“Drinks on Me Everyone!”

My DANfo diARY

This new idea of a Danfo Diary reminds me of an experience back in school, not a direct one though.

That day I stood alongside about five or six other course-mates waiting for an Iyana-Ipaja bound bus at the famous Ogba junction by Tantalizers. It was about seven o’clock already with a crowd milling and no bus in sight. A few impatient passengers had gone on to join the Agege-Pen Cinema buses. We stood resolute.

Suddenly this 22-seater bus arrived with the driver shouting ‘Iyana Ipaja, wole pelu shengi e’ (board with exact fare). Getting in was like passing the narrow road into heaven so yours truly stood back. Well, four of my colleagues – Peju, Femi, Anu and Mary, got on the ride. And they left. Of course I did not pass the night at the bus-stop. We only arrived home at different times. Hours apart.

Next morning in class, I heard the most amazing Danfo tale ever. Two passengers – a man and lady, had gotten into a heated argument and took out each other’s spouses (who were absent). The man was determined to show the woman he was THE man better than her husband so he offered to pay everyone’s fare in the bus. I’m not kidding you. This guy shelled out N2100 (which could have paid his cab fare) being payment for all 22 passengers excluding the woman. When the woman wouldn’t stop calling him names even after his Samaritan act, he upped the ante by asking everyone to call hawkers around and request for whatever they wanted!!! I so missed.

Trust my guys, Anu and Femi as they screamed for La Casera and Gala. It took my girls, Peju and Mary to stop them from ordering for everyone on board. Now guys, seriously, what manner of ‘shina’ was that? Couldn’t that guy have saved the splurge for his family or take a cab alternatively? Must Nigerians show off or what’s with the gender rivalry? Answers please.

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In the beginning…

Okay, this is where I don’t get to be a journalist. I’m just going to write. If you had thought before now that journalists and writers are same, I hope you get the subtle hint.

For starters, I’ll begin with definitions. This is to help Non-Nigerians and Nigerians (you never can tell) who are not familiar with the word or meaning of Danfo. Danfo is what we call the intra-city commuter buses. They are the yellow buses that transport people within Lagos metropolis and by extension, outside the state, sometimes. There are 14 and 18-seater Danfos but for the sake  of this discuss, we’ll extend Danfo to mean all public buses regardless of the number of seats – molue, coaster… and all public buses plying Nigerian roads. Feel free to educate us on what you call them in your local parlance.

In the past, I’ve had loads of experiences patronizing these buses but my consecutive experience last Wednesday and Thursday were overwhelming. It was such that I ranted through the rides on Twitter and decided I was going to create this special column and let out all the thoughts that flew past my head. Feel free to vent if you recall interesting Danfo experiences too. The aim is to build a community of Danfo commuters and Drivers helping one another get along in our busy world. On this note, I welcome you to My DANfo diARY.

Background Photo credit to wandewonder.wordpress

Whose Phone is the Loudest?

Tell them o!

My Danfo Diary

I got out of the house pretty early that Thursday. I was to have a shoot around different locations from Palmgrove, to Ogunlana and finally Chevron, Lekki.  Call-time was 7.30a.m and since I was leading the crew, lateness wasn’t an option. So I got into an Ikeja bound bus fairly early enough, glad and silently hoping yesterday’s preacher (read post here) wouldn’t catch up with me (Thunder mustn’t strike in same place twice). Thankfully, it didn’t happen. This was what happened.

I found myself by the window side again but this time in the last row (which I usually don’t favour). Barely had we moved when the guy two seats away from me (it’s always the guys *eye roll*) turned on his phone Music Player. I wondered why we all had to listen to Wizkid and the likes so early in the morning. Whatever happened to Don Moen and Darlene Zsech *Mscheew. Well, this was better that listening to an angry preacher, I thought to myself.

Less than twenty minutes into the ride, this Christian bro (must be a bro, and yes, another guy) retaliated with his own Christian collection (mostly Yoruba though). I couldn’t believe my ears. The responder was seated directly in front of the ‘initiator’. Both turned phones on speaker and the mix was unbelievable. It looked like a competition was on. Either the ‘Whose phone is the loudest’ contest or ‘Whose music collection is the baddest’. It was an 18-seater bus but the closeness of the two DJs weren’t helpful at all. Thankfully, traffic was helpful. Wheeew! Couldn’t wait to get off the ride! But seriously, this is a special plea, call it a public service announcement, to people who always feel the need to share their music collection with fellow riders. Unless, when solicited for, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT play your music on speaker. Get ear phones. They are cheap. And when you forget them at home before getting on the bus, please suffer in silence. Thank you!

“The Wrath of God is Upon You!”

A bus preacher in Accra, Ghana

My DANfo DiARY

Dateline: Wednesday, 10th October 2012
Route: Abesan Estate to Ikeja ‘Inside’.
Time: 7.30a.m

Last week was a sad one for me. It began with a Service of Songs on Monday for my departed boss (find his tribute here) and then a Candle Light procession, still in his honour, at Ojez, Stadium, Lagos. Visibly mourning, I set out for work that Wednesday from my parents’ in Abesan Estate. After the tussle for a seat on the bus, just outside the estate, I heard ‘Praise the Lord’! I responded quietly having been meditating on God myself. After the normal introductory, this ‘Evangelist’ sitting in the last row started a popular praise song. Either every other person in the bus were mourning too, or were going through their own difficult times, ‘cos almost nobody joined this preacher and that was the beginning of his frustration.

“I don’t know who you are. If you are big, you are big in your house and not before God. You have to respect God. Anytime you hear the name of God you must respond.” No be small vexing. It was at this point I turned around from my window seat to find the face of the self-appointed accuser.

As we all got him started on the wrong note, we were all severely punished. Bad enough was the co-operation he got from the traffic that turned 45mins ride into over two and half hours. He condemned and threatened everyone with hell fire hammering on adultery and fornicating. ‘The wrath of God is upon you’, he kept screaming. His voice needed no microphone. The torture was visible with nearly everyone turning around and murmuring under their breath. I plugged in my earphones and tried to hum my gospel songs yet I couldn’t help hearing the condemnations. I came short of telling him off, even as a Christian. This was so unfair.
When he finished with the adulterers and fornicators, he moved to marriageable ladies that were still single. He took us up from our make-up, to trousers, weaves and attachments. Naming the headquarters of the marine kingdom in Iyana-Ipaja, he reiterated that all of these cosmetics originated from the occult world and were responsible for the wet dreams, spirit husbands, and all sorts of MFM-like sounding phrases which he used to describe the post-effect of make-overs. I hear wheeen.

For the first time in my life, I propose that a legislation binding hawking and preaching in commercial vehicles be effected. Sales should be made in no more than 20minutes selling time, maximum. If I felt so offended with my earphones on and as a Christian, how much more others of a different faith who were compelled to be in the same vehicle with that preacher and couldn’t get off for fear of getting late to work? This is my belief: whatever message that can’t be sold in love, doesn’t deserve a hearing. It’s called the gospel and it means ‘Good News’. You will agree with me that there is nothing good in condemnation and accusation. When that woman caught in the act of sex was brought out for stoning, what did Jesus say? He said, “Let he who is without a sin cast the first stone”. And soon, the woman was left standing alone. And Jesus said, “Where are thine accusers? If no one condemns you, neither do I. Go and sin no more”

The souls that cannot be won with love cannot be won at all. – Lolade Sowoolu