True Nigerian Transport Stories – Episode 1

True Nigerian Transport Stories – Episode 1

These stories are true life experiences i’ve had while in Public Transport on our beloved Nigerian Roads. Although its based on true occurrences, poetic license is used where necessary.

Its late Saturday morning and I decided to embark on a journey from location 1 (my house) to location 4 (my destination). There are also locations 2 and 3 which represent the bus stops in between my home and destination. Location 0 also features in this story but it is not along the route of my journey.

The journey started out uneventful, only punctuated with semi-normal occurrences such as taxi drivers driving recklessly, burial crews hanging out of windows and boots as well as sitting on the roofs of moving vehicles while passing, Church goers shoving fliers for their upcoming programs in the faces of passengers in moving vehicles, etc. All in all, a normal journey. The only comic relief came when one of the “flier peddlers”, after giving the guy sitting beside a copy, noticed that he immediately began fanning himself with it. In a move which must have been to salvage the situation, he made a sweeping statement that “next year, na A/C go dey blow you for your office”. My neighbors simple response to this was “That one sef dey” and he resumed fanning himself. For some reason this cracked me up and it took a while before I could control my laughter.

A few minutes later, I was at location 4 and I alighted from the taxi with my belongings and two fliers inviting me to the same program.

After finishing up what I went to do at location 4, it was time to enter our beloved Nigerian Roads again on my way back home. Now, this is where all the “fun” began.

Location 4 was a beehive of activity made ever more evident by the cacophony all around; the source of which cause was soon evident. There was an abundance of passengers and no taxi/bus in sight. The few that came saw people rush to enter and those not quick enough are left behind. After a couple of minutes of standing and waiting, a taxi stopped right in front of me with space for only one passenger and I quickly hopped in.

First thing I noticed once in the taxi was that it seemed too small. We were just 3 passengers at the back, and yet there didn’t seem to be sufficient room for us to sit with any modicum of comfort. My shoulder was effectively glued to that of my immediate neighbor and I had began to notice the tell-tale signs of loss of blood flow to my left leg. I took this all in stride and decided endure till I get to location 3. This wasn’t the most uncomfortable vehicle I had been in after all … and then the talking began.

I guess they had been talking all along but I hadn’t paid notice because at the time, I had more pressing matters to attend to. Ordinarily, others talking doesn’t bother me while using public transportation. Even when they are speaking a language which I don’t understand, I just tend to tune it out and look at something interesting outside the window or look into my mind for something to distract myself with. When they use a loud voice while talking though, especially while in a “hold up” situation, I begin to get irritated. I get even more irked if the person talking the most is sitting right beside me and since our shoulders are glued together, whatever animated movement that is made to punctuate the strange sounding conversation is immediately transmitted to my shoulder.

Now imagine having all these factors rolled up into one and dished to you in a taxi from location 4 en-route to location 3. That was the situation I found myself in and there seemed to be no way out.

About halfway into the journey, after spending almost 20minutes barely moving on the express way, my neighbor seemed to realized that we were moving nowhere fast and she asked the all important question “What is causing this sef?”. Ah! Finally something I can understand. Better still, probably because she was waiting for a response or maybe she was using the opportunity to rest from all the talking, I got some much needed peace and quiet… then the singing began.

At a point, I convinced myself that I was an unwilling participant in MTV’s “Boiling Point” show and any moment now, this woman beside me would tap me and say something like “Since you have been so patient, we are awarding you $100 cos you’ve just been a participant on MTV’s boiling point!”, and the whole taxi would erupt in cheers and laughter.

No such luck.

I persevered though, half hoping to be rewarded with $100 dollars sometime before getting to my destination. Finally, I got to location 3 and a feeling of both relief (from the noise and overall situation) and disappointment (from not getting any money for my effort), I alighted and almost fell down.

Now, If you are a keen reader, you would remember where I mentioned that blood was not circulating into my left leg as a result of my sitting position. Well, by the time we got to location 3, I couldn’t feel my left leg at all. I had the sinking feeling for half a second after I got off the taxi that there was nothing there and then I looked down to find it there, on the ground already no less, but with absolutely no feedback. I stood right there on the side of the road, not daring to move until about half a minute later when I began getting some sensation back in my leg. I had to stand and do a little walk about like a cripple for another minute or so before regaining full sensation and function in my left leg. At least, I got to location 3 in one piece. Now, to go from 3 to 2. I believed the worst was behind me and I was in for another session of uneventful travel till I get back home.

I was so wrong.

To be continued…

image courtesy Sunday Alamba on Flickr



27 thoughts on “True Nigerian Transport Stories – Episode 1” by muyiscoi (@muyiscoi)

  1. “from location 1 (my house) to location 4 (my destination)”

    Hmm. That line raised my eyebrow. Hm.

    Nice story. Nice. I think it was intense…I like the part where you took us back to where you spoke about your ‘bloodless leg’…

    Waiting on the next part..

  2. @Muyiscoi, nothing so captivating about your story. There are lots of errors, too. Both in the use of tenses (Like in the first sentence of your story), sentence structuring and in the typing. The use of location 1,2, e.t.c lowered the quality of your work.

    You still have a lot of work to do.

    1. The usage of “location 1,2, etc.” was done so as to not burden the reader with the task of reading street names that might be difficult to pronounce, thereby detracting from the main story.
      It would be really helpful if you could point out examples of the errors you alluded to instead of just making a blanket reference.
      Thanks for the feedback. Always appreciated.

      1. Always remember that not every critic is right. Don’t agree with everything.
        Your story was really very good. There is nothing wrong at all with your use of location 1-4. Street names woudnt have made the story better.

    2. @electricity, you ά̲̣яε wrong. This story is quite good. You made it look like trash.
      You get luck say no be me write am…

      1. @Kaycee, everyone to his opinion. It didn’t read smooth for me. And if you write this way, you know now, I’ll lash you.

        1. I think there is a fine line between critical and just being mean. I think you almost crossed that line here. Judging by some of the other comments you’ve made here on NS, it seems you tend to do that a lot. You might be a much better writer than most of us here but that should be an avenue for you to help to build up the inexperienced ones and not an opportunity to lash out at them with discouraging sentences like “…nothing so captivating about your story”. I think you should review the way you critique the work of others so as to help and not inadvertently harm them.

          1. @Muyiscoi, here in NS, you don’t have to be angry with anything at all. If we’re perfect, we definitely won’t be here. If only you know the way I used to be corrected when I came in here, then you’ll know that at times, it’s the best way to make you try harder. I didn’t mean to be mean anyway (doo, if you’re offended) I only did it out of intense love for you, O°?

            1. lol. okay oh. no hard feelings :D

            2. Elektria!!!!

              Hmm. We need to have a conversation – you and I.

  3. “It is late Saturday and I decided…”

    “Now this is all where the “fun” began.”

    “…the source of which cause was soon evident.”

    “There was an abundance of passengers…”

    “The few that came saw people rush to enter and those not quick enough are left behind.”

    “A taxi came in front of me with space for only one passenger…”

    “…to that of my immediate neighbour and I had began to…”

    “I took this all in stride…”

    “…and decided endure till…”

    “Ordinarily, others talking doesn’t bother me…”

    “…my neighbour seemed to realise…”

    1. thanks a lot. I think i get the picture now. I messed up the tenses quite a bit. Hopefully, there would be no such mistakes in the Episode 2.

      Once again, thanks for the feedback. Always appreciated.

      1. You are welcome but let me still give you my opinion. The concept is really nice and I absolutely love the style of telling it. However, I must say it still needs a lot of work to shine. Aside the errors, you didn’t develop the places you wanted us to laugh well…and you ended up doing the laughter for us…in the story. Again, I expect you to allow us to catch the fun ourselves and not cajole us to do so.

        I also feel the way you developed your sentences were kind of disjointed, in the sense that they seemed to be constructed by two different writers; one sophisticated, the other rudimentary. Look into this.

        Nevertheless, there is much promise and I believe episode 2 would blow my mind away.

        Nice one.

  4. @chemokopi, like the way you pointed out all the mistakes. Nice work. Mr. Muyiscoi, the story is ok. I liked it. But address the errors pointed out.

    1. @guywriterer: Thanks. We should be eachone’s sharpening iron.

  5. I think the street names, no matter how hard they are to pronounce would have made the work real. Just work on the mistakes and be a little more graphically descriptive.

  6. Ditto on what has been said. But I did enjoy certain bits of the piece and look forward to reading what happens next…

  7. thanks everyone for helpful comments and criticisms. I have tried to solve all the issues raised here that I encountered in episode 2 and have submitted it on NS. So, I’m sure it would become available soon. Please check it out when it is and let me know if you still notice any issues … apart from the story that is :)

  8. I ditto chemo. The humour was not clear. You know how to keep people in suspence but you need to reward us with an ‘explosion’. I thought you would have describbed the woman as maybe fat, with her armpit muscularly caressing your shoulder. Maybe describe her eating groundnut and spraying it all over when she speaks……

    I’m not telling how to write your story, i’m just saying that something ‘like’ the above will give room for better imagery, humour, and itl be a more realistic reason to vex. I hope you understand the angle im coming from.
    Aside that, it was cool. Loved the use of destination 1……. And i must commend your ability to sucessfuy build suspence, even though we weren’t rewarded. I’ll be waiting for the next.

  9. I ditto chemo. The humour was not clear. You know how to keep people in suspence but you need to reward us with an ‘explosion’. I thought you would have described the woman as maybe fat, with her armpit muscularly caressing your shoulder. Maybe describe her eating groundnut and spraying it all over when she speaks……

    I’m not telling how to write your story, i’m just saying that something ‘like’ the above will give room for better imagery, humour, and itl be a more realistic reason to vex. I hope you understand the angle im coming from.
    Aside that, it was cool. Loved the use of destination 1……. And i must commend your ability to sucessfuy build suspence, even though we weren’t rewarded. I’ll be waiting for the next.

  10. The idea behind the story is a good one, but the narrative from the point the MC enters the taxi to go from location 4 to location 3 has many more words than are necessary. For example, in the last paragraph, you shouldn’t need to say

    “Now, If you are a keen reader, you would remember where I mentioned that blood was not circulating into my left leg as a result of my sitting position. Well, by the time we got to location 3, I couldn’t feel my left leg at all. “

    Something like “The loss of feeling in my left leg had continued so that by the time I got to location 3, I couldn’t feel anything.” would be more concise.

  11. Let me not add anything more to this. Chemo, Tola and Kaycee(even if his sarcasm, again, shone through) have said all that needs to be said. Work more on all they pointed out and you’ll definitely get better. Cheers!

  12. I honestly thought I was going to read something witty about our transportation system as the title is quite catchy but I didn’t. I think the first part of gooseberry’s comment sort of sums up my thoughts on this. Give more descriptions as it keeps the imagination active and makes the story more interesting.

    i also agree with elektrica. I think using street names would have been better as it would have given the story more appeal especially as it was in the first paragraph. I almost didn’t continue reading the story after i saw the location 1 to location 4. As a story teller, you have to give us the full gist. This is just my opinion anyway and it’s your story so in the end you know what you want to do.

    Anyway, there’s no need pointing out other errors since others have done that and you said you’ve taken it in stride. I hope the second part gives me that wow factor though.

  13. I share the same view as others with respect to ‘locations 0-4. Imagine referring to people in like manner. It show total disregard and in turn dwindles their interest in the story. He who is well advised is a king… You’ll surely get better.

  14. It’s not often that we see a series that hopes to capture events in Nigeria in an entertaining manner, and for that alone, I salute you, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the episodes to come.

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