By China Acheru
Sometime in 1995, I was still young and restless and did lots of moving around so I met people of all walks of life.
Jumping in and out of commercial buses was my thing and it was either Danfo buses on intra city transport or the long luxury buses on intra or inter city business.
Now in these buses you meet a lot of people saying lots of things and of course there are the smart alecks too, who think they know it all.
I remember being in one of those luxury buses either late in 1995 or early 1996, just after the late Ogoni playwright, Ken Saro Wiwa was executed and there was all this talk about an American backed United Nations sanction on Nigeria.
Now this is a true story that happened in Port Harcourt.
The heat around that period was very disturbing and everybody had his say about it.
For the first time harmattan did not bring the cold dryness but more heat that was unbearable and people did not understand why.
I was in one of those buses that took commuters from Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt to Oil Mill; that was basically the whole length of Aba road in Port Harcourt.
I got in somewhere around garrison and stumbled on a conversation going on in the bus as a young man, looking intelligent and well-dressed was educating fellow commuters as regards the heat situation in the country.
He seemed smart enough so I was interested and joined in to listen.
He had apparently been answering questions posed by the people around him and the way he was revered I guessed he had done justice to most of the questions asked him.
Then someone popped the question, “Why is it so hot in Nigeria these days? Does it have anything to do with the ozone layer?”
I was interested in this one because the heat was unbearable and there had been a lot of talk about the ozone layer depleting because of carelessness on the part of the inhabitants of the earth.
The “educated” man braced himself, spread his shoulders and with a smirk on his face that showed he knew more than we did, he spoke.
“Didn’t you all hear that the Nigerian government killed Ken Saro Wiwa?”
He started by asking us all a question and at this point I wondered how this man wanted to tie Saro Wiwa’s death to the unbearable heat in the country.
His fans watching him nodded, signifying that they had heard.
“Didn’t you all hear that the American president is trying to force United Nations to impose economic sanctions on Nigeria?”
Apparently, some knew this while others did not.
“Haven’t you all heard about the ozone layer and what it does for the world protecting us from ultra violet rays from the sun?”
Of course, we knew that… or at least I knew that but I was waiting because this bloke to continue because he obviously did not know what he was talking about but knew he had a very gullible audience who would believe whatever they were told. No be Nigerians again?
“After, Saro Wiwa was killed,” he continued, “Remember that Nelson Mandela and the American president were very angry about it and finally convinced the United Nations to impose economic sanctions on Nigeria.
“This heat is the United Nations sanction on Nigeria. They removed our ozone layer so the sun now has unfiltered access to us. The next thing now is that Nigerians will start to suffer things like cancer and other skin diseases.”
By the time he was through, the silence in the bus was so loud, it could burst an ear drum.
I looked up at him and around the faces in the bus, amazed that Nigerians could be this stupid.
They had all believed him and I began to wonder about the multiplier effect as they in turn go back home to convince their families and loved ones and this news continues to spread that the United Nations removed Nigeria’s ozone layer.
Well, that’s what you get when you travel Nigeria’s commercial buses.
This is my bus tale for his week.
The story of your bus is really so nice and it was the time when you want to enjoy the life full of inspirational and full of the entertainment. This article is a piece of the entertainment and I totally agree with your points and these are so true.