Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Keke and the front seat. PT 2.

#MyKekeDiaries

I had just closed from the office, exhausted. Stood for over twenty minutes at Kotokoto junction waiting for #Keke, there was a rush for the few Keke that came, the buses coming from Orhuwhorun road, were all filled.

My legs were getting tired, and a pregnant woman, holding a young girl and happy boy doing vooooom, with his toy car, tiredly made her way to the junction, and then a Keke with one passenger at the back, came.

Me: "Nor Worry Madam, you fit enter."

Madam: "Thank you Bros, God Bless you."

The Rider, He dusted the front seated and said.

Rider: "Bros, Come enter make we dey go."

Me: "Oga, you go give me discount?"

Rider: "Wetin be discount?" He asked.

Me: "e mean say, If I suppose to pay you 100 naira, Na 50 naira or 70 naira I go, because I sidan for the front"

Rider: He laughed, and said: "abeg bros come enter, make we dey go."

Me: "I nor dey sidan for the front of Keke, except...(the exceptions for me are 'IF the rain is falling or it's late in the night and no other ALTERNATIVE) you give me a discount.

Rider: "Mtcheeew, na you buy the Keke for me or abi na only you dey the road?" 

He said and drove off, not quite long another came, within the same age bracket with the previous rider, he was blazing the remix of the popular song, #Jogodo done by Alhaji Tekno from the MP3 inside the Keke and carrying one lady passenger.

I entered, not too long he stopped and carried a lady, stopped again for a young lad, and stopped again for an older lady.

The rider looked at me and said.

Rider: "Bros, abeg come front, make I carry Mama," he said adjusting to the direction the young lad, his last passenger.

Me: "Oga, na free you carray me or you wan give me discount?"

Rider: "Bros, Understand na, na Mama ooO, wetin be discount sef?"

I was already irritated and don't have the time to explain discount to another grown up.

Me: "If na free, I go happily, come front, but if nor be free forget it"

Rider: "Mtcheew, abegii, e don do, smallie abeg come dis side make Mama sidan for this side"

He asked the young lad, to come to his left-hand side and Mama sat at the right-hand side of the front seat.

I looked at Mama as she climbed unto the Keke without any resentment or concern and we continued the journey.

Along the way, thoughts ran through my head.

Why didn't Mama say no to the rider?

Why did she enter the front seat and inconvenience herself?

Did you do the right thing Collins, by refusing to give up your seat for Mama?

If you can't seat in front, why didn't you give up your seat for Mama and alight from the Keke?

Maybe I should have just alighted for Mama to seat and enter for another.

The thoughts continued in my head.

We'll keep going in circles if we keep making excuses and condoning mediocrity.

I have come to the conclusion that the front seat conundrum is a deep-seated challenge of self-worth and value system.

How can a young lady, or a pregnant lady seat in the front seat of a Keke, when there's no monetary or any other gain or benefit attached?

The Udu axis of Warri is worse in this, they carry on both side of the front seat.

The sad part is, we've all accepted it as normal. This is the problem, we normalize abnormalities, we encourage lawlessness and make excuse for other people's shortcoming and we go about crying foul when the effects come back in Compound Interest.

Growing up, if a cab rider carries two passengers in the passenger seat, it's considered an offense, and the police make a meal out of such drivers, this I believe also applies to Keke.

If you glorify Keke riders by seating in the front seat or when they plead with you to seat in front so they can carry an older or disadvantaged passenger, you reduce your right to complain when public officials e.g. Police or Governor misrule.

The Keke riders and the public officers are leaders or service providers in their respective offices. If you make excuses for a wrong act, because you consider it trivia, (Keke riders) you've lost the moral right and justification to do so for a large offense.
What is good for the goose, is also good for the ganders.
Think about.

PS
Refusal to seat in the front seat or give up your seat is not pride or wickedness or show off, it's your right, your money, and your life.

Here's Keke and the front seat. Pt 1 in case you are wondering and it was written in pidgin English.

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