Monday, July 23, 2007

So you wanna drive in the city?

On my second day in Abuja, as we were leaving Multilinks (where my mom went to inquire why our internet wasn't working since the day she signed up for it 2 weeks ago), I asked if I could drive. My mum protested. I pouted and begged. She obliged. I was in naija mode, evidenced by my lack of concern about driving with a long expired Nigerian license. See me, feeling like one ogbologbo driver. "After all" I thought, "I used to maneuver my small stick-shift Daihatsu in Lagos when I was just 18." Abuja was no match for Lagos right? Right.

All was great until I faced a major intersection that had no traffic warden and no traffic light. What do I do? Who has right of way? (as if such a thing exists in the Nigerian's mental driving manual. )

Cars dived head on into the intersection, honking and lunging menacingly at each other. There was already a bottleneck in front of me and too many near hits.

Me: Mommy! There's no yellow here

Mum: Ah, you see that's why I said you're not ready. You have to put your nose in there

Me: What if they jam me?Mum: You beta let me come and drive. You're still using American style to drive

Me: (trying to buy time) This is not good now. At rush hour like this is when someone is supposed to be here.
(By this time, cars behind me had started passing in annoyance so I figured I'd admit my lack of skills and just closely follow one of them. Even as I made my left turn, several cars threatened to smash me)
Me: (driving away from the chaos ) Okay mommy. Enough driving for me.


  1. hahahaha...was it really that bad??? i can just see you guys...
    "let me help you put your selfesteem up"

  2. poor thing...but at least you tried...i would't have had the guts. personally, the only place i would drive in naija would be my villa....but even the bicycle riders are quite

  3. Wow ....hmmm you are a brvae lady friend warned me never to try it on my holiday ...even sitting in the passenger seat was bad enough for me lol

  4. I am here screaming with laughter "what if they jam me?" Im sorry, but i find this post particularly hilarious because i am planning to go home to do my nysc as well, and i can just see myself getting into this same kind of fix...good going girl!