This may be my lamest post ever, but please,I don’t care. This is my blog, so I will share it still.
I love speed and I love fast things. Cars. Bikes. Fast bicycles. Whatever.
In the UNILAG days, I would pass up the opportunity of a ride on a bus or in a car, just for the sweetness of sitting on an okada and speeding away.
The romance with okada was not going to end, but it did. One day, while travelling back home from Osun State (or was it Oyo?), I saw a most devastating sight on the fly-over opposite the National Stadium, Lagos. It would be the first time I would see any part of the human skeleton outside of Igbobi College’s biology lab. I don’t even think the one in that lab was real human skeleton. But seriously, this okada rider had been dragged along under a huge petrol tanker, and he had his right leg broken in many different pieces, all over the road. I’m cringing right now, just remembering. The fresh bones, mangled in blood and flesh, were scattered all over the road like meat on a butcher’s table
I did not ever look at my (former) beloved okada the same way again. Lailai. From that time, 2014, till last year November, I only used okada when it was absolutely necessary.Absolutely. I just stayed away.
But now, I live in Katsina, a town where there are no cabs or buses, and you really don’t have a choice. So yesterday, I took one from the market, heading home. Of course, I was sitting there trying not inhale too much of the dirty man in front of me, gingerly, as always, ready to hop off at the slightest sign of trouble. And it happened; silly driver nearly got us crushed by a huge bus. Thank God nothing happened, and as sooned as he gained control of the bike, I breathed again.
I was so annoyed I shook my head and called him a stupid man. I called him a stupid man, and a fool.Of course, I said these under my breath, even though I knew he couldn’t speak English. You cannot be too careful up here, really.
No sooner had the words come out that I immediately realised the folly of calling the driver a fool. He was driving me! If he is stupid, and he is a fool, what would that make me? I was not even driving the thing, and one way or the other, he held the decisive turn that could determine how I got home, or if I got home at all. God had given him that power at that time. O boy, I wasted no time at all.
“You are not stupid in Jesus’ Name. You are not a fool in Jesus’ Name. You are wise. You make wise decisions. Amen”
Call me dramatic,but I felt better. Okay, I have lost my train of thought here, honestly, so I will just put whatever out here.
I think realised again the blind trust I had in God, that after many years in Lagos, I had developed the courage to take buses, cabs and bikes, and even boats, without personally knowing the drivers. I trusted God that much.
But I had also come to realise that, per time, God had put my well being in the hands of those drivers and reasonably expected to trust Him by relying on them, or something like that. I would not get on a bus if the driver was evidently mad, of course, but if I do get on a bus and the driver is not doing things exactly the way I would want, I never thought it expedient to resort to discouraging words and abuses to “correct” his misdemeanour.
So instead of saying whatever comes to my mind out of annoyance, I just follow what the Bible has to say on the matter.
First, respect those in authority. This may be funny, but, seriously, that okada driver had the authority over that bike. I may be the lord, the one with the dough. I may even throw in a few commands and orders (which is of course very limited when your driver speaks only one language, and the language is not yours). But the bike will only follow the driver, not all my commands, orders or whatever. Besides, I cannot drive a bike or bicycle, so, much respect to those people.
Second, I don’t cast aspersions (easily) like that. Yesterday, I don’t know, but I really didn’t (/don’t) want to die in an okada accident. I certainly have realised the many problems people in authority may have to face, especially in constantly making decisions that not only affect their life, but that of others too. While working at The Destiny Trust, oga Bimbo used to say then that if we couldn’t adequately run the Home, with just about 12 kids (at the time), then we had no right whatsoever to blame Jonathan. I took the cue, and ensured I didn’t blame others for situations I could not handle any better. And if I can, it is definitely not Christ-like to resort to strong words of unhealthy criticism,let alone abusive language.
Granted, our leaders in Nigeria are not the best of people. But when I look at the many young people on social media whose first impulse is abusive rants and slurs, casting slime and grime and every bad thing on the people in authority, I just see lack of depth often times. Most of these people cannot even be responsible with their social media accounts, let alone steering the affairs of 170 million people.
My Bible tells me to pray for the people in authority. Simple. It is not the interest of God to see any one destroyed. Anyone.
I try to relate with what they face, our rulers. I don’t have to like them, and granted, they can be pretty reckless at times, and quite uncaring, or just clueless. But genuinely, it is not my job to finish them off. There I was sitting behind that guy, relatively relaxed, and even able to think about five or six other things. His job was to get me to my destination, and in doing that, he had many decisions to make, almost every second. That was his reality, throughout the ride. I only came alive when I nearly died. Maybe I would have been a better passenger if I had just for a brief moment being more calm, and had taken into consideration that he is also a human prone to mistakes and moments of indecision.
I have enjoyed many bike rides, and I realised the most enjoyable ones were when I was a co-driver, gisting with the bike man, looking out as well, correcting him gently when I felt he made a mistake. All those made the ride worthwile. I have never, ever enjoyed a bike ride where I was angry at the driver, or where I spent much time criiticising and insulting him. No okada rider will ever take kindly to you insulting him. In fact, insult him, and you may be in for a very very rough ride.
I really don’t know what I’m saying sha, but I think I can be a better person, a better part of the populace, a more considerate follower. The world looks for leaders everyday to celebrate, but no one celebrates good followership. No one even considers followership a thing today. But realistically, I think our nation is damaged more on our side than on the side of the rulers.
Introspection makes inspection more effective.