Victoria Chukwuma

Hol your change before you board a Danfo bus

Hol’ your change before you board any Danfo bus if you plan to jump buses in Lagos. This edition of #DanfoSeries, will try to convince you why this is important and your fate, if otherwise.

“Obalende hol’ ya N150”

“Obalende, Obalende straight bus”

Of the lot of us standing under the bridge at WAEC bus stop, no-one made a move to board the bus. Our eyes were fixated in the opposite direction as we looked expectantly at oncoming vehicles, willing them to not just take the Obalende route but also take N100 as fare.

“Obalende, Obalende, hol ya N150” “hol your change ” the conductor repeated.

“Carry hundred nau. Today na Sunday”, a middle-aged man begged.

He hesitated for a while, spoke with his Driver and at the top of his voice he yelled, “hol’ ya change before you enter, 100 naira”

“I no get change oh. Obalende enter with your hundred-naira change” and as if the bell at Kings Landing was pulled, that was all.

He stepped back to give us all enough space to fight. Atypical of Lagos, we struggled, grappled and shoved each other while fiercely holding our bags, purses and pockets until the ‘chosen ones’ filled out the seat of the bus.

You don’t need to wonder if I made it in, of course, I did!

2 decades’ experience y’all *dusts shoulder pad** of living in Lagos!

Meanwhile. when the battle was ongoing the conductor continued begging that ‘we hol our change’. He repeated this till a stinging, high-pitched voice emanated from the back seats.

“Oga, what is ya ploblem? We get ears nau”
“You don dey shout since morning, keep chut abeg”

****Fare collection began halfway through the journey.

How fare collection works when you board a Danfo bus in Lagos.

People living in Lagos, Nigeria are not known for their obedience to instructions. So when you are told to hol’ your change before you board a Danfo bus, it is usually at your owner’s risk.

Some times, you get away with it save the bus conductor vituperation.  Some other times, you get the bus conductor vituperation, delayed at the bus stop, and ‘married’ to a fellow stubborn person to sort yourselves out.

Especially when the bus conductor has the better job of informing you ab initio, you are at his mercy and he knows it.

Back inside the bus, the two persons seated beside the driver paid N500 (Five Hundred Naira) each.

The conductor almost plucked out his own eyes from cussing and shouting.

First row.

An inexperienced bus conductor had collected the fees of 3 other passengers and in return, gave N1000 (One Thousand Naira) banknote to the conductor who cussed us him aloud. He recounted his shouts at the bus stop under his breath.

With enough spittle to go round, he proceeded to the second row.

Second row.

“owó da” “wey una money”

The Igbo man who had cautioned him to keep quiet earlier presented N1000 note for two persons and turned his gaze to the other side.

This time, the conductor almost emptied his intestines on the man’s head and they went in for each other’s throat with vitriol.

“Oloshi, na you say make I shut up àbi, you give me N1000. I go show you today” the conductor shouted.

“Your head no correct. You no be conductor? Who suppose get change between two and both of us? Furrish man.
Give me my change ọ sísọ”

“Come collect am na, shebi na your mama give me change. Onisokuso oshi”

“I go treat your fuckup”

By the time he got to my row, the 4th row, he had about 6 notes (500 & 1000) and was out of huff and puff.

Did he shout at me when I extended a 500naira note to him? “No”
Did he insult my parents? “No”

Even though I wished he did.

He only gave me a sly smile and shook his head.

At that point, I resigned my fate to the gods. I grieved ever being stubborn. Also recalled my mum saying that stubbornness will kill me.

I apologised to my parents, sister and everyone I have wronged.

I wished I had listened to my mother and father.

When they tell you hol’ your change before you board a danfo bus, please do. A conductor shaking his head at you is akin to death by poisonous rat bites.

Yes, I also notified the person I was going to meet up that I would be late.

You don’t need to know how it ended so I’d just stop here.


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