I have to admit – I didn’t have a plan when I sped off and left the traffic warden eating my dust (and pocketing my driver’s licence too). I was close to my parent’s house so I drove in and parked my car there. At least the car would be safe from impounding, I thought. But that didn’t stop me from looking at my rear view mirror every five seconds for a police bike on my tail. I met only my sister at home and broke the news (okay, that sounded kinda dramatic – to break news usually sounds like one is about to announce something tragic. I digress). My lil’ sister was in shock to say the least, like she had seen a ghost that was equally shocked that I had driven off without my licence. My explanation still left my sister’s jaw on the floor. She went straight into DLR (Driver’s Licence Retrieval) mode and ran some suggestions by me.
After deliberating for a couple of minutes I even went further to call a friend whom I thought would be able to advise me on what to do, based on his own experiences. He told me to prepare to give ‘something small’. We were ready to put the plan into action. We set out in my car but parked it in a corner about 300 meters away from the traffic warden’s spot. We strolled down towards the junction where the incident happened and then I told my sister to wait behind while I approached the traffic warden who was in the midst of a policeman and some LASTMA officials (the boys in
black yellow). I caught his attention and he came over to deafen me with his broken English (insert action film music here).
‘Why you run na?’ he said with a smirk in his sweaty face.
‘I don’t want to argue. I just want my licence.’
‘No problem. I have already taken it to the station. You can collect it there.’, and he turned away with his nose up in the air.
‘What?’, I couldn’t contain my annoyance.
‘But oga, you suppose bring sumtin.’
‘Bring what? Look, you don’t want to me drag this matter’. I flashed a special ID card to him at this point. ‘I’ll go to the station and collect my licence’. I started to walk away and then he called me.
‘Oga wait. Make we go one side’. We walked a few meters away from his colleagues and got to way my sister was waiting. My sister greeted him and he reciprocated. They exchanged a few ‘pleasantries’ while I frowned (but they didn’t seem to take notice). The traffic warden insisted again that I should bring something (just like my friend said earlier) and that he would get my driver’s licence back for me. With about an hour of my life already wasted I just decided to part with N1,000 (less than $3) and to my surprise he pulled out my driver’s licence! To think that he lied and never actually went to drop it at the station in the first place. And worse still he asked for a bribe which I was forced to heed in order to get my licence….aaaargh! But the ID card sure got him rattled.
My sister and I walked back to my car and drove back home to gist about the whole ordeal. After that incident no one had to tell me to make a photocopy of my licence – that’s what I’ll be offering any official that accosts me on the road. At least that way I can drive off without ever looking back:)