After several twitches, just when I had gotten a comfort spot on the front seat of the keke Marwa, he leapt suddenly in front of it, threatening to hit its windscreen with his side-handled baton. It was morning hours so the usual scramble for the most available vehicle to various destinations in Lagos was on. Understandingly, people have to leave home in good enough time to meet up with their stipulated official resumption time at the work place.
‘’Park! Park! ’’, he yelled, gesticulating with so much vigor in his arms. The driver slowly pulled over with the shared puzzled look we had all put on. This vehicle is hardly interrupted and even if it is as such in this rare case, why could it possibly be interrupted by no other person than a yellow fever? Mumblings had started to erupt as the tired boots strutted towards us.
‘’Why you carry passenger for front?’’ he barked smugly.
I slowly leaned to catch a glimpse of his face; he was dark, short and slender. His remarks postulated gross desperation. He must be in his late forties and with his coloured frown, one could hardly imagine him smile. I began to wonder, why on earth someone would wake up from the blues and begin to make a big fuse over such a triviality like carrying a person on the passenger seat of a keke Marwa, for instance. It has been seen here and there, how passengers are transported in this way without the authorities raising an eye brow.
‘’Ah Ah oga, no be today we just dey carry passenger for front now, even D.P.O know say we dey carry am!” said the driver, trying to speak in defense of his action.
“Ehen, D.P.O know say una dey carry am abi? You go follow me go meet D.P.O make you come repeat this statement?”
“What is the problem oga? After all, other riders have been passing via this route since morning carrying passengers in front” a hulking man in his mid fifties retorted from inside the Keke.
“Look!” Another fuming passenger pointed, beckoning the officer; “that’s another one with a passenger in front-that makes it the sixth! Why won’t you arrest those ones?”
“It is none of your business, just come down! All of you! And enter another vehicle, you cannot teach me how to do my job!” he remarked irritably.
The driver at this point had retrieved his phone from his tricycle’s dashboard, and called the chairman. He also threw a few yells to alert his oncoming colleagues as well. They were seemingly startled by the officer’s recalcitrant disposition except for the fact that they acknowledged the unpredictability of uniformed men. Most of them simply tossed weird glances the warden’s way, derisively accompanied by three criss-crossed claps and shrugged before they zoomed off. A few brave ones dared hurl some abuses only after they had passed the yellow fever man.
ith so much rapidly growing impatience, the man in his mid-fifties had started to raise his voice in a desperate move to find an end to the impasse;
“Why wouldn’t you consider us? You are intentionally delaying us and this is illegal and unacceptable, why don’t you tell the driver what exactly he has done wrong so that both of you can settle this issue amicably and let us be on our way, you are too old to be this unreasonable and adamant!”
At this, the infuriated officer turned in a fierce rage
“You are a stupid man, what is your business? I will deal with you…”
“You cannot do anything and you do not have the right to deal with me, ok? You can do nothing, and I will make sure that I report you. As old as you are nonsense!”
Fuelled with outrage, the man in his mid-fifties promptly lugged himself out of the tricycle, in the direction of the warden’s gum-chewing fellow officer, who had turned to watch the ensuing drama.
“Go! You must be stupid for talking to me like that… I will make sure you do not follow this vehicle. Everybody can go. Driver, start the engine and move, but he must not follow you. Look at him, he’s conversing with her, she’s my colleague and not my superior, we both have equal ranks!” He yelled from a distance.
The driver had lit the engine and parked a little farther, waiting for his rabble-rousing passenger to return. As he approached us, the officer sprang out from his veil spot and roared:
“Wetin I tell you? I talk say you no go carry this man, you wan make I vex collect your key now, abi?”
“Officer, I sabi this man well well, na dem Alausa people o…! He fit copy your number carry am go … the driver whispered to him.
Instantly, almost revealing his new fright, the officer deftly stepped aside and hurled more invectives as we zoomed off.
midst the tumultuous discussion that followed between the other passengers, I tapped the driver’s chuckling shoulder and asked with much curiosity:
“Why him stop you sef?”
“No mind the foolish old man o, him talk say him wan carry me go meet DPO wey all of us dey deliver to everyday-Na thief! Na because I never give am him morning dose.” He replied, obviously excited at the opportunity to finally vent his feelings to someone.