Ikeja!!! Ikeja!!! Ikeja!!! The bus conductor shouted himself hoarse. The wrinkles on his face looked like they had just settled a major argument about which of them could trap more sweat than the other. He went for his once white t-shirt. Sensing it was heading for another massive face wipe, the t-shirt ducked but not enough to escape those veined hands that had skillfully requisitioned different shades of currency over the years. Our eyes locked for a second “bros I hail o” I offered. “Oga wash ya front meh you nor for jsham me o, me nor dey di mood na!” he fired back at me. Hmmm, I smiled. Lagos conductor, Warri flavour!
At the ratio of about 70 commuters to a bus, the crowd at the bus stop was intimidating. They pulled the conductor down even before he had a chance to drop. He screamed and kicked, the crowd kicked back. It was already 10.30pm and many of the passengers were still going as far as Alagbado. Suddenly, the traffic began to ease out. I hissed to think I was going to miss “my guy’s” reaction to the crowd’s onslaught. But not to worry, In Lagos there’s always a street film showing every other day.
I know I ‘m supposed to mind my business on the road but sometimes I can’t help it. See, I make a living developing content and brand direction for clients and since many of them insist on originality, I have trained myself and my team to keep both eyes and ears peeled. You never know where the next big idea could pop from. Tonight, however, only one word kept coming to my mind…OPPORTUNITY, OPPORTUNITY, OPPORTUNITY!
Maybe I should quickly let you know that I’m not new to the bus stop life. I didn’t come to Lagos with a Silver spoon. I bought my own spoon in the market. I can therefore write a whole book on BUS STOP DYNAMICS Inspired by what transpired earlier, I have penned down a few life lessons I hope would inspire you just as it has inspired me:
6 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAGOS BUS STOP
- It’s not always how aggressive you are that determines if you would get a seat on the bus. Occasionally the bus stops right in front of someone who didn’t even lift a foot. LESSON: In life, sometimes it’s not about how hard you struggle, it’s about time and chance.
- Guard your pockets and bags! While struggling to get on a bus, some touts are busy picking people’s pockets. LESSON: When looking for new opportunities, don’t lose sight of old opportunities. You may still need them.
- One time I almost killed myself trying to get into the back and middle seats of a bus only to realize there was an empty seat just by the driver (premium seat). LESSON: When it comes to opportunities, assumption is the lowest form of knowledge
- In the midst of the scuffles and loud arguments you’ll be surprised to find one or two passengers sleeping away in the bus, oblivious of happenings around. LESSON: In the middle of life’s turbulence and troubles, it is still possible to find peace
- I was born in the north. Over there, it’s not a big deal for buses to reverse and pick passengers. In Lagos the case is different – we run after buses! LESSON: Opportunities won’t always come looking for you – you need to go out there and look for them!
- My name is Emmanuel Effiong-Bright. I’m honored to have married a woman who taught me to look out for children, the aged and the pregnant when driving. “Give them a lift”, she says. This group are the most vulnerable in a bus stop scramble. LESSON: There are some people who just don’t know how to access opportunities, it behoves on you and I to hold their hands and DRIVE them towards their destiny or DESTINATION.
Article written by Emmanuel Effiong-Bright