Hi guys. Finally I’m back to lagos. Sorry for the “break” in transmission as it were but believe me eh, the trip was worth it. After all, its not every time you get a “4” day public holiday stretch like that so I really had to maximize.
So, how did I spend the Sallah holidays you asked? Hmmmm. Let’s just say I did a lil’ tour of the Eastern part of the country. I zoomed outta lagos on thursday August 8th for Awka, the anambra state capital by road. Didn’t wanna go by air ‘cos it wouldn’t have been palatable to experience the kind of delayed flight I experienced the last time i took a flight to Kano. I was going for a friends wedding in kano on a saturday morning some months ago and due to several flight delays by the airline, I finally got to kano for the wedding around….wait for it………….. 8pm!. I’m pretty sure the grooms wife would have been wondering if I actually came for their wedding or if I came to join them for their honeymoon.
So this time, I was gonna go by road in a comfy 6 passenger Toyota Sienna car. The journey was smooth all the way except for the driver oh. He was looking haggard right from the park. I even thought he was a park tout only for me and the other 5 passengers to see him take the wheel. Dear God, may we arrive in peace” we prayed. But contrary to our thinking, the driver was nothing near a “james bond” driver. The guy was just moving at snail speed. When we asked him to increase his speed a lil’ bit ‘cos he was doing about 8o km/ph, he just said in igbo “where am I rushing to”. Moreover, he wasn’t even familiar with the route. After he missed the U-turn at mile 2, he was practically helpless and clueless as to how to connect back to Apapa – Oshodi express way until I sorted him out. After that, we were well on our way
Did I mention that I got the best seat in the house!……front seat baby. That’s how I like to travel. I really need my leg room and all the space abeg, plus, I could connect my car charger so I didn’t have to bother about low battery on my phone through out the trip. Low battery……..that’s any bloggers nightmare, whether on a laptop or a smartphone. Well, we got to famous Oré, close to benin and that place has just got to be the hub of travellers on the Lagos-Eastern route. Several eateries there but we stopped at one called Vincents. It was a beehive of activities. Oré by location kind of marks the middle point of the journey so it was time to stretch, use the convenience, and yes……….food! Getting there, one would be easily confused as per what to eat cos the options are are plentious but I know what I wanted………….suya! (Not my fault guys, I was born in the north and lived there for about 24 years) However, besides suya, I wanted something else but I just couldn’t put my finger on it until I came across this guy……
Men, you needed to see how industrious he was. He prepared the noodles in a matter of seconds and it was well garnished with eggs, pepper, vegetables and all. I knew I was definitely gonna have me some. Infact, he prepared it so well that a passer-by lady who saw me had to ask where she could get hers. I learnt a lesson from the guy though. Never say that there is no job available. Just admit that you are lazy. Its ridiculous when graduates roam the streets in search of jobs. If you don’t find one, then by all means create one. Starting small is the way up. Remember, if you jump up, you will come down, but if you grow up, you will stay there. Who could have imagined that setting up a noodles hotspot could provide a means of livelihood. You needed to see the queue waiting while he prepared the noodles.
The break was over and we continued the journey but crazy traffic at Benin express way spoilt my mood. We must have been there for almost two hours before the military men sorted the gridlock and we moved. Again as we approached the Benin-Asaba by-pass, the driver zooomed straight ahead instead of making the turn under the bridge. Another passenger in the car had to correct him. It was at that point he opened up that he regularly plys the Lagos-Abuja route and wasn’t too familiar with this route. Imagine! What if none of us knew the way nko?, he might have just driven us to straight to Maiduguri or something.
Well, the rest of the journey was smooth. When we got to Asaba, the driver increased his speed, claiming he was now familiar with the route. At least we could now relax and close our eyes and he could stop using us as GPS. We were approaching Onitsha now and for me, each time I cross the famous Onitsha head bridge, I’m as good as home. Its the feeling you get when you drive past RCCG camp or the statue of the three wise men while approaching lagos. You’re as good as home!
While at Onitsha, I remembered the Gov. Fashola-Peter Obi “deportation” saga ‘cos the “deportees” where dropped at Onitsha and it baffled me why the incident happened in the first place. Remember I said I would share my view about this. First of all, I believe a Nigerian reserves the right to live in any part of the country whether employed or not as long as such a person is not fermenting trouble, and even if the person is a trouble-maker, the appropriate thing would be to hand over such a person or group of persons to the police. We never should have gotten to a point where we “deport” people within their own country. In fact, the choice and use of the word “deport” in this context is even wrong because its a misnomer. Instead of saying those people where deported, I’d rather say that they were “unlawfully re-located”. Several correspondences have gone back and forth on this matter with both state governments pointing accusing fingers at each other but frankly I believe that the act was wrong and shouldn’t be allowed to repeat itself otherwise we will get to a point where one would now need both an international passport and a visa to enter another state within Nigeria to avoid “deportation”
Having said that, did I mention we had two passengers who were twins? Yep twin yoruba girls. Taiwo and kehinde I presume. They dropped off at Onitsha to catch another bus heading to Port-Harcourt. I’m pretty sure they were youth corp members. Our own journey continued and we were now headed to Awka, my destination. A few minutes later, a lady passenger in the vehicle starts asking where she was. When we told her we were about entering Awka, she was furious apparently because the driver didn’t drop her at her designated bus stop. Wasn’t the drivers fault though ‘cos she made the arrangement with the officials of the company back at the park in Lagos and the driver wasn’t informed. I felt pity for her ‘cos she had a baby.
Finally we got to Awka around 6pm or so and in a matter of minutes I was home and dry. It was now time for me to sit back and have myself some fun for the next three days…………….or so I thought.
Part two coming up…..
Thats all for now guys. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to stay tuned for more. Remember, “Every man will have his day”
Johnson Madichie is a social blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria and affects the world from there.
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