The cringy Moluè bus finally came to a halt under the huge pedestrian bridge, having dangled for long in isolation. One by one, we trooped out of the rickety bus like prisoners of conscience.
‘Twenty-nine sitting ninety-nine standing…’ Fela’s ‘suffer suffer’ song sneaked into my mind.
It was a couple of years ago and I was on my way to Computer Village. Of course, Moluè was still trending as the cheapest means of transportation in Lagos.
I got off the dilapidated moving dustbin and while still deciding whether to cross the road or use the pedestrian bridge, two KAI officials walked past and brushed me by my side. They had jacked-up a guy by the waist and dragging him into their kangaroo truck.
I had twice fallen into their traps and experienced 3rd degree injustice. Twice they had violently dug their stinking fingers into my waist like a criminal wanted by EFCC, lifted and flung me into their truck. Imagine. Just because I ‘mistakenly’ crossed the road. I learnt they were ex-area boys and street fighters, so I consulted my 7th sense and this time around, I used the pedestrian bridge.
Afflictions will not rise again in my life.
Wake up boy.
This is Ikeja Bus Stop.
I checked my cell phone and it was intact. I checked my head. It was still on my neck. Good.
Ikeja Bus Stop along Oshodi-Agege Motor Road is a 24 hour economy, like Ojuelegba, and one of the busiest bus stops in Lagos, probably due to its proximity to the Computer Village; or the easy link in-and-out of Ikeja central; or even the quick connection to Alausa hub of power.
A jamboree of human and mechanical structure, of Molue and Danfo ‘picking & dropping’. Okadas doggedly bullying their way into the crowd, while the ‘bend-down-select’ traders display their wares on every available space, even on train tracks. The aboki shoe shiners were not left out as they were busy scanning for dirty shoe owners they can make extra buck from.
Underground, men of the State Security mingled with the crowd to ensure security of lives and properties. The Police ‘black maria’ was filled with ‘criminals’ who do not have receipts for their laptop or smartphones, and were about to be shipped into dungeons.
Hawkers were busy digging their faces into faces in search of the next ‘commercial victims’, while pure water kids would do a ‘100 meters senior boys’ to sell a sachet of H2O.
I even sighted LASTMA officials shaking up disobedient drivers who’d violated the use of the highway. MC Oluomo’s boys ‘codedly doing their weed’ behind the abandoned bus stop building, and even some ‘alayes’ impersonating KAIs were at their own cornerpiece, unleashing kangaroo judgment on idiots who do not know that pedestrian bridges are meant to be used.
No guck am o, pickpocket dey your back, and your phone is their target.
I descended the bridge and turned to Computer Village, Nigeria’s No1 cell-phone market where ‘òsásá’ boys would steal your phone and sell it back to you.
Sharp business guys, hustlers, shoppers, 419s, yahoo boys, pick pockets, thieves, hawkers, detectives, jobless graduates, alayes, strayers, wanderers, wanderlusts, bystanders, wakabouts, beggars, honest men and women…
I tracked on and saw a crowd milling at a stretch of Otigba Street. I waved it off as one of the normal rowdiness associated with Computer Village, then I started hearing the ‘cheer and boo’.
Then the unpaid referees dishing out instructions from the sidelines..
Oya Emeka, gi am upper cut…
Blow him face
Gi am…gi am
Wow! A street fighting was on.
Me, Victor Adeyemi Ekojournalist, I must watch.
I walked there quickly and saw two guys digging it out fiercely.
Holyfield vs Tyson.
I joined the crowd around the boxing ring and was enjoying the bout. A perfect entertainment for an imperfect sunny day.
One guy was throwing the punch skillfully and Emeka was taking it, his own ‘igbotic’ punch hitting the air. He kept grunting.
A punch. A grunt.
Punch in the left check. Grunt.
In the right. Grunt.
Punch harder. Grunt.
The guy kept punching until ‘Tyson’ could not take it anymore. With swollen eyes, bleeding lips and disfigured face, Emeka staggered a few steps backward, seemed to be looking around for something. Lagosians know that is a warning signal, so they milled backward.
‘Tyson’ sighted a girl hawker in the crowd with a bowl of soft drinks on her head, staggered in her direction, grabbed a bottle from her head, ran back to the ring and P-O-A-H!
‘Holyfield’ yelped and slumped. Immediately, he was covered with blood.
The crowd yelled in horror.
It was a real smash.
‘Tyson’ was glad he did major damage at last and was even ready to do more. With the half-broken bottle in his firm grip, he confidently moved around like an Igbo gladiator, seeking to stab anyone making a come at him.
‘Wey dem…I say wey dem.. their fada’
We scampered for safety as Emeka ‘Tyson’ suddenly turned terrorist. He moved to the bleeding guy and kicked him again…
What a bottle! I thought.
From a vantage point, I stared fixedly at Emeka’s hand to see the weapon of mass destruction, and behold, begging for happiness in his left grip was the world’s No1 brand.
The sun is blazingly hot
Police siren blares 50 meters away
The crowd disperses, quietly
A dark cloud settled over the village
John 11:35. Jesus wept.
I stare, panting, my heart aflutter
Between Chukwuemeka or Coke,
Who really stabbed Chidi?