Sunday, 09 June 2024 04:35

Throw back: The Ibadan compass - Aba Saheed

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It was not the best of days for cab driver Suberu as he meandered his way through the thick traffic caused by those struggling to get fuel into their vehicles. He had spent the previous night in a nauseating queue just to get twenty liters of petrol. He inched his way through Foko and made a right turn to Agbokojo when a woman visibly drenched by her own sweat flagged him to a stop and asked to be taken to Idi Arere.

At Idi Arere, Nimota disembarked and handed over a dirty piece of l00 Naira note to Suberu. “You must be out of your mind!” Suberu thundered.

'What's the problem, you this Jackal?' Nimota responded in kind.

“If you have eyes you should have seen that vehicles are scarce on the roads”

“If your head is on your neck, you should have known how to address a lady”, replied Nimota.

“You, you this Michelin tyre lady? Did you look in the mirror before you set out this morning?”

“Your mother is the Michelin tyre”. Nimota bellowed.

All this while, Suberu's taxi was staying right in the middle of the road, and the driver did not care a bit for other road users. It was all in character.

“You this shameless woman. If you knew you could not afford taxi charges why did you not go on Okada?”

“Send your mother on Okada” Replied Nimota.

“You know no Okada will risk carrying you with the huge load in your backyard”, Suberu teased.

“Don't go there, you son of twenty fathers!” Nimota was quick to respond.

“It's not your fault, Madam Bakasi, all your peers are in Abuja where every body is stealing and milking the nation, and here you are, unable to pay taxi money”.

“And why did you not go to Abuja too? Look at you, a common cab driver. All your peers are professors in Ado Ekiti and you are roasting in a ramshackle vehicle.”

“I thank God. Your father could not see you beyond primary six. If I must remind you: your mother was running off with her tenth husband when your father abandoned you and your siblings.” Suberu thought he was having his pound of flesh.

“You foolish man. You think you are qualified to abuse my mother? You? Who does not know your mother in this town? Your mother was just a public toilet!”

By now a huge number of spectators had gathered round the duo in verbal warfare. And rather than pacify them, they seemed to be enjoying the hot exchange of profanities.

Vehicles had massed behind Suberu's ailing vehicle and all the police men that were supposed to restore sanity were happy with the twenty Naira road toll they were collecting.

A city councillor emerged from nowhere with his superfluous agbada made of more starch than cloth. Nimota looked somewhat relieved.

“What's the matter? How come you are in argument with a common driver?” Mr councillor asked, turning to Nimota.

“My God, is that you Kafaru?” Suberu screamed

“Who are you?” Mr Councillor challenged Cab driver Suberu.

'Are you blind or what? Because thuggery put you in the Local Government Council, you are now superior to us? I thank God I'm a cab driver, but you were just a common tout at the garage. Have you forgotten so soon?” Suberu gave a jab with his tongue.

Nimota was shocked to learn that Kafaru was a mere 'Agbero' before his brawn got him a councillorship.

Turning to Nimota, Suberu asked “Now that you have seen one of your numerous customers, will you tell him to pay before you render service in return?”

“I said you are a son of twenty fathers. Which service does your mother render her customers?” Nimota was losing her temper.

“You are an idiot. Look at your head: the head of a cow. Look at your nose: the nose of hippopotamus. Look at your chest: a mountain of sorts”. Suberu charged.

“Silly wag. You dropped out of school. Your brothers dropped out of school. You are a taxi driver. Your brother is a vulcaniser. Your other brother is a panel beater. Your uncle is a smelling butcher. Your father's father's father was a mercenary.” Replied Nimot.

“You see how ignorant you are. Are we not all Shon of the Shoil? This is Ibadan. This is my place of birth. I am very proud I am an Ibadan. Foolish woman. May be you don't know that Ibadan is the largest indigenous city on earth. How would you know when you are busy running after a tout turned a Councillor?” Suberu queried.

As Councillor Kafaru was about to pay, the cab driver insisted that he would not stain his hand with the councillor's 'blood' money. “Not me”, he said. “I will not touch money coming from all you rogues who have brought sadness to Nigerians. You know how most of you came to power and position, you harlots. You rogues. You cheats. You electoral frauds. God will punish you all”. Suberu was getting angrier.

Councillor Kafaru suddenly removed his agbada and was about to get physical with the cab driver.

Suberu reached for a dagger in the locker of his cab. “Come near me, and you will see. It is time you thieves masquerading as leaders are taught some lesson.” Suberu too was spoiling for a fight.

Nimota removed her head tie, tied the cloth round her waist and stood behind councillor Kafari, fuming.

An elderly gentleman emerged from a corner street and addressed the two warring camps. “Why must you people continue to give Ibadan and the Ibadans a bad name? If you boarded a taxi, did you not agree on a fee? And Mr cab driver, if you both agreed on a price why should there be this hullabaloo? How much are you fighting about that you have wasted almost thirty minutes of each other's time, held traffic up unnecessarily, and sent stones of words to your parents at home?” The Elderly man intervened.

The difference of 50 Kobo which was the bone of contention was paid by the elderly gentleman while the trio left the scene pouring invectives on one another.

“Your mother”

“Your father”

“Son of a bitch”

“Daughter of one thousand fathers!”

First published April 27, 2009

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