The yellow buses of Lagos are more than just moving vehicles. They’re melting pots of different personalities, backgrounds, experiences and convictions. As a result, yellow buses have always and remain, one of the best sources for news as it’s breaking. The gist in these buses range from politics to sports to entertainment. It even covers the recent challenges of an area such as light and crime.
From the way passengers participate in such discussions or not participate at all, one can tell about their personality. I’ve noticed some recurring characters though in these buses. Allow me to go into them.
The driver is whoever is at the steering at any given time. This is because, they do not own the buses all the time and sometimes within the course of the journey there’s an exchange. I’ve noticed there are two categories most drivers fall into. The chill driver and fast and furious driver. The chill driver is more gentle, dresses nicely and plays some nice Yoruba jams for the passengers to groove to. On a good day, a chill driver would wait patiently for passengers to “woole” or “Boole. That is to enter or get down.
The fast and furious guy has no chill. His mind is simply on getting to his destination quickly. His finesse can be likened to them fast and furious actors, Hence the name.
The drivers friend.
These guys mostly ride shotgun and gist with the driver throughout. Sometimes for free. It is not rare for them hang on the body of the vehicle. You can tell he isn’t the conductor because of his lackadaisical attitude in attracting fares.
The big daddy.
The big daddies are those who are on the old side. They look like fathers and are treated as such. They mostly remain quiet and don’t speak unless necessary. Most times, they have the last word on issues.
The big uncle.
The big uncle dresses quite nicely, is young, and looks like he’s coming back from work. The big uncle just positions himself in one corner, either next to a window or by the exit and doesn’t give two about what’s going on in the bus. They can be spotted reading a book, newspaper or on their phone. Junior big uncles are the chill dudes.
The tush babe.
You can tell a tush babe right from where she boards before you even start considering her dressing or her hairdo self. Tush girls normally board around residential areas after they’ve just visited a friend, are about to visit a friend, or coming back from an outing. They can also be picked around places to catch fun. They don’t dress badly and are mostly on their phone through out.
The sharp guy.
There are two situations where a sharp guy manifests. When there’s a problem with change and when the car breaks down. The typical sharp guy doesn’t want to be cheated on and reacts vehemently at the slightest hint of the conductor trying to cheat him. Especially when it comes to change. The other period of manifestation is if the vehicle should break down. The sharp guy is at the forefront of asking for refunds and can turn it into fights. When the sharp guy is not arguing for his right, he’s mostly lowkey or answering a phone call. He’s the kind of guy that would tell you he’s at a venue when he just entered a bus.
The Good Samaritan.
More often than not, the Good Samaritan is seated next to the sharp guy or the Jagaban (I would get into that next). Two of who are the most troublesome. The Good Samaritans are characterised by the fact that they always have change and tend to help a passenger who’s got trouble finding change. The Good Samaritan also separates fights while it is still an exchange of words.
The Jagaban. Aka street warrior.
It’s a pity, if you’re in a bus with two Jagabans as personalities/egos would surely clash. The Jagabans are the street warriors. The local champions of their vicinities and are always down for a fight. Their utterances are something like this, “cuss, swear, go to *insert name of street here* and ask about *insert gangsta name* and you’d know. “Or, “let’s get down first and if I don’t break your head, let me know why.”
The conductor at times is a low key Jagaban. This is the individual who at a given period is designated to attract fares and collect their payments. Some drivers have taken it upon their self to be driver and conductor. They drive up to a point, stop come down and collect very one money. Maybe in a bid to avoid sharing profits. I think so. The conductor has driving skill and takes over the steering should anything happen that takes the driver away.
The mummies that know themselves.
The mummies that know themselves board the bus in twos and threes. Most of the time they board around a market or a hospital. They gist through out the bus ride and side themselves should any argument arise. It is not rare for them to be seen carrying babies. If they are with a baby, they would take every rough maneuver very personal. Very personal.
Which brings me to my next,
The enforcers of justice.
They are the passengers who scold the driver whenever he drives very roughly to the point where it inconveniences them(because most time they don’t talk if it only helps them get further.). Should the driver start moving before a passenger gets down completely or get seated, the driver would face the sharp tongue of these law enforcement agents. Almost every passenger apart from the big uncle, the driver’s friend, the conductor and the foreigner acts as a law enforcer.
The foreigner can either be an interstate immigrant (from a non-Yoruba speaking state I.e, those from Yoruba speaking states see to fit right in) or an IJGB. I.e I Just Got Back. Back from abroad I.e. you can tell if one is a foreigner by the dressing. Also, they tend to look closely and pay particular attention to gesticulations and facial expressions of anyone speaking Yoruba to them. These foreigners are not always present. But there is at least one present in every bus I board. I’ll let you figure it out.
The open eye aunty.
The open eye aunty is kind of the female equivalent of the sharp guy. Though they don’t always argue about change, if you pinch them they would bite. And they would bite where it hurts. It is not rare for them to be in a fight with the driver, conductor or a male passenger. You don’t want to mess with open eye aunty.
Finally, no bus would ever be complete without,
They don’t board the bus per se, but they are responsible for keeping everyone on the bus refreshed and so can not be ignored. I’m sure you have an idea who they are. They are the ones who run after buses hawking their wares. Have you seen their speed?? And their accuracy? The way they dodge moving cars? Men, Nigeria has got to tap into them. The Olympians come in various forms and types. Based on their wares of course. My favorite of these Olympians is the gala guy. Gala makes sense!
In my opinion no bus ride is complete when any of these characters is absent. And together, they make the bus ride a great though rowdy but great experience.
Let me know the character that resembles you most.
Let me know if there’s any character I missed out.
Thanks for reading!