LAGOS BUS CONDUCTORS: A URBAN MENACE

Don’t ever be kind to a Lagos Bus Conductor. Yes, Danfo and Molué Conductors are humans too, and they deserve to be seen and heard. Respect them, yes; but be kind to them, not on your life. Lagos Bus Conductors, next to agberos, are the most uncivil set of individual you can ever find in a human society. Everything about them bespeaks uncouth, unmannered, unlearned and abhorrent. The ragamuffin dress code, the brash, grating lingo, and the mostly-drunken or doped mien, together with the acts they exhibit, are appalling, to put it mildly. And they have “feral scents” to boot.

Well, I have had several rubs with Danfo and Molué Conductors to have nothing lofty or sublime to say about them. I have been swindled and robbed and man-handled, and insulted and abused by these human beasts, to not waste flowery words on them and what they do. I am a man who knows: They don’t like you if you are the highbrow type. They will tongue lash you to pulp if you dare to reason with them in such Language of learning as English. They will practically throw you out of their recklessly-driven bus if you won’t pay the correct fare. The bus fare is usually hiked when it gets to your turn to pay if they know you are a J.J.C. (Johnny Just Come, From Out Of Town)

Many times I have forgotten to ask for my change when alighting from a bus, no conductor has ever called my attention to the oversight. You can hardly ever short-change a Lagos Bus Conductor. You dare not even joke with them, unless you are as crazy as they are. The other day I took a bus from Obalende to Lekki-Maroko; the conductor had been particularly harsh to one bespectacled, catholic-looking old lady, who was pleading with him to excuse her that she had only ninety Naira of the One Hundred Naira fare. The conductor was so verbally assaulting the poor lady, imprecating on her like he would kill her dead with his lashing tongue, that a fellow passenger had bailed the poor woman out by making good the deficiency of Ten Naira. We hadn’t gone a mile when the conductor asked if anybody in the bus could help him with a change for Five Hundred Naira Note. He was going to give a passenger four Hundred Naira Change, but had only one Two Hundred Naira Note. I obliged him by lending him the single Two Hundred Naira Note I had. I did that to teach him a lesson in kindness. But I was so wrong. I was already on an Okada in the last lap of my journey to The Palms when it occurred to me that I had forgotten to ask back my lended money. I had paid my full fare, and to forego my Two Hundred would be a forlorn waste. I raced back to the bus stop, but the bus was gone, with the rogue conductor and my money. What a swindle? On another incident, I paid the fare of Fitfy Naira with a Five Hundred Naira Note. I had kept asking for the change right from Constain to Orile, but in the mad rush to disembark to hop on the available Okada to continue my journey to Mile 2
I cleanly forgot the change. That was a daylight robbery.

I don’t know how the conductor craft- particularly, Molue, and Danfo- conductorship came into being. Perhaps it is the Lagos Hustle, but why subsequent governments of Lagos have condone their nefarious activities beats me. I suggested their phasing out, but my respondent took me back to school on the importance of Bus Conductors. I found that these miscreants have great use and importance to society as a pool of human resources in certain professions.

These Bus Conductors like the agberos, and Area Boys, are the standing army of political thugs and bandits. Unscrupulous politicians employ these ones to terrorise their opponents and snatch electoral materials or assault Electoral Officers, and the carrying out the general works of electoral malpractices, during elections. This is to say, there are some who are favourably disposed to the menace of these scums of the Lagos Earth.

Those who are kind to them are like them, and so are those who accommodate them. They and those who support them are public enemies. I hope succeeding government of this excellent state wake up to the need of sanitising the polity by phasing out these miscreants. I would have suggested phasing out Molue and Danfos, but these are Modern Cultural Heritage of Lagos State, The Center of Excellence. We don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. The iron fist to punch them with should be wrapped in velvet.

Eko o ni baje o!

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