I was happy! When you are visiting a place for the first time alone, you pray that all goes well and according to plan. It was my first time going to Ibadan without a chaperone. Post Utme was around the corner and I needed to be in Ibadan to put things in place for the exam. I felt big, it wasn’t easy.
“Challenge! Sango! Challenge! Sango!” The bus driver shouted at the top of his lungs. I was glad. Wasn’t the University of Ibadan just some minutes from Sango? That meant my journey was going to be relatively easy. I paid the eight hundred Naira fare and took a good seat. When the bus moved, I fished out my head set and nodded to different songs, dozing off occasionally.
At challenge, some passengers alighted and we continued our journey. I was so comfortable I barely noticed the bus had stopped moving. When I eventually noticed, I was not alarmed as I felt the bus had a minor issue which needed to be fixed. A sharp “se ooni sokale?” brought me out of my self induced stupor. I started up in surprise, a questioning look on my face. To which the driver responded “I no dey go again. Abeg come down Aunty! “
I had no choice. I alighted from the bus and just stood looking at the driver. In my presence, he got into the bus and drove off leaving me standing staring into space. I did not know where I was neither did I know why the driver had refused to take us to our final destination.
I moved towards one of the other passenger who was slowly walking out of the filling station into the road. “please where are we? Why didn’t he take us to Sango?” I asked the young man.
“I don’t know too. I am new here.” The man informed me and my panic reduced.
I realized I wasn’t the only one that had been thrown into confusion by the driver’s abrupt change of plan. Together with the young man, we crossed the road, asked for descriptions and managed to find out way to Total Garden.
“Did the driver also give you hundred Naira?” The guy asked me as we were seated in a Bus conveying us to Total Garden. I responded that he hadn’t and the guy smiled sympathetically at me.
At Total Garden, it was very easy to find a cab going to Sango. The young man was heading to Ibadan Polytechnic so we said our goodbyes at Sango.
As I sat in the bus that would take me to Ui, I reflected on my journey. I mean how could the driver have made me feel so comfortable, and relaxed, how could he have lied that he would get to Sango and then do otherwise. I felt hurt and it got worse when I remembered that I had nothing even asked for the miserable hundred Naira compensation he had given the others.
I guess that was the city of Ibadan welcoming me into her arms. Before long, I knew the nooks and corners of the city and I would recount my tale to others who had stories to tell of their first visit to the ancient city.
I guess that was ‘me’ paying my dues. Others did too, didn’t they?