Thanks to the Nigerian Police, I can’t drive. Have you read about me driving a car? Always, it is that I am catching buses, trains, ferries, taxis, and then, I’m at the mercy of Lawyerman who usually obliges me but once in a while, will just ‘fariga’ – vex and refuse. Usually, these fariga moments are when I’m going somewhere to sflenjure on my own. Sflenjuring without him does not go down well with him. But when I need to go somewhere important that does not involve solo sflenjure of me, he takes me wherever I want to go. I can’t wait for Tobi to be 16 by G_od’s grace. I have promised him a car for his 16th birthday and payment of driving lessons so that as soon as he is 17 DV, He will hit the ground running and start ferrying me around. Lawyerman, being a killjoy, when I tell Tobi this, asks Tobi who would he rather drive around? His Mum or his girlfriend? And trust that one that can’t wait to have girlfriends, who does he choose? His girlfriend. KMT. Anyway, when we get to that bridge, by Go_d’s grace, we will cross it. Abi is it not me that carried him around for 42 weeks and 3 days? Is it not me that had to have her tummy cut with a knife to ensure his safe passage to this world?
Back to the NAFFING Naija Police. Thanks to them, I spent so much money on transport today. I had to book an emergency appointment for Tobi to see his orthodontist. He has braces because one tooth did not have enough space to come through so, for 18 months now, the braces have been slowly expanding his tooth area. All of a sudden, in the last 3 weeks, the space became huge and he then started having the beginnings of ‘eyin shamga’ – buck teeth so, I quickly booked an appointment so that they could take it out before he will now need another set of braces to correct the oversabi of this current set of braces. The hospital to my house is about a 45 minutes’ drive but because I don’t drive, thanks to the Naija Police, we had to take taxi, ferry ride, bus ride, train ride, more buses… and that is one way o. It then takes about 2 hours what should take no more than 45 minutes. We took the taxi to the river, took a ferry to the other side of the river, took a bus to the station and that was where we were told that the trains were not running because of engineering works. We had to take a taxi to the hospital… at a cost of £45. Multiply that by 2 and you get why I am so angry.
Why don’t I drive you ask? ‘B’a shey’n bini niyen ke’ That is how we ask person question. 24 years ago, I started driving lessons in Lagos. Our family friend, Jafar was teaching me how to drive and in the beginning, he would drive and then let me take short distances. We lived at North Avenue, Apapa and I worked at Muri Okunola Street at Victoria Island. Then after a few weeks, he would seat beside me while I drove to and from home and work. I was getting very confident very fast. Finally, I was confident enough to drive home on my own. The very first driving on my own. I confidently drove from Victoria Island to Apapa, via Marina, Carter Bridge, Ido, Ijora and then climbed the bridge linking Ijora to Apapa. I was almost home. At the foot of the bridge, with Leventis Motors on the left, I descended the bridge and turned right to then turn left on to North Avenue – our street. North Avenue had a blind curve. And there was when it happened. In the opposite direction, a police patrol van rushed down the street. Before I could say jakro, GBAM! They hit me. There were about 10 of them in their patrol car and they jumped down from the car and started pushing and shoving at my car. Luckily, the doors were on autolock so, they could not get to me. But they kept pushing and shoving and telling me to get out of the car to go to the station with them. Some good Samaritans rushed to our home and told my dad what was going on so, he came, begged them to leave me alone and that he would repair their car for them. Which was what he did. I thought my dad would kill me but till he died, he did not say a word about that incidence. My Dad was good like that.
My grandma, Maami said, ‘ti esin ba gbe’ni sonle, a ma’n tun gun ni’ – if your horse throws you to the floor, you get back on it. My sisters all urged me to drive again. So, a couple of weeks later, I decided to try again. But I could not do it on my own. Jafar had to sit with me and on the designated day, I got behind the wheel and started shaking like ‘eiye ile Subaino’ – Subaino’s pigeon. I started the engine. Our house at was a corner piece and there was a small expanse of land in front of the house before the T junction. On the left side of the gate on this expanse of land was an ‘alakara’ – a woman who fries and sells akara. I started manoeuvring too soon to the left and Jafar kept warning me that it was too soon but I was shaking like a leaf. Jafar said to me ‘Bunmi, brake’ What did Bunmi do? Accelerate. That was how I rushed on to the poor alakara and jammed her. All this while, Jafar was shouting BUNMI BRAKE! BRAKE!! BRAKE!!! It felt like he was talking from a tunnel. Finally, I stopped. On top of the fire. Her akara and oil and bean paste were strewn all over the place. The poor alakara had run away. And me, I opened that door and ran! Leaving the car on top of the fire. Thank God Jafar was quick thinking. He quickly jumped to the driver side and moved the car before the car exploded.
For about 10 years, I refused to drive. After about 10 years, after so much pressure from my ex, I started taking driving lessons and since then, I have lost count of the number of lessons I have taken – manual and auto. I have passed my theory test and the certificate has expired. I just freeze every time I sit behind the wheel. I dread that I will kill someone. I have been told that people are scared of being killed but me, I have a crippling fear that I will kill someone. So, you see how the Naija Police have messed me up? Naija Police is NOT my friend.