Not every time driver did this, conductor did that. Sometimes, passengers, behave yourselves.
One day, on a bus from Obalende, the conductor was collecting fares. At some point, he received a one hundred naira note from a young pregnant female. He asked where she was going and she said Lekki Phase One, and the conductor said her fare was short of fifty naira. She immediately began screaming, saying she had only one hundred naira and he could take it or leave it. The conductor pointed out that he had called out his prices clearly, and so she shouldn’t have entered if she didn’t want to pay. The girl, still screaming like a banshee, said, ‘Can’t you see I’m wearing earpiece?! I didn’t hear you!’
Passengers began piping in: and whose fault is that, they asked. One woman said that she’d noticed the pregnant girl almost get hit by a keke a few minutes ago while they were standing at the bus stop; the pregnant girl hadn’t heard the keke coming because her ears were blocked by the earpiece. An elderly man said with a solemn voice that he’d witnessed an earpiece kill a young man once.
The conductor asked the girl to come down from the bus, but she refused to.
‘I’m not going anywhere!’ she screamed. ‘If you want to beat me, come and try it!’
When the other passengers tried to talk to her she turned on them, and soon she started a fight with the man in the passenger seat in front.
‘I wish you were going to Ajah,’ the man kept saying. ‘You for reach Ajah, then you go know who I be.’
I wondered who exactly he be.
The driver suddenly decided he’d had enough. He stopped the bus to remove the pregnant girl bodily. But he stopped short when his eyes fell on her protruding stomach. He stood silent for a moment.
‘This one na devil temptation,’ he said finally. ‘Touch am now, she fit die.’
‘Na you be devil brother!’ the girl shot back. ‘And na you go die. Bastard!’
The driver got back into the bus and drove off. The pregnant girl carried on, cursing everyone who had spoken to her, and their grandmother.
I was on a bus from Yaba to Obalende. The ride was uneventful, hardly Danfo Chronicles Material. Until we got to Obalende. As the bus came down the bridge, with its door open, the driver and conductor spotted four uniformed policemen, complete with rifles, scanning the approaching buses with hungry eyes. They were looking for buses that would begin letting out passengers before they’d reached the bottom of the bridge and Obalende proper. Both driver and conductor knew what was up, and the conductor quickly shut the door. The policemen eyed our bus as it passed by.
A few metres ahead there was a slight build up of traffic and the bus slowed to a stop.
‘No open that door o,’ the driver barked at the conductor, who nodded.
We were in traffic for a only little while when the other passengers began to get impatient, urging the conductor to open the door. He refused; the policemen were watching. Next thing, we looked up and one of the men sitting in front had opened the passenger side door. He and the passenger next to him got off the bus and sauntered away, with the driver and conductor yelling insults at them as they disappeared amongst the bodies.
Before we knew it, the policemen had swooped in. They commanded all the passengers off the bus, even as the driver pleaded and we explained that it wasn’t the driver’s fault. But the policemen weren’t having it. They were settling into the bus and making themselves comfortable as I walked away.