I am a truck driver and I have been at this for more than 20years.
In all of these years, I have had accidents and when accidents happen, people die…animals, goats o, rams o, even chicken and lizards die on the highway, so I am a man accustomed to having my tyres spill blood!
But there was one blood I almost spilled, I have a story for you and every time I think about it again and again, I just shake and goose pimples appear on my skin.
So this is what happened.
I was driving a huge truck at that time; for delivery, for all kinds of goods. Anybody that needed to move things, I was always available. I usually parked my truck by the side of the road, if for instance, I got to one state, after delivering, I saw that there was too much traffic, I would pack by the roadside so that around 2am or so, when traffic had lessened, I would head to my next destination to pick up goods. I would usually drive through the night so that by morning I would at least be close to where I was going.
So, that particular day, I had come to deliver bags of rice, over 300 bags of rice from the Ports to a woman at Mushin market. My next stop was Abeokuta to pick up bags of sugar. But there was too much traffic and with my kind of truck, the heat in the truck can cook a human being.
I stopped at Sango Otta. By the road, at that time, these new constructions hadn’t been done and that place was a rough area. This was some 10years ago, o.
I parked my truck to go to a nearby hotel for short time as body no be wood, na.
That is where I slept off. I woke up around maybe 4am. I was even angry with myself that I overslept. I quickly got up, washed my face and put chewing stick in my mouth and left the hotel.
One thing about me is this, I always made sure my truck was in good condition, you know the kind of work we did then, we were easy targets for armed robbers and area boys, especially if your truck developes problems on the way. I always made sure my truck was in good condition even though it was old and looked useless. You see, if armed robbers attacked me and stole the goods I was supposed to deliver, who would bail me out of police trouble?
So that morning, I hurried to get into my truck to start on my journey. I was going to Abeokuta.
Ok, so before I left I climbed on top of something to check my bonnet, oil, water, everything was intact. I entered truck to start the engine, I turned the key, taayuuunyuun, yuun…engine started, then stopped!
Ha, what happened, why did the engine not start?
You know it is a truck, it is manual driving, so I pumped the clutch well and turned the key again…taayunnunn, yuuunnnn…started but engine died again!
I began to get angry after trying unsuccessfully for more than 10 times!
Why did the engine not roll?
I got down. I checked the engine. I checked the back. I checked the plugs…I checked everything, my sister, I did not see anything that could go wrong with the engine.
I was asking myself, what kind of time wasting is this one?
So I came down again, I looked around the truck, under the truck, maybe my engine oil had leaked overnight…no oil leakage under the truck, just rubbish that people had dumped around the truck, you know, nylon wrappers, sugarcane, biscuits wraps, pure water…
I went back up and started the engine again, no response. So I couldn’t move. I had to stay in the truck till morning so that I could find a mechanic.
I had been in the truck for some time and I wanted to piss. I got down to pee by the back tyres of my truck. I was about to release my trousers by the tyre when I saw a black nylon… just under the tyre. As in, the person that put it there put it so that as soon as I change gear from starting engine, I must crush the nylon because it was just under the back tyres.
But the nylon had something in it, my first thoughts were, maybe this nylon had nails, other sharp objects that could pierce my tyres if I should roll over it and then I would have tyre problems on the road. I wanted to kick it away from under my tryes so that I wouldn’t…I was still unzipping and about to use one leg to kick it away when it moved!
Ehehn! I bent to look well and it moved!
Ewo! What is this?
I moved back fast! I was not scared, I just thought maybe someone trapped a rat inside, a big rat or maybe even a cat because as it moved, I heard it cry…that was when I took off!
And at this time, I was just laughing at myself, I said to myself,“‘Jimoh, you, strongman, three- men- in- one, small thing inside nylon is making you fear? How many dangerous nights have you spent on the roads and you fearlessly drove through, please don’t disgrace your manhood, go and find out what is under your tyres.”
Ok, so I went to get a long stick to prod the nylon bag because I wasn’t sure of the animal making that was making the noise inside it.
I used the long stick to drag it from under my tyres and out in the open, at this time, day was beginning to break, so I could see even better…
My sister, as I dragged it out, I heard something crying like a baby!
I dropped the stick and took off again!
Me! Three- men- in- one! I heard a cry like a baby, I ran?
Yes o. I ran!
I then called some people who had begun to set up for the day; there was one woman who was arranging things to start frying akara; there was a vulcanizer who was pulling out his machine to set it by the roadside; there were a few more people, who had slept nearby, washing their faces with pure water and cleaning themselves in readiness for the day.
I called them, I said, please come I help me see what I have woken from sleep to see, o. This one pass me.
So they followed me, they saw the nylon wriggling and we all heard crying from inside. The vulcaniser drew near and managed to use the stick to pull the nylon apart…behold, it was a baby inside!
This life! Someone is throwing a baby away when some people will kill to have just one child! This world, I fear them!
The vulcanizer brought the baby out, it was a boy. He brought him out of the nylon. The iya’lakara woman brought out a wrapper, to wrap the baby and we all followed to the police station to show them the baby. We reported what happened and later before we left, they told us that there is an orphanage not too far from that place, so they were saying they would take the baby there.
I was in so much shock and wonder at the callousness of some human beings. If you don’t want a baby, why not give it to motherless homes? Why try to kill the baby? What if I had started my truck that day and the engine kicked in, I would definitely have crushed the baby and that is what the person intended to happen.
But let me tell you the best part of this story. I went back to my truck, after all the talk, talk I had with the rest of the other people, I started my truck again and one time, engine answered me, gigigigigigi!
I swear to you. I put it off and started it again, gigigigigi, engine started, no wahala! That child is special to God, that s the way I see it!
Abi you don’t see God in all of these?
So it was God that didn’t want innocent blood on my head, that is why the engine didn’t start that day. When the baby was removed, it started…don’t you have goosebumps on your body?
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)