Taxicab

Taxicab

So I get in a taxi (at the Immigrations office in Ikoyi) bound for the office in Victoria Island. The taxi man proposed N1,500 as the charge. I countered with N1,000. Back and forth and he finally asked me to get in but hoped I would “add” something.

Driving a Taxi must be a lonely job to a large extent. Between clients, you are probably just driving around. Then people come into your live for brief periods of time, most will not leave any last impressions, but some will (including the guy that pulls a stickup on you and robs you of your day’s takings). So generally, taxi drivers are ready to talk. I am usually ready to listen – especially if you don’t expect more from me than the brief responses that indicates I don’t mind you going on or that I am at least listening.

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Taxi driver: “You see. It’s the fuel scarcity. If you check in the back of my cab, you will see several jerrycans there. The queues in the petrol stations are horrendous. In addition, they are hoarding the fuel.”

(I looked in the back and only saw a tiny 4-liter oil can so I said jokingly, “I don’t see any jerrycans here.”

“I just dropped them off because I needed to carry some heavy stuff for a client.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“My wife just delivered twins after many years of trying. My family had advised me to send her away. If not that we already had one child from several years before it would have been difficult. But I stuck with her. What’s the alternative? Get a new wife? Besides, you can’t trust most of these young ladies of nowadays. They are prostituting themselves all over the place.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“You see in fact I am fed up. This taxi is not even mine. Though I hope God will bless me this year and I will be able to buy my own. It’s on lease. I came all the way from Sango this morning to pick it up. See (holding up a ticket), this is a railway ticket in my hand. Sometimes, when I drop a client, by the time I drive round and get another one, my fuel is almost gone. If you don’t want to suffer, make sure you are out of this area before 4:30PM.

The petrol stations have fuel. They are just hoarding it. In some stations, they took delivery of 3 huge tanker-load of fuel about two to three weeks ago. We saw them. They locked it up claiming that the federal government wants to hike up the price. What’s their concern with that? This is fuel they took delivery of several weeks ago at the current price!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“When you are driving, be careful of these Maruwa (commercial tricycles), they can get one in trouble. They behave like chickens on the road.

If you are still in this neighborhood by 4:00PM,  you will know that Jesus is not a Nigerian (referring to the traffic-jam). My body is aching all over. See how dirty I am all over from the oil. But I give thanks to God all the same.

Yesterday when I leased this car. I was fortunate enough to repent quickly (“Olorun lo je kin tete ronu pi wada”). I just parked it. For over an hour and a half, not even one client!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“When they reopen this station (we were passing by the NNPC station under renovation) , it will be very fine. I suspect someone else must have bought it over. I heard they have taken it back from the previous owner. That they owe a lot of money (“won je iya-laya gbese”). But I am sure they have sold it to one of the cabal.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Beans is expensive in my area (I suspect the reference is to the Yoruba association of beans with twins). It’s N200 per Derica (measuring can). I was fortunate last week. While waiting to pick up clients, I went with a friend and found these Hausa traders. They are more reasonable. We got the beans at N160 per Derica.”

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The traffic in V/I was already bad. At the Sanusi Fafunwa junction, I asked him to pull over. I said I would walk through Sanusi Fafunwa to Karimu Kotun street. He asked if that wasn’t too long a walk but was quite grateful when I insisted. I brought out everything in my pocket (N1,205). Handed over N1,200 for which he was even more grateful.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

He needed to find water to top up his radiator. We parted ways at that point.

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