Immediately after my capturing, I left the passport office to catch the next bus from Benin to Port Harcourt. Upon my arrival in the park, the last bus for the day was almost filled with just two seat spaces left. Without much ado, I booked a seat and some other fellow booked after me instantly. I was like, Yippee! That means we will arrive Port Harcourt before 7pm. We all boarded the bus, vroom and zoom! We left the park.

What seemed like a drama between the driver and two other passengers started, when the driver decided to PUT-ON the air-conditioning unit. On the order of the driver; please every window should be closed. To the amazement of everyone, Tiwa, the lady sitting by my left refused to close the window by her side. We were sitting on the first row after the front seats.

Out of curiosity, the man on the front seat by name Engr. Tobi asked; Ma’am your window should be closed by now, but it is not. Why? Tiwa responded indifferently, Oga! Don’t you know that the first air that comes out from an A/C could be cancerous? Hence, the Windows should be opened for some minutes before closing. Engr. Tobi retorted abruptly, there is no such thing Ma’am. Cancer ko! Cancer ni! Hmmn, in my 15 years of driving, I haven’t heard this from any passenger o, the driver eventually chipped in.

Meanwhile, we were not unaware that we will encounter pockets of police roadblocks as a result of the partial lockdown and restriction of movement ’cause of the covid-19 kpalava. However, we were assured a free passage if and only if our driver can have a “wonderful handshake” with the police officers on duty. All you need is to be a Nigerian to understand the meaning of a “wonderful handshake”. Perhaps, you are new in Nigeria, come closer let me whisper something into your ear. A “wonderful handshake” in the Nigeria context means a “BRIBE”. Please, don’t tell anybody I said so. Lol! So, that was the narrative from other drivers who scaled through the police hurdles through same route. We were actually moving way too fast, as the highways were pretty free.

Upon leaving Edo State, we encountered the first police roadblock. Our driver, having known better, quickly put his hands in his pocket and reached for a “wonderful handshake” with the policeman. If you know, you know. E get why! We were enjoying the same experience in every police roadblock, suddenly Tiwa busted out with disappointment. This is corruption. Driver this is corruption, she stressed. The driver responded calmly; Ma’am this corruption na better one oh. Engr. Tobi angled in by saying; Ma’am, how could you possibly say that. Don’t you know if the driver doesn’t bribe his way through, we ain’t getting to Port Harcourt today. Tiwa’s nerves were frayed. She nags! Oga, this your response is typical of a Nigerian and I’m not surprised it’s coming from you. When an illegal act is to our favour, we stamp our approval but if it’s contrary to us, we call it corruption. Now, there is corruption in everywhere and everything we do in this country. Imagine this; Corona virus was born in China, grew up in Italy, schooled in America and has become a multi-million dollar businessman in Nigeria, she asserted. Everyone in the bus couldn’t help but laughed profusely at her funny but thoughtful assertion about covid-19 in Nigeria. Yes na; the government and politicians generally are now making billions of naira from it. Corona virus is now a business in Nigeria, she added.

We ran out of luck as we were about entering Rivers State. Finagle’s law eventually caught up with us. Gosh, we encountered a roadblock manned by soldiers [Armies] this time. They looked furious, mannerless and very brutal. At their sight, all of us in the bus began to shake like jellies. They stopped the bus and a soldier approached our driver. The driver wanting to play his bribe and pass game as usual. Perhaps, he didn’t say his prayers very well in the morning to know that his village enemies were after him. Before the soldier will say “JACK” the driver had already put his hand into his pocket and stretched it out for the usual “wonderful handshake” with the soldier followed by a sheepish smile and some lousy eye-service compliments. But woe betided him, the soldier responded with a terrible slap on his left ear. OMG! From a “Wonderful handshake” to a terrible slap.

Nine [9] hours later, we are still there oh. Still detained by the soldiers. Our driver have turned deaf and dumb from the army’s slap. Tabitha’s line isn’t reachable sef. Me, I am very hungry oh.
Laugh out Loud!


Thanks for reading.
Stay safe.😷

Odafe, Austin Johnson


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