What I did after a Traffic Warden seized my Driver’s Licence

traffic wardenWhen I was learning to drive in my late teens, the ‘qualified’ driving instructor advised that while driving I must assume that everyone else is drunk. Why? The logic was that if they were actually drunk then they wouldn’t drive properly. This would mean that they could run into me so I would have to be extra alert and preempt unforeseen accidents or close shaves. Unfortunately these words of wisdom didn’t pay off when I (allegedly) beat a non-existent traffic light and got stopped by a drunk traffic warden.

The uniformed clown had actually beckoned the vehicle right in front of me to drive forward so I tailed it closely. Obviously I wasn’t close enough else I would have smashed the warden’s legs. I said to him, ‘But you told me to come’. However he denied it and said he told me to stop. He looked at me in shock when I started raising my voice and so he directed me to ‘park well’ (away from oncoming traffic). He came to the front passenger window and started to engage me in shit-chat (no typo) which I’ve heard all before. It started with, ‘Let me see your driver’s licence!’ Then after I handed it over and he pretended to understand what he was examining, the next thing he said was, ‘Open your door.’

‘What the hell for?’ I retorted.

‘Look here, if you don’t want me to take your car to the station then open your door now’

I turned away from him and stared intently at my two hands firmly placed on the steering wheel, like a racer waiting for the starting pistol to be fired. I weighed my options: He gets in. We drive to the station. My car gets clamped. I pay a heavy fine and bank account bleeds. Total time wasted = 45mins to 1 hour.

I decided to go for my next option – I sped off and let the traffic warden choke on my dust! No money lost. Car is safe. Total time wasted = 3 mins. But as I let the adrenaline wear off it suddenly dawned on me that my driver’s licence was still in that traffic warden’s hand! not a photocopy…MY ORIGINAL DRIVER’S LICENCE – DAMN IT!!! (To be continued)

All agitating Biafrans should take a minute to read this…

 

188. RFK: On the mindless menace of violence

5 Easy Ways To Remain Sane in Nigeria

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Avoid Nigerian news like the plague This includes reading the local newspapers or listening to local news on the radio or watching local news on TV. An overdose of ‘corruption’ news could impair your judgment in day-to-day activities and lead … Continue reading

How things should change in Nigeria: A quick guide

Nigerian National anthemIn my previous post where I wrote on ‘The Nigerian Way’ I shared some personal experiences of bad attitudes in Nigeria. I concluded that post by hinting at some practical measures to correct the negative behaviour. In this post I will highlight and elaborate on how things should begin to change in Nigeria: Continue reading

The Initiation: What it means to cut your hand in Nigeria (Pt.2)

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I stepped out of my car and went back into the bank premises, watching the security guard suspiciously as I walked past him and into the trap door (Note to self – bring garlic to work tomorrow). I don’t recall … Continue reading

The Initiation: What it means to cut your hand in Nigeria (Pt.1)

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Dear readers, As I think back to the time when I returned from London after ten years of work experience to settle in Nigeria, I marvel at how much of the local lingo I’ve learnt e.g. To ‘trafficate’ is to … Continue reading

Lassa Fever outbreak in Nigeria

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In the last 6 weeks the Federal Government of Nigeria has sensitized its citizens about the spread of the acute virus which currently has been reported in 10 states namely Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and … Continue reading

How to cope with Traffic on Third Mainland Bridge

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Mindfullness_angry_driverDear motorists of 3RDMB,

When I see you in traffic every evening during the week I see the frustration in your faces. I see the hurt in your bloodshot eyes (from staring too long at brake lights). I feel the pain in your arms (from latching unto your steering wheels for 2 hours). It’s insane to say the least. On 3RDMB rush hour in the morning is between 5.45 and 10am while in the evening it’s typically between 6.30 and 9.30 pm. After 7 years of being a victim of locomotion (loco as in ‘crazy’ in Spanish) and getting high on ‘secondhand exhaust fumes’ I believe at this point it is my civil duty to share how you can cope with the menace that is the traffic on 3RDMB:

Rule 1: Wise up

I hate unpleasant surprises; 3RDMB being in my top 3. That’s why I log in to GIDITRAFFIC, TSABOIN TRAFFIC TALK and TRAFFICBUTTER APP on Twitter for the latest updates on all my routes out of the Mad Arena more commonly known as the Marina. These info sources are a Godsend if you have access to the Internet and want online real-time news about the state of traffic on all major Lagos routes. If you’re more of the radio listening type you can tune in to 96.1 Traffic FM and get the scoop there. Even if all your other alternative routes are experiencing traffic at least you’ll know which one has that broken down trailer blocking two-thirds of the three-lane road!!! Don’t drive off without getting your traffic information right or you’ll be singing ‘Bumper to bumper’ @wandecoal

Rule 2: Snack up

If you’re driving a brand new car and your rule of thumb is never to eat in it then think again. Motorists would agree that by the time you’re motionless on 3RDMB at about 9.30pm and you start nodding off to sleep on the wheel, you’re gonna need more than your stereo to keep you awake. But help is on the bridge. They roam the tarmac with multiple bags of popcorn, cartons of plantain chips and other munchies. I call these heroes Teenage Hell-bent Ninja Hawkers. Have you seen them run after motorists to make that sale? Usain Bolt aint got nothing on these guys and I say that boldly because he’s not running between the narrow spaces of moving trucks and danfo buses. If you haven’t noticed them by now then they’re better ninjas than I thought. The first set of hawkers when you get close to the UniLag waterfront section of 3RDMB sell Popcorn. A few 100 metres down the bridge you begin to see plantain chips and the occasional coconut chips and chin-chin. If you still haven’t made up your mind about what snack you want after this point then get ready for…(drumroll)…Rat poison. I still don’t get the connection and I’ve debated this severally with my passengers. Why have snacks, drinks and rat poison sold in that order? Don’t ask me. Ask the Teenage Hell-bent Ninja Hawkers. I’m yet to see a rat invasion at the end of 3RDMB so for now I ain’t buying.

Rule 3: Wind up

Last but not least, switch on that air conditioning and wind up your windows. Why? Because this is Lagos where open car windows are an invitation to robbery attacks. Some of the hawkers I mentioned earlier are informants and robbers in disguise. That said, keep your windows low enough to let your snack have easy access into your car and then wind up immediately you’ve paid the hawker. This is no time to be a cheapskate with your fuel consumption. ‘Ember’ months are in and the armed robbers are out. So unless you’ve got a car with external gadgets to apprehend or maim your attackers, EVERYBODY’S WINDOWS GO UP!….AND THEY STAY THERE! AND THEY STAY THERE! AND THEY STAY THERE! NOT DOWN, NOT DOWN, NOT DOWN or all you do is SCREAM, SCREAM, SCREAM lol.

Even as I type this article on this fine Saturday I’m already dreading 3RDMB blues which set in round about 5pm every week day. Well, it is what it is. Remember, Wise up, Snack up and Wind up.

Till Monday when I see you on the bridge, this is the Crazy Nigerian zooming off!

Fight the power!

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It feels like just yesterday when I was told by my guardian in Lagos that I was being shipped off yet again but this time to my new owner. I was excited. I was finally going to be out of my carton box and into the hands of the next doctor, lawyer, architect, or Nobel Prize winner. I expected so much but I equally had so much to offer. You see, my parents (Hewlett and Packard) sent me out to make a difference in someone’s life. Among my friends, SONY, Dell, Asus, Samsung and LG I was the ENVY of the pack: with my soft touch backlit keyboard, chrome finish, Beats Audio, fingerprint scan, 12GB RAM and 1 Terabyte of storage.

The hot climate of Nigeria has been nothing like the cool US climate I’ve been accustomed to from birth. I’ve even heard rumours before my arrival in that the Internet connectivity in Nigeria was slow and that data bundles usually got depleted quickly. I even heard that WiFi wasn’t common in a lot of urban areas – that’s unthinkable. I wondered what my new owner would be like. After I arrived at a high-rise building on the Marina skyline I wondered if I was on my way to the CEO!

My first impression when my carton box opened and I saw this bald guy with glasses beaming down at me I thought, ‘Who the heck is this bald guy with glasses beaming down at me?’ ‘Does this guy have big teeth or is he just really happy to see me?’ ‘Is he handling me with extreme care or is he touching me inappropriately?’ ‘Look at his desk?’ ‘I hope this guy is the one who’s only going to charge me up and hand me over to my true owner’. Alas, after the whole ceremony of his colleagues coming to pet me (and congratulate him), I realized that wherever this guy was taking me after work would be my new home, whether I liked it or not. But I had a backup plan.

There was this thing one of the other laptops in my former warehouse told me – If you didn’t like a particular owner fight the power button. Basically if someone tried to press the power button after a full charge I would simply resist and keep my monitor screen off. After several failed attempts what usually happened was that the irate owner would call the local supplier and ask for either a replacement or a refund. I had never subjected any potential owner to this ordeal before but I was bracing myself just in case.

We got to his apartment late in the evening (not that I had a curfew in the first place) and he unwrapped and mounted me on his dining table. His place looked quite neat and decent but I didn’t want to get sentimental or weak right before possibly having to ‘fight the power’. As he went into his bedroom perhaps to get out of his work clothes, I scanned the dining table and noticed a few business cards, a note pad, tissue box, cuff links and this colourful little book lying on its front cover. I noticed the name on the book binder and I recall it was an unusual name I heard earlier in his office when his colleagues asked who owned the laptop. This was beginning to seem a lot better than I had hoped. I read the synopsis on the back and confirmed that he was indeed a writer. For me, that meant I wouldn’t be neglected. I would get more attention than his TV, social media or his girlfriend(s). I would be his first thought in the morning and his last thought at night. Life was going to be bliss.

Fast forward 3 months later and this facade couldn’t be any further from the truth. He hasn’t touched me or so much as even looked at me since he started his new job role. It seems to be taking so much of his time. He comes back later than usually and goes straight to bed. Even with the WiFi on prefers to browse on his smartphone and not on me like he used to. I’m suspecting that desktop I saw when I first arrived at my owner’s office. I think he’s cheating on me. And if he doesn’t typing something on his so-called crazy blog I WILL fight the power for real this time.

There’s always a right time to do the wrong thing

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Morals…some people have them and some others don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. This is currently the situation in Lagos, Nigeria where I reside: In the daytime you find most motorists obey the traffic lights (because they don’t … Continue reading