It was early in an October day when I had to go back to Jos. It was a public transport. A taxi that had a four passenger capacity. I was the first to arrive so I got the front seat. I love front seats especially in public transports because of the wide leg room and comfort, and to avoid sitting close to one of those selfish women who are travelling with a baby and a toddler and wouldn’t pay for two seats.
Don’t even judge me eh, I love to read while travelling and I love doing it without a baby throwing a tantrum a quarter feet away from my face and another yanking the pages off my book. I can pay for an extra seat for my convenience and I don’t see why a mother of a baby and a toddler can’t do same.
Anyway, I digress. I sat in the front seat and within minutes, two men and an older woman occupied the back seats and we were off to Jos. I quickly reached for the book I was reading at the time: Reunion by Sharon Sala, good read by the way. I buried my face in the book, one because the book was unputdownable and two to avoid useless chatter from the driver sitting next to me or any other passenger.
This didn’t deter them from chatting with each other anyway. There was a back and forth chatter between the driver and the man seated directly behind me, nothing that was of interest to me.
Soon enough we were in the outskirts of the Plateau, the road was terrible. Apparently the contract of the road was awarded not too long ago, so the road was fairly new, eight years now. But with the way the tar was badly cracked and completely missing in some parts, about ten to fifty feet of missing tar and messy mud between the tarred road, you could have sworn it was existent since the time of Jesus.
This muddy holes made for a new topic of discussion: corruption in Nigeria. The man behind me said the contract for the road construction was awarded to PW eight years ago and that the people should protest right to the PW base in Plateau and ask for accountability of how the billions declared for the road was used. The driver said if the people did so, some will loose their lives, the man behind me said loosing their lives will be worth it if it is for a good cause like this. “We must eradicate corruption from among us. Nelson Mandela told South Africans during the apartheid that to get freedom, some may have to lay down their lives.” I read on, because the ‘talk’ was getting tougher and dirtier. Nelson Mandela, freedom fighting, rights and people dying in protests. I just read my book in peace.
Oh I remember, the book I was reading at the time was not Reunion, it was Reversible errors by Scot Turow. There was too much lawyers and prisons going on in the book but my eyes were glued to it while my ears, to this conversation.
“Dantata group of companies are more reliable than PW. If they get awarded a contract and the money the government declares to the public to be for the job is not given to them completely or at least enough for an above decent job, they will not accept the contract. They are honourable like that.” The man behind me kept gesticulating his hands and tugging at my chair to stress his point.
I continued reading.
“Corruption is what is killing us in Nigeria today. The leadership of our earliest presidents is better than what we have now. Our politicians will not know how damaged a road is because they fly rather than travel by road.
I wonder why it is too hard for them to do what is just. But anyway, if I also find myself in a high position, I will loot enough for me and my family too. Considerably though, that is the whole point, to loot considerably and work well while at it.” The driver said as he swerve to dodge a massive pothole, now driving towards oncoming vehicles.
We were back to the right lane as he continued “We can never say to fear God while we loot so the whole idea is to be considerate and remember the masses that elected you into office” he said in response to the man behind me who said to loot while fearing God.
I continued reading.
The chatter went on for a while longer with the man behind me veraciously condemning corruption with every ounce of life in him. Then his phone rang. He answered and echoed most of the message back to the caller in an attempt to double check that the information he got was correct.
“Okay, so it is eighty thousand? They are to pay in two instalments? Okay so that is eighty kay? All right I will call them now.”
He had earlier said he fixed cars for a living. The man siting next to him rarely spoke but he listened and was sorta kinda part of the conversation, the older woman distal to him said not a word.
He hung up and without anyone saying a word, he rang another person. The person answers:
“Hello? Yes sir I spoke with him, he said the cost will be hundred thousand. You are to pay in two instalments, the first instalment should be sixty thousand sir. Okay. I will tell them to start right away sir. Thank you.”
Surely it wasn’t just I that heard that conversation now was it? Everyone was quiet, so I figured everyone added two and two to get four. Okay, fair enough, let’s all be quiet now and get to our stops as we were already in the city of Jos. But this man will have non of it. He was fed up with the corrupt government and PW.
“Yes, if we were united enough to go and protest to PW, they would have at least brought a truckload of gravels and started work on that bad patch but because they know people at the top, they might get us arrested. Or they should tell us how much was given to them and how much money was lost in ‘traffic.’ Corruption in this country will never end.” The man said in a manner that said ‘where were we before the phone call.’
I sighed
Change begins with you and me, so does corruption!


  1. S


  2. M

    Nice post

  3. V

    For good

  4. T


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