We took off and about 10 mins later, we were flagged down by some policemen. Our offence: "Passenger not wearing a helmet'. What annoyed me was that I had asked the okada driver to give me the helmet to wear as soon as I boarded his bike. He refused to answer me. It's not as if I enjoy wearing the helmet but I just didn't want to be delayed unnecessarily by policemen. The following conversation ensued between the policemen and the okada driver:
Policeman: Baba, why is your passenger not wearing helmet?
Baba: My brother dey work with una
Policeman: Ehnnnnn, wetin you talk? So because your brother dey work with us, you think say you go just disobey law like that. Even if your brother na Goodluck sef. mschewwww. Oya clear well and park your okada.
Chai, I didn't believe the okada man was silly enough to say that. Didn't he realize that if he had apologized to the policemen (because he was obviously wrong) and probably greased their palms with some change (I'm not in support of bribery o), they would have let him go.
All this while, I was still sitting on the okada and looking at my wristwatch ticking away. When he was told to "clear well and park", I didn't need anyone to tell me to find my way. Thankfully, I got another okada close by and continued my trip to the office. And i still made it to work on time. The scene that just played out got me thinking though: Why do Nigerians like doing the wrong things? Instances of doing the wrong things include:
Pedestrians crossing the express right under the pedestrian bridge. I will never understand this. If I ever have to cross an express, I look out for any pedestrian bridge close by, because I don't like the idea of running across the road and wondering how close a car or okada is. I once saw a mother with her child strapped on her back and carrying a bag of goodies, running as fast as she could under Cele pedestrian bridge. I wondered to myself, what if one of those fast and furious bus drivers knocks her down? Sympathizers will gather and blame the driver. Forgetting that the woman should have just used the bridge right overhead.
Not obeying traffic lights: I know most of the time, we are in a hurry to get to our destinations, especially in Lagos. But traffic lights were put in place to ensure order on the roads and also prevent accidents. Yet, some of us will look around and if there are no LASTMA officials where traffic lights are, we zoom past.
Not wearing helmets while on bikes: I am sometimes guilty of this. I agree that most of us will not want to wear the helmets because it is dirty and sometimes wet; but there is a law in place and it is for our own good that we obey it. We could mimic some people and put a handkerchief on our head before wearing the helmet, as long as we wear it.
It pays to do things right. It saves us from unnecessary wahala.