The serene ambience of the evening warmed my skin as I sat under the mango tree outside my house, having my routine relaxation. I had just returned from an uneventful journey to AIICO Insurance Company, Victoria Island, Lagos. I had gone to make some modifications to my insurance packages and payment plan. I sat down, replaying events that happened earlier in the day.
I remembered how I had gotten out of bed at 5:30 a.m., as it is widely held that to achieve anything at any Nigerian financial institution, one needed to arrive at the bank earlier than the cleaner. I headed to the bathroom to get myself laved, and I rushed out in the flash of light. I wore my white and blue checkered shirt and my black jeans trousers. I spruced up my appearance with a sprinkle of my newly gotten perfume oil. As usual, never to be “cut un-fresh”.
I had set out at 6:00 a.m. I flagged down a motorcycle heading to the motor park. I spent twenty minutes getting to the motor park. I waited for the driver to get his old Mazda E2200 bus filled up with more passengers; I spotted a shade where a woman was selling hot Akàrà balls and finely baked Agégé bread; I got off the bus and purchased the inviting meal.
I got #200 bread and #100 worth of Akàrà. Well, it was savoury. I was lucky enough, as the bus got filled up within fifteen minutes, as opposed to some forty-five minutes or more spent in getting a bus filled up on most days.
The driver roared the old bus to life by revving irritatingly. What a rickety bus! He called on the road and began racing with other vehicles in a bid to combat Lagos’ excruciating traffic. While the journey continued, I did my usual practice of having a short prayer to commit my safety in the hands of God. This time the driver had just passed Sam Ethnan Air Force Base at Ikeja. The sky brightened up with a more apparent illumination of the day; I took a cursory glance at my wristwatch; it was 7:10 a.m. I decided to bring out my newly acquired Tecno Camon 12 Android phone, I then connected it to my Oraimo earpod device to make a foray into a realm of musical bliss.
I adjusted my nose mask as I was itched by it. As the bus sped on, I noticed traffic building up ahead; I became infuriated, as the bus approached the traffic and slowed down its race to a halt, “What a bungled day in Lagos!” I muttered silently. I only hoped it was not going to eat up much of my time.
The bus began to move as the traffic flow eased up. As the bus moved, I saw people thronged, I concluded that an accident had occurred. The bus approached the scene of the gathering, and it turned out to be a fatal accident as the officers of the road safety corps were seen bringing out some dead and mangled bodies from the wreck involving a truck and a similar Mazda E2200 bus.
I lamented about how inhumane our government had chosen to be about the state of Nigerian roads; I also wondered how recklessly some drivers drove their vehicles without any thought as to endangering the lives of others. The bus was back to its race, as we gradually approached the iconic third mainland bridge, I had a wave of some childhood memories.
As a lad, I thought of how this humongous bridge was erected over the ocean; also I nurtured the fear of the bridge caving in while commuters were on it. I smiled at these memories and thanked God for growth.
The bus joined other vehicles in racing on the bridge. I stared out through the window and caught a glimpse of some parts of the University of Lagos Campus, Akoka. I remembered my days as an undergraduate there. Groovy and experience-filled it was! I continued my stare at the vast river underneath the bridge and paid rapt attention to the rafters above it.
The bus headed en route to Victoria Island, the morning illumination was filled with hope…”a beautiful day it was!”, I said to myself. I checked my briefcase and confirmed if all necessary documents were with me. I heaved a sigh of relief to find them all complete, as I thought I left some at home due to how hurriedly I became. At this time, the bus was gradually approaching Victoria Island, fondly called “VI” by most Lagosians. This time I was more concerned with the rigmaroles I would face at the Insurance company, the thought of this frustrated me.
The bus jerked to a stop, I alighted from the bus and crossed to the other side of the road, as I espied a Taxi cab across the street. I boarded it and headed down to Churchgate street, Victoria Island. The taxi gradually stopped in front of the massive building of the AIICO Insurance PLC. At this time, I had an improper feeling in my stomach. I didn’t have a clue that this feeling would later become the cause of an awkward moment for me.
I walked majestically into the building; at the entrance, the security officer screened me. I then headed directly to the insurer’s desk, where I was given some forms to fill out and waited to submit them. During this time, the feeling in my stomach became intense, so I requested directions to the convenience, I relieved myself of the stool. It turned out to be that the savoury Akàrà and bread had detoured from its purpose of gratifying my taste buds to causing me a dysfunction. “What a bungled day! “I exclaimed.
I got out of the toilet and returned to the insurer’s desk, and found out that my turn in the line had passed. I joined another line; I had to revisit the toilet; it became an awkward atmosphere for me. I was lucky to have returned just when it was my turn to submit the forms and conclude the whole process. I presented the paper and was told to return the following week. I briskly exited the building.
“What a relief!”, I sighed outside the building. The stool feeling tripled in its intensity, this time around and I was left with no choice than to cuss the maleficent woman from whom I bought the Akàrà and bread meal. I hobbled with my squeezed fundament to the main road. I became desperate to relieve myself, and I looked around for a public toilet, I asked a passerby for the direction to one, she then directed me, I considered how far it was to where I was.
So, I decided to do the Nigerian ‘shot put’ style. I relieved myself nearby. As I was relieving myself, two female officers of the State environmental sanitation agency were on patrol, and they patrolled to when I was relieving myself, this compounded my already messed up situation. I froze!
“Good day, gentleman.” They both said.
“G-o-o-d even-in-g, officers.” I replied stutteringly.
“You have just committed an offence of open defecation as contained in the Lagos State Environmental Management Protection Law of 2017”, one of them said smugly.
I knew at that instance that I was in a more significant mess.
“For this inappropriate offence, you are to accompany us to our office to pay a 5,000 fine.” The other officer said.
I pleaded for clemency, but it was to no effect. I was led to their truck even as shabby and stench reeking as I was. At their office, I was registered for the offence I committed, and I was near to tears seeing my name is written in their records for such a disgraceful violation. I paid the fine and was still delayed. The sky was going bleak. I checked my wristwatch; it was 5:30 p.m.
“You may now go!” The arrogant female officer said and left.
I was so frustrated, and I felt less of myself. I made my way out of the building. The evening was rapidly morphing into the night. I looked at my phone; it was 6:15 p.m. I decided to place an order for an uber ride, home. I felt this would avoid the stress of moving from one bus to another in my shabby state. Sullenly, I entered the car and headed home.
Ezekiel Raymond Oluwakayomide Agboola is a 300 level Law student of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state. He is passionate about arts and creativity, especially creative writing. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org