10 People You Will Meet In A “Danfo” Bus

One day, we’ll travel to Abuja by train [LOS-ABV]. And I’ll get to write a travelogue. But until then, enjoy this piece on some interesting people I see (meet) whenever I travel by Danfo [those yellow buses], around Lagos:
1. The co-driver: In a Danfo bus, you’ll normally find a driver, bus conductor and other passengers. Among these other passengers is a co-driver i.e. a self acclaimed one. You’ll often hear him from the back seats giving orders to the driver on where to follow, how to step on the brake, how to swerve onto a new lane etc. And the driver most often respond: “Na you dey drive?” Or “You wan collect steering for my hand?”

2. Red Alert: Imagine yourself inside a danfo bus and the driver is running on what seems like a top speed. Then all of a sudden you hear a voice break into your chain of thoughts. More like a scream: “Ahn ahn, driver you wan kill us?” Or “Driver please take it easy o. I never marry.” Sometimes the co-driver doubles as a “red alert”. Other times another passenger plays that role. The main goal is to caution the driver so that we can all arrive safely.

3. Preacher man: Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. With the preacherman in your bus, you can barely hear yourself think. Forget about receiving calls in that bus. If you do, you will hear the person on the other line asking, “are you in church?”. The good thing about a preacherman in your danfo bus is that you get reminded that heaven and hell is real. “If we all die now, where will you go? Heaven or hell?” Some passengers stare at him in anger. Why should you say if we all die now? Yes, of course we want to make Heaven. No we won’t die in this danfo bus.

4. The pervert: One day I was in a danfo bus and I heard a woman say in a loud voice “if you try that again I will slap you.” She was referring to the young man sitting beside her. The story was that the man was rubbing his elbow against her bosom. You can’t really tell who is rubbing what because some of these buses are usually so jam-packed. The best thing is to position yourself well. But if you are unlucky you might fall victim of false accusation, this time a reversed psychology- one day, an older man pissed at the way a woman was protecting her frontage bluntly asked, “who wan touch your bosom?” According to him, he has more than that at home. Silence.

5. “Do you know who I am”: This man or woman tells us in a danfo bus that he or she is a very important person so the bus conductor must not argue with him/her over N10 change. Enough said.

6. Political analyst: If you missed the news last night, and you have a political analyst riding the same danfo bus with you, may God bless your day. All is cool until he gets another politically conscious passenger to engage in the discourse. Sometimes their analysis is a comic relief. Other times depressing. Depending on the topic in focus. An elderly analyst tells the younger folks in the bus about the good old days. And the danger of having a “young” inexperienced president rule Nigeria.

7. GSM users: Sometimes, you enter a bus and everyone, well almost everyone, is on their mobile phone making calls. The one screaming at the top of his voice…

8. Sleep-attack: How do people sleep through the journey? In the danfo bus? On the bumpy Lagos road? Forget it. You don’t know what their story is about. Body no be wood o.

9. Networker: The guy tells you that you have beautiful brown eyes and soberly shares his story. What is yours? Blank stare.

10. Tribalism: If war breaks out in Lagos, it might start from a danfo bus. One minute you enter a danfo bus and you see us all sandwiched in the air-tight yellow buses and you sigh in relief. The next, you hear an argument from the back row and the next thing, someone is yelling, throwing verbal punches at a particular tribe. End of story.

These are my first ten. There are more categories to meet.


Image source: mypenmypaper

Jennifer Ehidiamen founded RuralReporters.com in 2014. She is actively exploring the intersection between storytelling, tech and development. She has reported on global health and development issues in Africa for Voice of America (VOA News), Global Press Institute, Ventures Africa, The Nation etc. A 2016 Foreign Press Scholarship award recipient, 2013 Innovative Young Journalist Award recipient, 2013 New Media Fellow for International Reporting Project, and 2010 LEAP Africa Award recipient, Jennifer runs the Rural Reports project with a team spread across different regions in Africa. The news portal is dedicated to covering issues around rural development. Jennifer graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism with a degree in Mass Communication and earned a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University. She has published three books: "In Days to Come" (2004), "Preserve my Saltiness" (2011) and "Half A Loaf And A Bakery" (2013). Jennifer currently serves as a full-time writer and communications consultant. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Disgeneration

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