by Elnathan John
You have crossed that awkward, deeply uncomfortable, sometimes shameful social state of being without a car. I mean in some countries where the public transport system works, not having a car is no big deal. But you are in Nigeria, where public transport is living hell, and owning a car can be the difference between life and social death.
You had suffered the humiliation and attendant frustrations. You swore to yourself, after the girl you came to a party with left in an air conditioned car, that things must change. The Nigerian god felt your pain, heard your cries of affliction and consequently, after much tithing and prayers, blessed your hustle. Enough to buy your own car. I rejoice with you.
You have taken the car to the man of God and they have spent over an hour with the bonnet open, anointing your car and protecting it against the spirit of accidents that those jealous neighbours and village enemies are sure to send your way. That is fine. But you also need my advice.
Your car is not beautiful unless you have covered it in stickers. Get one from your church or fellowship that declares this year to be your “year of anointing”, or your “year of unsurpassed success”. If your wife or husband goes to a different church, get one from hers too. You can never get too many. Get one sticker that declares your child to be a Star Student. Let those with dull children see it and regret that their wives didn’t take enough vitamins during pregnancy. Because of Police on the road, get either an NBA sticker or an ARMY sticker. You don’t have to be a lawyer or soldier to get them. Especially the NBA one – you can find that one in any court premises for one or two hundred naira.
Depending on how much God has blessed your hustle, get a customised plate number with your name or nickname, such as TONY01; DE DON 01; DADDY K. The ‘01’ is useful even if you have only one car. It just shows how much you have faith that more will come. Otherwise, depending on your level of gratitude to God, you can use a nice Bible verse, like ISAIAH43:4 or something like that.
Now that you are a car owner, you need to realise that your status has changed. You need to treat pedestrians with the disdain they deserve. It doesn’t matter that you were once a pedestrian crossing these same streets. You must never think like a pedestrian and do silly things like observing Zebra crossings. Those white lines are there to beautify the road. Speed across them and curse anyone who tries to get in your way.
Your neighbours need to feel your presence. They need to see just how your hustle has been blessed. Every morning, remind them by ‘warming’ your car. This process involves waking up at 6 a.m. and revving your car engine loudly until the neighbours wake up to the evidence of your blessed hustle.
You bought the car with your hard-earned cash. And that includes the car horns. Those who call your right to honk noise pollution, God will judge them appropriately and truncate their hustle. In fact, if you ask me, because of how important it is, your right to use your horn indiscriminately should be a constitutionally guaranteed right. Honk in the morning when your wife is wasting your time inside and you need her to hurry up. Honk when you see your neighbours. Honk in a traffic jam even though you are sure this will not make the cars miraculously move. Honk instead of slowing down when you are approaching a junction or intersection. Honk when you are angry. And when you are happy. There are few things as useful in a car as the horn.
At night, it is important that you see the road clearly. Nigerian roads are dark and dangerous, so you must use your full lights at all times. It doesn’t matter if you are blinding oncoming vehicles. Is it your fault that the government is not doing their job?
Other things you will learn on the job as a car owner include how to double park, how to drive against traffic on the highway, how to create multiple lanes in a traffic jam, how to beat traffic lights, how to stop in the middle of the road to say hello to a long lost friend, how to litter the street with wrappers of plantain chips bought in a hold-up, all of which every true and experienced Nigerian driver is adept at doing. I trust you will catch up quickly.
Once again I rejoice with you and may God keep blessing your hustle.