by Kay Omar
On the 2nd day of this year, I had a near-death experience. I was on an okada.
In my long years of okada hopping, I have come to find that okada man is like a machine; he can be programmed. Once you get on the okada or just before you do, you can programme okada to go fast or slow and to be reckless or sane.
You tell okada, “abeg, drive gently. I dey fear okada.” And believe me; your command would be obeyed. Then you tell okada, “I dey in a hurry.” Of course, that is akin to pressing the wrong commands in quick succession on a machine. What you get is the most reckless ride this side of a race track.
So I always go the safe route and reason with okada man before I climb okada.
I probably failed to press any command buttons this last time and it ended in my almost death. It didn’t seem necessary at first because Okada man was relatively sane until we approached a trailer. At that point, it suddenly occurred to him that he was Dale Earnhardt. He made to pass trailer by revving up but Trailer man was having none of that. In his bid to prove to Okada man that “mad pass mad” he tried to drive Okada man (and I) off the road but only succeeded in breaking Okada man’s side mirror.
Believe this event was not as tame as I am making it sound now. While the two mad men were busy struggling for a narrow stretch of the road, I was screaming my lungs out.
“Leave am! Leave am!” I yelled at Okada, tapping incessantly on his shoulder.
I should have done more; probably take a flying leap off the okada and onto the trailer like Jackie Chan, then hang on to the trailer driver’s door and punch the living daylights out of the murderous bastard’s head!
But like they say, “na God dey save person.” My guardian angel was alive that day and by some miracle, Okada man and I managed to remain on the road, still moving and almost perfectly alright apart from the side mirror while the insane Trailer man barrelled on.
I was so shaken out of my wits that when Okada man finally met up with Trailer man at the intersection, I could not even manage to raise my hand for the customary “Waka” or muster the voice for the usual rain of abuse. But the equally bemused Okada man was not so shaken, “God punish you,” he yelled at Trailer man.
This New Year 2011! God, at least let me see December.