And it’s the end of the year again when people from far and wide cities and countries travel to meet their loved ones, family and friends. After the whole year’s hardwork and stress at work and business, it is time to behold the faces of our relatives sit, laugh, gist, recount personal experiences, eat and dine, celebrate, spend money, buy gifts, pray together and plan for the New Year. To some, it is a yearly tradition – the only time they get to meet their family members in a whole year. Others make it a once-in-two or three-years-tradition or even more, considering their financial buoyancy, limited time or most times, distance. People at home are always expectant of the bags of rice, cartons of tin tomatoes, packs of dry fish, gallons of vegetable oil, dresses, money and other goodies that will be brought home by sons and daughters of the soil in the Diaspora and if you’re one, I doff my cap for you, keep it up! How did I forget to add that they look out for the car types their fellow wives’ children drove home? This part is deep –the comparisons, the abuses and all. I don’t want to go there for now.
Nigeria’s transportation system revolves around traveling by air (flights), traveling by road and limited rail system in very few locations. In order to aid the movement of people with their luggage and goods, people resort to the choice of a more cost-effective means of transportation – road transportation. Bus companies doubled their fares, all buses are on the road – day and night, married men and fathers in the name of drivers ply the road day and night with their families back home, praying for safety and worried each minute of the day. The rush is increasing per second not minding the consistent increase in fares. It’s their season, they are making money. Now it’s a thing of travel-if-you-have-the-fund, else, stay right where you are. Judging by commuters’ experience this December 2017, it’s right to conclude that this is the most expensive year, transportation wise. Scary long fuel queues at petrol stations leave us to our fate.
How about the windscreens and tyres of vehicles – both private and public, which have all been subjected to the heat of the sun and friction of the coal tar. These parts of the vehicle suffer all the stress and rush.
The screeching tyres
Left to the mercy of the driver
The sun-battered windscreens
Left to the mercy of the weather
The heat is unbearable
The potholes are obvious
I pray pregnant wives don’t deliver prematurely
It’s the end of the year
That time defined by ‘rush’
People need to go home
Travel from far and wide
The coal tar is stressed
By the squealing tyres
The brakes are worn out
The commuters pay twice higher
They groan over the economic downturn
There’s no comfort
The ACs are not cooling
There’s scarcity of fuel
Traveling babies are crying
Drivers drive into the night
They are deprived of their sleep
Wives and children stay awake
Thinking and praying
They are concerned and worried
And the markets are busy and crowded
With real shoppers and window shoppers
By screeching and squealing, the tyres cry
The overused gear malfunctions
The overused clutch smells profusely
When the night falls
The headlamps had better be working
Not just working, very brightly at that
Afterall, the vehicle will undergo a total overhaul
After the ‘season’.
Sincerely, my heart goes out to you. I feel compassion for you. Worry not; it’s a matter of few weeks – 15th December to 14th January of the next year, perhaps. It will soon be well, I assure you. As I cannot do anything to save you or salvage the situation, endure it my dear “windscreens and tyres”.
The rough usage will get to a halt eventually.