Most people who know me would know that I am an okada freak. My love for bikes is synonymous with my hatred for traffic. And so I bike away. I can afford to practice Nigerian time because I know within the slated hour; I would be at my destination- traffic or no traffic; Even better when there’s none. That’s the immense power of bikes. They don’t call it ‘Power bike’ for nothing. But then, my addiction to this mode of transportation grew as fast as that of a junkie to his drugs. For no reason at all, I would board a bike…even to short-routed destinations. Speed became an item for me as well. I think Airtel took their new ad campaign slogan right out of my head (I should remember to sue later) – ‘Speed is an attitude’ because to me, it became one. when I’m atop a bike, I like to feel like I am James Bond the Female, I position both arms like I’m holding a gun- and it doesn’t help that I watch movies a lot or love video games because then also, the world turns into this movie-land I live in or a game in which I’m the villain and need to win. I love the way the bikes cut through tiny spaces in between cars or try to overtake a fast car- to me it’s all a challenge in the game or a scene in a movie. (I need deliverance, I know). I have considered getting a car of my own. Oh Yes I have. But the thought, once again, of being suspended in traffic has kept it out of reach. This is the kind of prayer that is presented at the altar of MFM, ‘Every stumbling block (okada) to my car should be removed’. In my case, ‘Errrr…hold on Lord. Save Nigeria from Traffic first” *adjusts halo*
And so my infatuation for this machinery kept growing and so far nothing I have been told by my friends and loved ones have changed anything; every advice falling on deaf ears. I’ve been told all and sundry of bike mishaps. I have been asked on several occasions “have you been to Igbogbi?”, I have seen with my own eyes first hand encounter of bike accidents but none has moved me until I alighted from the bike I took all the way from Gbagada to Lekki phase 1 on that fateful day, as they say.
It took all might and power, as well as divine intervention (literally with the presence of the clergy) to convince the police that the on-coming car didn’t hit the okada man, now sprawled on the road convulsing. Apparently, the okada man is epileptic, as we gathered later, and was undergoing one of his occurring episodes as he was making a U-turn at the Lekki gate.
That gave me the entire shocker I needed and different questions posed itself in my mind. “What if he was on the express, perhaps the third mainland bridge, on high speed and he happened to have an episode?”
Worse, what if I was on a bike that the rider is epileptic? Tufikwa! God- forbid. I felt shivers run down my spine as I watched the man on the floor shaking uncontrollably, the security men trying hard to get him off the centre of the road to a safer place. From what I also gathered, most of his ‘friends’ or should I say colleagues didn’t even know he was epileptic and the few who knew, had ceaselessly warned him to abstain from bike riding and venture into something else productive.
It’s not an unknown fact that epilepsy is a dangerous ailment. Unlike any other ailment, epilepsy is pretty dangerous not just to people around but to the victim most especially because episodes can occur at anytime. And I mean anytime. It could be while brewing coffee or plugging a switch, or changing an electric phase, or cooking or driving or while bathing- Anytime. It doesn’t help that most do not know what triggers theirs- like the case of the illiterate okada man who probably doesn’t know what he is suffering from.
Another case is of those who know what they are suffering from but are too ashamed to confide in a friend or someone who isn’t family. If you remember the ad which was creating awareness on the ignorance of epilepsy giving an example of such a case where this girl, who is epileptic, didn’t include it in her employment details, only to be at an office function and she had an episode, only for her colleagues to think she was dancing L (it seemed funny at first but it really isn’t).
I really don’t see the shame in telling your friend you are epileptic, I mean everyone’s making their ailment cool these days. It’s almost like if you don’t have an ailment, you are missing out. So why choose to die alone? The closest person to you can be your saviour when you suddenly start having your seizure attacks.
More so, if you are epileptic, I want to oblige you to take an adventure trip and discover what triggers yours so as to avoid occurrences especially at odd times. And please visit your doctor to give you medication necessary, though it can’t be cured, it can be controlled to a certain level.
As for me, whether I would stop riding bikes or not, I really do not know, what I’m sure of is, I make a conscious effort to ask each bike men if they are sick.