl at the ticketing counter
replied to your barrage of scrutinizing
questions, just like an interview. Of
course, why shouldn’t she? If a
whooping N10,000 was to be paid
from Lagos to Owerri, one’s comfort
should be paramount.
“ Walahi madam, goan ask people, this
our bus is the best.”
“ I need to know if it has TV and AC.”
She popped her gum for a moment
and idly flipped through the tickets
slip book before replying,
“ See the bus outside there, you can
goan check sef. What’s your name and
phone number ma?” She mumbled
“ Hold on, what seat number is written
on that ticket? Because I can’t stand
“Don’t worry ma. It’s window seat.”
The journey began with moodiness
and painful regrets.
First of all, you lost your voice while
haranguing motor park boys over
extra charges demanded for your bags.
This was the scenario:
“ Madam, you no dey go anywia if you
no give us 1500 for load! See okporoko
and crayfish wey u carry.” One ugly
face said recklessly.
“ And e dey smell o.” Another of his
kind chimed in.
It was the same bunch of rascals who
called you “ pretty” and almost kissed
your feet just minutes ago. So you went
into full street mode, swearing on your
great grandpa’s balls that no extra
dime would come from you, even if
other passengers complied. And yes
they all eventually did – cowards! In
fact, their sneers and murmurings
spelt “ trouble woman .”
“ Then refund me!” You yelled out your
lungs repeatedly, but instead it elicited
laughs from the baboons at the park.
They amused themselves by
questioning your sanity.
The tough-sounding driver also
threatened to drive off without “ that
mad woman ” – as he had described
“ It is your illiterate wife at home that
has loose nuts in her brain.”
You shot back.
“ Dey dia dey speak grammar. Onye ara
na-aga Owerri igba Christmas.” (Mad
woman travelling to Owerri for
He brashly retorted aloud, bringing
down the entire park with laughter.
When it dawned on you that you’d lost
the battle, you marched off to the
lounge area to fish out the elderly man
whose candour won your patronage.
Much to your dismay, instead of
intervening, the stocky man played
Pontius Pilate on you and immediately
concerned himself with other duties.
Just another conspiring old cargo you
hissed, as you sashayed back to the bus
– your eyes welling up. Before the
rascals leaning on the bus, you dug
into your handbag and tossed the
baggage money at them.
“ Take, go feed your children!”
Now in the jam-packed bus, wincing
and grappling with the pathetic state
of the bus, all you could think of was
that dishonest gum popping cashier.
Where was her conscience when she
lied through her teeth, assuring you of
a luxurious trip?
Because from the look of things, the AC
fitting and the dead TV in the bus
were apparently for fancy. Worse still,
the hard seat rubbing against your
spine should be carrying goods, not
east-bound human beings. To add to
your piled up frustration, the start and
quench bus only moved by His grace.
And you know you’re doomed when
sunset meets you at Ore.