Abuja Taxis : Two -in – One

Abuja Taxis: Two –in – One

Abuja taxi drivers are largely intellectuals in their own rights. There is hardly one that does not have a story to tell. They are the true landlords of Abuja. Work often confines different people to specific areas of the city, but they roam free, deciding where to and where not to go.

At the end of the day’s work, your unwinding process may actually begin in the taxi where you are most likely to be treated to the driver’s taste in music. Somehow, a conversation always starts. On one occasion, I decided not to talk. We kept our peace until he yawned and I looked at him. His eyes appeared dilated and half closed. His breath smelt of alcohol. Maybe it did, maybe I panicked. I immediately thought of what would happen if he fell asleep on the wheels. To ensure he did not fall asleep, I opened the conversation myself. I thing he conned me. He sang like a bird the rest of the way.

One told me the only reason he stops at the traffic lights is that the law is made for the poor. He says there are categories of people who can beat the traffic light and the traffic officers who want to keep their jobs would keep their peace. However, the moment a taxi driver beats the light, come the super bikes and the sirens. They drag the poor devil out of the car to the kangaroo roadside court, the presiding judge of which is appointed immediately. There would be no booking, no tickets, no counselling; just pay, pay, pay or remain with them.

Another spoke out of frustration. He said he was surprised that all the people arrested and tried for fraud are still free men. He rates the crime of stealing money from the government worse than armed robbery because it is the stealing that makes the youths jobless and hungry. ‘na who like to steal, carry gun de waka make police de pursue you? Na life be that?’ but wetin all the armed robbers for Nigeria no steal in one year, one politician go take one signature thief am.’ What is the solution then? He says the solution is that everybody should join in the stealing. Some people should not steal and tell the other to be holy. When we steal and steal and there is nothing left to steal, political office would then be a sacrifice. He was in limbo for now waiting for his turn to hold public office, then he would steal his.

When PENGASON announced they were going on strike recently, a taxi driver lamented that he did not fill his tank to last a day or two. His well articulated anger flashed from one recipient to another. He said he listened to the spokesperson of the union who, according to him, could not properly articulate the reason for the strike. One of the reasons supposedly cited was that roads were bad and the tanker drivers were dying. He looked me in the face and said, ‘see who is talking’. Then he went after the government. He said a government that know that petrol supply is one of the weapons used against it will make sure that the whole of Abuja would have more than one NNPC Mega Station. He said the way things stood, he would spend a whole day in the station so he could work the next and repeat that until further notice. Between National Stadium and Wuse, he hissed more than twenty times.

Yet another lamented that in Abuja, there was enough money to buy cars and everyone who owns a car believes it is their right to drive it wherever and however they like. So most accidents are caused by reckless d river, the most common being over speeding and reckless switching of lanes.. he says he still prefers in to Kano where he has to avoid other cars, human traffic as well as horses. He says, ‘you know most of the people that ride the horses are princes and children of very wealthy men. I no wan make anybody bring out dagger take damage my life.’ From that point on he took me on a tour from city to city in Nigeria. Of all of them, he respected Warri most for their supremacy when it comes to criminal activities.

One cab, one tale. Whether or not you want to hear does not count. If you have not been paying attention, perhaps you should. The fares are quite high, so consider the entertainment a part of the package.

2 Comments

  1. Oluwaseun said,

    Lol!!! Typical of cab drivers. They always want to INFORM you of their woes.
    But not everyone of them is that entertaining. There are the good and there are the bad.
    Ever been in a cab whose driver is a cussing machine? He just rolls out the cuss one after the other. I guess entertainment or cussing, they just want the passenger to know that they are unhappy. And do you blame them? Yes and No. Yes ‘cos they allow the environment they are in affect them so much that it influences their person. It changes them not for good but for the bad. and i believe that no human being should be given the right to do so not to talk of circumstances. And No, i dont blame them cos that’s wats happening around them and they should get angry and frustrated with the situation (just not to the point that it makes a bad person out of them. and then they become frustrated and cynical beings which wouldnt change the situation).

  2. Abati, Modupeola Olabisi said,

    Wao!! That’s Nigeria Cab Drivers for you. Abuja drivers always feel they have seen it all, they feel they are the only one at the receiving end of the nagative political and economic blows of Nligeria. They drive around lamenting about the uncomfortable conditiions around them. They intrude the passangers peace with their problems whether the passanger is interested in the tale or not. They pick on issues affecting them, lament on them and you as a passanger has to decide whether to join in the discussion or not because they will surely have a story to either entertain or educate the passanger.

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