Thursday, October 8, 2009
This morning, when I was coming back from taking Jeremy to school, I saw another example of how crazy the okada drivers really are. Fatai and I were very close to our compound. We had just turned on the street right next to the compound, when Fatai had to slam on the brakes very hard. Right in front of us was a bus that was turning the wrong way down the street. An okada was right next to it, but did not want to wait. The bus didn't have enough room to clear the curb and the okada driver thought he could beat the bus. Well, he sure didn't beat the bus. In fact, his okada got stuck under the bus. The okada driver was okay and got up and started yelling loudly at the bus driver. Then, other people on the bus opened their windows and started yelling at the okada driver. More okada drivers came over and yelled at the bus driver. It was a crazy situation. Nigerian men , and some women, have very hot tempers and situations can escalate out of control very quickly. Fatai and I could not go anywhere because there were cars behind us. Thankfully, the fight broke up when the bus driver screamed very loudly at the okada driver and revved his engine and drove off almost hitting the okada driver. Both the bus driver and the okada driver were wrong...but no one will admit it. Fatai told me that the best place to stay in a situation like that is in the car. Do not try to get out and leave, because people can get violent very quickly. ( Last year a truck driver hit an okada in an accident and killed the driver. Other okada drivers saw it happen and swarmed the truck. They pulled him out and beat him to death right on the street.) You never know what will happen. It seems that volatile situations can always spring up in this country. In Nigeria, you don't have to be right, you just have to scream the loudest and carry the biggest stick to survive.