If you reside in Nigeria, particularly, Lagos State, you will require no alarm to get you up in the morning. You may be rest assured that a little to the dawn, you will be greeted by the hoarse voices of bus conductors – screaming their buses’ destinations.
Countless of testimonies have come from both home and abroad regarding the industriousness and diligence of Nigerians. In all fairness, Nigerians are born with the gift of “hustle” and the special blessing of doggedness. Angels, no exaggeration, would have rightly prophesied and forecasted that Nigeria would be the major world power considering our natural gifts, and endowment.
Sadly for us, the opposite has been undeniably true. Our reality is questionable and dumbfounding. How do we explain the action of some supposed NURTW “boys” who ruthlessly whip conductors for not being quick to pay their “owo load, booking, owo osan, owo chairman” and their numerous terms.
As a Lagos driver myself, not commercial one anyway, I understand how tough it could be to move from one point to another. The regular traffic monster is there, the LASTMA officers are equally eagerly waiting to pounce on you, our police friends are always on the alert, “anything for the boys?” The commercial drivers and conductors go through hell, most times, to transport their commuters. For the NURTW “boys”, this hustling means nothing except you pay your dues or have your fuel tank cover removed, engine cover or wiper destroyed.
Honestly, these “baboons” are well off compared to the workaholic drivers and conductors. Some of them have their children in the best schools; sponsor their adult children abroad for better academic experience. Talk about their weekend? A Lord of the ring lifestyle. They travel to places of interest, after all, money for them, is guaranteed. If they work, our money is as sure as death, one of them funnily injected. What a system! The workaholic pay financial homage to the properly unschooled ‘boys’. For some of them who are futuristic in their approach to life, they can be seen making huge savings to their “human bankers”. What they are worth in a day, financially speaking, is far more than the combination of a driver’s and a conductor’s weekly worth. As an aside, a number of them earn more than the salary of a school teacher.
Little wonder why a growing number of children could see future in such a “profession”. They are getting ready to take over from the “big boys”. I foresee they will be more radical, rascally, pugilistic, and dangerous. If food is sure for the “baboon”, let’s prepare for the entry of more “baboons”. This piece, I firmly believe, has fulfilled its goal of calling our attention to the new breed of “NURTW baboons”.
Samuel Ogunnaike, Lagos.