In case you’re new to my diary, my name is Bola and I work at a local telecoms firm. Mobilista is my personal diary and usually published every weekend, and in which I share some of the stuff that I have to deal with at work, as well as the usual stuff from my personal life.
I have just one question for you: Have you ever been to Ibadan before?
I thought that Lagos was crazy. I mean, how could it ever be possible that one could find anywhere else in this country where a higher level of madness was prevalent than what obtains here in my very own Lagos? Lagos is where once you step out of your house and get on a main road, your adrenaline supply jumps up. The excitement. The rush. The hustle. The bustle. The razzmatazz. There is almost never a dull moment.
Commercial bus and cab drivers in Lagos are notorious, but their counterparts in Ibadan are insufferable. Not only are they as bad as the Lagos people, but the way those tiny boxes they drive dart around and stop suddenly is even more nerve-wracking. All their cabs seem to be the size of Lagos’ Keke Marwa! Eeeew! I am familiar with the mess that is Lagos traffic, but when you run into traffic at Ibadan, it is chaos. Before you can say, “Omo Ibadan”, cars, buses, and even trucks have crossed one gully or chasm to the other side of the highway to face oncoming traffic in a bid to avoid the bottleneck on their side. I ran into two such scenarios in one day. I am told that trying to be a good boy or girl in Ibadan traffic means that you get stuck for hours. I don’t know what to make of it. But, I am getting ahead of myself. What led to all these Ibadan gist?
My new job at the telecoms firm takes me here and there every now and then. This time, it was to the city of Ibadan in Oyo State. One of our base stations there had been vandalised and we were desperate to get it back online in the shortest possible period. I had a role to play in that process of restoration, and so had to breeze in, do my stuff and get back to Lagos. That was why and how I found myself headed to Ibadan by road. First of all…. I know that half of you reading wanted to say, “Bend down low”. God have mercy on you! First of all, why do people say that Ibadan is a hundred kilometres from Lagos? Who made up that lie? Driving between 100 and 120 kilometres an hour for the most part, I didn’t get to Ibadan in one hour! Say what you will, but there is no way that Lagos to Ibadan is a hundred kilometres. Lai lai!
Just after arriving the city from Lagos, I ran into what looked like traffic of exodus proportions. All I could see ahead were trucks and tankers and trailers stretching. Where were all those heavy duty vehicles going in the middle of the day? I took the advice of a small boy selling pure water in traffic and took a long, winding side road that led me to Iwo Road. I got to Iwo road to find that the traffic I had done a detour to avoid had stretched no more than a few hundred metres. Who do I blame for that silly waste of time and energy? The traffic? Me? My emergency guide? Did I mention that he asked for four hundred naira as service charge, which I paid? Con boy! I hope for our sake that he is not a leader of tomorrow.
To make matters worse, a few minutes further and one wrong turn, and I found myself on the wrong road and heading in the direction of Oyo town! Yes; the very opposite direction of where I should be headed. Don’t blame me. That stretch of the road was really smooth and the highway beckoned. There were no road signs at that point and I was not a frequent person there. By the time I realised that something was wrong, it was too late. I had to endure another hour on the road, running into more traffic after I found a place to do a u-turn. Sigh.
No; I don’t actually think that Ibadan is all bad. For all I care, Ibadan may not be like that every day. You just can’t blame me for feeling a bit frustrated at my recent experience. To be fair, getting out of the sprawling city was easier than getting in and to my destination. Thankfully, my business was done in no time and I was out and on my way back to Lagos again within two hours. I should visit Ibadan again when I am not so much in a hurry, stay a few days and try to actually enjoy the city. In the meantime, “Omo Ibadan, kini so?”