In Lagos, empathy is scarce and time is not a friend

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By OLATUNDE AMOLE

 

I woke up at about 5:01am today with high hopes of having a perfect morning. Got dressed and left for work. I entered a bus going towards my location and as I was about sitting, I noticed the seats were not properly spaced. Being that I have a long leg, I opted to seat at the edge where I could stretch a little. About twenty minutes into the journey, the bus was already developing some stop signs as a result of mechanical failure. Passengers began to shout at the driver why he was driving a vehicle with too many faults to mention.  After about a minute of arguing, the engine went off. Passengers began hurling abusive words at him, mostly in pidgin English language. He eventually improvised and we were back on the road even though the state of the bus was more pitiable than it was at first.

 

Moving further into the distance, we got to a roundabout and there was a mild traffic there. Our bus driver like other road users tried to outsmart a fellow in order to gain access into the next lane. This fellow wouldn’t oblige him and as a result, the side door of our bus got hit and it fell off, shattering the glass window. Our bus driver again came down, pursued the fellow driving the other bus, caught up with him and started fighting. There was heavy exchange of blows whilst we were still in the bus wondering how we were unfortunate to have boarded the bus. Some passengers started coming out to get a possible refund of their fare to enter another bus. But the driver was too busy fighting to attend to us. People started hurling all sort of abusive words at him in Yoruba, pidgin and the English language

 

Some LASMA officers around tried separating the fighters but to no avail until the timely intervention of the police who helped to control the situation. At the end of the day, I just couldn’t wait as time was far spent, so I boarded another bus.

 

What struck my mind in all of this was that nobody wanted to know if the driver knew before-hand that his bus was faulty or who would get hit by another car and allow the person go scot free and if we were in the shoes of the driver would we wish what had happened to him to have happened to us?

 

But this is Lagos, a city where everything is done hastily, empathy is scarce; Time is ruthlessly money and people careless about others’ ordeal. In Lagos, why should the headaches of some people be the concern of others and worst still, infringe their time and space?

 

*LASMA – Lagos State traffic control officials.


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