May 26, 2018

Danfo drivers are human beings too, haba! by Jite Efemuaye

Danfo drivers are human beings too, haba! by Jite Efemuaye

There was a brief moment in time when a lot of Nigerians were happy to be danfo drivers; that was when Mountain Black and Mad Melon’s monster hit ‘Danfo Driver’ was making all of us ‘suo’.

That was then and this is now.

Recently, the FRSC decided to re-introduce psychiatric tests for all commercial drivers. The news was received with great joy by people who commute regularly via commercial transport.

danfo

In fact at some point, especially with the joy that greeted the announcement, it seemed like the FRSC had said the test was just for danfo drivers alone. The truth, however, is that for every crazy danfo driver in Lagos, there areat least 100 crazy passengers (don’t quote me biko). Let me explain.

I was returning from a wedding at one of those places that are actually in Ogun state but claim to be a part of Lagos. Long day,so I just wanted to get home, have a bath and sleep. I jumped into anempty bus loading at the side of the expressway, sat by a window andrelaxed. The driver had to drive off with only four passengers in the bus because agberos were disturbing him. At the next bus-stop, he pickedthree more passengers before driving off; one of them, a young man, sat beside me.

We had passed a few more stops without him getting any passengers,when he stopped at a place that didn’t look like a bus-stop. There were no passengers standing by the side of the road, but the conductor kept screaming out our destination.

It started with an old man sitting in front of me. “Driver move this bus! Why are you wasting our time?” and then the young man beside me picked it up. “Is this a bus-stop? Are you crazy? Why will you come and put us here? Please I want to get down, give me my money.” He kept on and on even though one passenger had entered the bus.

The driver got angry and asked the conductor to give him back his money. The bobo didn’t budge. “You’re just an illiterate! Do you know who’s talking? I will call people now and you will beg me. You will beg me. Nonsense!” By now thedriver had lost his patience and started insulting him back with people in the bus asking both men to calm down. We had spent a total of 10 minutes by this time and the bus was almost full. It was actually a good spot to get passengers because there was a street opposite. The driver got angry, got down and asked the young man to come down. People started begging him even though the young man was still spewing abuse and trash talk. I had had enough.

“You do realize you’re bringing yourself down to his illiterate level?”

So, the fire turned to me. “I am fighting for all of us. And this one is telling me I am the same level.”

Who asked you to fight for us biko? And who are you sef? You’re holding a dvd player and wearing what looks like bathroom slippers. I didn’t say that bit out loud, ofcourse.

He turned to face someone and started telling him how he had handled one driver like that and the driver ended up begging him.

In my experience, talking to drivers (and policemen) in a calm voice always works. Forget the tough exterior, a lot of them are regular folks, with lives outside theirbuses.  Of course, there are a few crazy ones, who, whether you talk calmly, loudly, rudely, any-how-ly, will still do what’s on their mind.

See ehn, danfo drivers have to eat. They have expenses like everyone else. And the only way to make more money is to get as many passengers as possible, even if it means wasting your time. It’s almost as if some people expect them to blow up and down the roads of Lagos with empty buses.

It is simple. If you don’t want your time wasted, take a taxi or drive your car, if you have one. Else, just plan your bus trips knowing there is a chance your bus will stop at every bus-stop to pick passengers, whether you complain or not.

 

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