Different Kinds of Nigerians, By Odera Okakpu

Odera Okakpu

The other day, a friend and I were in a cab when we came across some traffic in Abuja. Promptly, our cab driver veered off the road to the sidewalk, and sped past the others wasting their precious time in that hold up.

This situation drew me to imagine in the context of Nigeria as a whole. We have the struggling masses who are on the normal path to greater things (or not, because some people in that traffic may have been there because there was no way for them to take the shortcut). In that traffic jam, some of them were driving others, representing how others control some people’s destiny here in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, there are those that choose to struggle through the hardships of the country. Whether their end is good or bad, they reject the shortcut, pretend it is not even there. On that same path there are those driving others through that road, whether those that are being driven would prefer the shortcut, their input is not recognized. Still on the path are those that are being influenced by the ones they are driving, convincing them to stay on that road against their will.

There are the Nigerians that like to fool themselves that they are “not really” on the illegal road, and they try to show that they still support those that chose to stay in traffic, and even endorse their methods.

There are the Nigerians that end up feeling guilty half way and fall back into the same rhythm as the masses, and then those that actually completed the shortcut but finish up in front as if they were in the traffic the whole time.

There are the ones that do not look back at what they have done, and continue forward without a care in the world. While there are the ones like myself in that traffic who know it is wrong, would not like to be part of something so wrong, but still are not motivated enough to speak up against any form of wrongdoing.

As we made our way to the front of the traffic, I noticed those that had gone off the road and possibly had second thought, and were trying to get back into the traffic they had already managed to cut off. Way at the front were those ones that had completed the off-the-road shortcut successfully, and were already zooming off to their destination.

In that same traffic, there could very possibly have been the antsy passenger asking their cab to take that way, and the cab driver blatantly refusing. There could also be the driver that had contemplated taking an off-the-road shortcut but was convinced not to, much to his chagrin. An there could be the one “smart” drive that was fooling only himself by going off the road, but still crawling slowly next to the cars in the traffic.

Neither I nor my friend said a word in disapproval of our driver’s decision to break road regulations, when we were very aware of how uncouth his action was. We just sat there and enjoyed the ride.




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