I am an Uber driver and I have been in this business for the past three years. I graduated with a 2.1 Pharmacy degree 10 years ago from a state university in the east.
I was hired to work in the sales department of one of these pharmaceutical companies. I lost my job in 2015, that is after about 7 years on the job.
I lost it because I was careless. I really don’t want to go into the details because it is in the past. I thank God that I have something doing because as an Igbo man, I couldn’t afford to be lazy or jobless. I have no godfather anywhere and this Lagos is a tough mistress, always demanding and demanding things of you.
I met someone who was looking for an Uber driver; remember I said I used to work as a sales rep at a pharmaceutical company? Because of the nature of that job I know many places in Lagos.
The owner of the Uber and I agreed a fee; in fact, he told me that after two years, he would give me the car, it is a 2005 Toyota Camry.
I was a careful driver, not only because the owner promised to give me the car but because I wanted to prove to myself that I had learned from my past mistakes.
At the beginning, Uber was really lucrative, I took home a substantial amount and returned good cash to the owner of the car but today, it is an all comers business, there is Uber, there is Taxify, there are so many competing with us in this business, so the money isn’t coming like before and traffic is always bad for business.
Anyway, today, I own the Camry, the man honored his words and gave me the Camry after just two years and I still remain a careful driver.
Last week, I got a call to come to Mende to take someone to Opebi; it was a young girl. No wahala. I try as much as possible to be friendly with my passengers, not only because of ratings but you never know who can help your destiny.
We had got to Maryland road just before Onigbongbo, when we ran into traffic, you know how Lagos drivers can be impatient especially when there is traffic.
The oncoming lane was blocked by impatient drivers on our lane so it was really a bad traffic. You also know that in such situations, cars will brush themselves, as you are all trying to inch forward because you don’t want to give space to those drivers that used the oncoming side and want to enter your lane to give right of way to the oncoming traffic.
So we were inching, inching, sweating, struggling not to give way when I felt my car lurch forward; one stupid danfo driver behind me had hit me. Unfortunately for me, I also hit a jeep that was being driven by a woman in front of me.
The woman came down and was just shouting; she asked me if I don’t have eyes, she asked me if I have the money to repair her jeep. I too came down because the Danfo that hit me, had somehow maneuvered out from behind me and was weaving his way crazily between traffic to get away…his fellow danfo drivers just cleared for him and he was gone!
So I was really angry.
In Lagos, if you are in trouble in traffic, you are on your own.
I know that a lot of motorists saw what happened. I turned back to tell the woman that the Danfo was the cause of this wahala but she was just beyond caring. I hit her car from the back and I must pay!
I have never seen a woman with such a loud voice; she was just shouting and cursing me.
Of course I too got angry. Why won’t she listen to reason? My car is a Camry, hers is a jeep, who suffered damage more? Isn’t it me? And see the bloody traffic, the mad driving, this kind of accident can happen and really, where is the dent she was even talking about, a small one, compared to the big one on my own bonnet.
Before I knew what was happening, we had caused another serious traffic added to the existing one. I told the woman to move her car, so we could leave that chaos. She refused, she said I wanted to use that as an opportunity to run away; that I was doing this because she is a woman, that I wanted to cheat her.
She then picked up her phone and made a call.
Me I just thought she was calling her husband, typical of female drivers in Lagos. So, I attempted to move my car to the side, remember there was traffic already so where would I run to?
This woman just quickly ran into her jeep and reversed into my Camry shattering my headlamps and the radiator!
Is she mad! Did she want to kill me and my passenger?
At that time, I did not care if her husband was Buhari, I reversed then rolled forward and hit her back! What kind of cheating is this?
Yes, it was out of anger but this clearly was cheating!
Anyway as I came out to see the damage I did to her car and my own, I just saw five or six military guys jogging towards us. In my mind, I said, thank God, they will restore sanity.
But you see, they were not there for sanity, they came for more chaos. The woman pointed at me and before I could gather myself, I heard powai! On my face, powai, powai! They were raining slaps and kicking me and beating me in the open, opendentially!
The woman’s husband is in the military!
Everybody took off. You know how busy that road is, once the military people came and began to beat me, the place cleared out one time!
I began to beg them, I begged them to pity me that it wasn’t my fault.
They dragged me to the barracks, I began to look for my passenger so that she could at least be my witness; for where; the girl had disappeared like smoke.
I am still recovering from all the beating I got. I was detained for two days and asked to panel beat her car even though my car was more damaged than hers.
I thanked them and went to tow my car from their barracks. I will be off duty for some time to recover. God dey!