• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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From an undergraduate’s point of view


Illustration for Kemi

had an appointment with Aunty Kemi for 12pm, to meet her at BusinessDay. My mentor insisted I meet with her because I intend to be a journalist. Normally, I ought to have been up by 5am for morning devotion but you will agree with me that early morning sleep is the sweetest, especially when you mistakenly open your eyes and discover that it is 5 minutes to your wake-up time. “Joy, you slept like a bear” my mum said… “At least, I am awake albeit grudgingly” I thought to myself .Then it hit me like a wave “I had an appointment with Aunty Kemi in BusinessDay!” I jumped off the bed, prayed and went to do my chore which includes washing plates. I looked at the time, it was 6:30 am, “I still have time” I thought to myself. I remembered the shoe I wanted to wear had a little fault. I decided to take the shoe along with me to the school where I worked and repaired it there. By the time I got home it was 10mins to 8oclock.My mom was jittery, I wondered why though, after all, I was the one who had an appointment but mothers will always be mothers.

A family friend, Daddy Ayomide, who was going to help me to Apapa was ready and I wasn’t, I jumped  into the bathroom and did a very quick wash, I actually took my bath in less than a minute, I am sure I broke Guinness book of record. I quickly put on my dress, came out the room and began to gather my things. My mom took one look at me and asked “have you had your bath?”  She asked again the second time and I answered “Yes!” and immediately she said “God forbid! No wonder you and your siblings are growing darker everyday” I didn’t say a word; I just had to run out of the house because I was already late. As I got out I had to take a bike to the bus-stop, My God! Those bikers popularly calledokada drivers; it was on the day I needed their service that they were nowhere to be found. After waiting for some minutes, one eventually showed up and by the time I got to my pick-up point, Daddy Ayomide was already there. I got into his car, a Toyota corolla. On getting to MFM, (oh by the way I stay at Ibafo), we were held up in traffic; thank GOD it was not a stand-still. We finally got to third mainland bridge where we entered into another traffic jam. Slowly we moved on. This was just the second stage; we were still on our way to Apapa. I took notice of all that happened on the way, how children risked their lives to sell their commodities, I felt really sorry for them, especially because they were running under the hot sun. Daddy Ayomide showed me where I was going to board a bus back to Ibafo.

When we got to Polysonic mall, I came down, walked down and asked a naval officer who directed me to BusinessDay. I stood opposite the office and looked at it; A magnificent edifice coloured in grey, white, black and a touch of red, so beautiful and impressive. I got there by 10:30am, over 1 hour 30 minutes before the time of my appointment. I was asked to wait at the reception and Aunty Kemi was called through the intercom, she met me, took me upstairs into the library and I had a very healthy conversation with her and after minutes of discussion, she asked that I write about my experience coming to BusinessDay and returning home….that’s why you are reading this story now so when next you meet her, tell her I said Thanks for the opportunity.

Now it was time to go back home, I prayed not to get lost and as I walked back to where I would get a bus, I heard “fine girl, where are you going?” the young man parked before me. I moved closer to him and asked, “Please where can I get a bus to Ketu/Ojota?” “Just go forward” he said. I appreciated him and went in the direction pointed. I crossed to the left side of the road, I passed the curve where I saw a man dialling numbers on his phone, I moved closer to him and asked for direction and he said “hmm, you should have gone straight. Just cross to the other side” and he continued talking to the person on the phone. “Lagos is indeed an interesting place” I thought to myself. There was heavy gridlock on the road I crossed to. I had to walk in between trailers, praying seriously that the trailer would not start moving and as I was about to cross to the other side, the smoke coming out from the exhaust pipes of the trailers and surrounding cars was so intense I had to cover my nose and that didn’t help much. Eventually, I crossed but the commercial busses were all not heading my way. Finally I saw one going to Ojuelegba, I went in and sat down on the second role near the window, looking outside and thinking through the intelligent conversation I just had with Aunty Kemi amidst observing everything I saw, bad roads, people hustling by selling various items to make a living and so many more…eventually, the bus was filled and we gradually started to move. No thanks to the bad roads, we were manoeuvring here and there, thanks to God there was no pregnant woman in the bus, she would have gone into labour in a jiffy.

Moving onward, we passed the Apapa Bridge and continued the journey till we got to Ojuelegba. When I got to Ojuelegba, I took another bus to Ketu/Ojota, I sat down next to a woman who had to sit in an awkward position because she had a baby at her back. She looked like she had a very hectic day. We set off and again, another gridlock but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be “Thank God” I muttered. As we progressed, it was obvious to us as passengers that the driver wanted to meet with God that day if not, he would not be driving as fast as he did ‘di e di e oo’ (meaning Little by little in Yoruba language) the passengers exclaimed, all in fear of death (including yours truly)…he eventually listened and reduced his speed but the drama didn’t end there, “you’re not supposed to cover this baby like this, the heat in this bus is too much” the elderly woman who sat at the back told the woman with the baby and continued “move forward so that the baby can have some fresh air” she insisted. “Mama, there’s no more space” she retorted. I couldn’t help but pity the baby who was already crying and screaming in discomfort.

There was so much going on in the bus, though the trip was uncomfortable, there were a lot of things to help engage my eyes and mind, I couldn’t help but notice a man sitting at my front wearing a black shirt with awkward lines that made me question if the shirt was torn or if it was simply fashion…my thoughts were immediately interrupted no thanks to the bump the bus fell into and again, like the chorus of  a song the passengers shouted again ‘di e di e oo’ and after some minutes, the driver parked and asked us all to come down. We had not reached the toll gate so I was confused. The bus conductor said “Shebi na toll gate you dey go? Oya follow that man e go show you the way” “That was so rude and unfair” I thought to myself, I told the conductor I was going to the toll gate and alas, he dropped me here… “I’ve been tricked” I said. Anyway, I found my way to where I finally got a bus going to Ibafo from there and it was a smooth ride home…I walked into my mother’s embrace tired and fagged out and when she asked how the journey was, I looked at her and said “mum, I can write you a book on my journey today but lunch will be an interesting way to start off” she however laughed and teased me “My journalist in the making, proud of you, well done!”

Joy Uwegba