What is Welcome To Lagos?
As a first time danfo passenger, Welcome to Lagos is getting non-verbally targeted by exploiters to fraudulently strip you of your entire belongings, either through supposed metaphysics or greed. The folks are so vicious, you could walk back home in your undergarments and they would not worry.
Their sole target is getting theirs. This possibility of getting targeted as a ‘softie’ is why most people have changing personalities in Lagos; one moment dressed elegantly in a suit, softly spoken in acquired hybrid Anglo-American accent, the next moment, tie is off, and voice has transformed to something off an agbero from Isolo.
The game is the game
One of the ways a newcomer gets into bouts of trouble in Lagos is not knowing when to deal with a consumer. The worst thing you can do is play gentle and cultured everytime. Familia, you will lose your entire earnings to to agberos. “Tush” simply does not work every time in Lagos.
What is "Tush"?
This is refers to being unapologetically elite in all ways.
However, you are not alone. Pulse is a magnanimous organizations with victims of this jankara practice. Monies have been lost to ignorance, but that is a story for another day.
While Pulse doesn’t claim a monopoly on knowledge, it wants to help. It might if you follow these 5 tips;
1. Be prepared for anything
Conductors are usually questionably mannered, uncouth people. Not for intention, but because that is their reality — not knowing better. Civility cannot be your reality when you know not what it is or understand its need. Bakgrounds are different, so realities will differ.
This is why these agbreros are largely what elites will deem uncultured, while to them, their way is just how to liive. It is why they try to play smart on everyone. They also usually have low tolerance and are sometimes hot tempered.
Their attitude towards women is also terrible. If anyone needed a need to lecture people on misogyny, conductors might be a good place to start.
With a Lagos agbero, you must be prepared to be called and likened to ANYTHING, including a pig and a chair - yes, chairs or even a cup. Sometimes, when these guys are in a really foul mood, fighting is their default setting to anything.
On most days, they are on edge and ready to hit you. Their mouths are literally like machine guns, preloaded with foul and irksome comments as bullets.
Asking for your change might land you some sly comments or even abuses, but fam, ask!
2. Ditch your bedroom voice
This is not Akure, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna or Enugu. Bus movement is sometimes a bear eats the weak one game. The weak gets exploited for cheap ends. Naturally, agberos DO NOT want you to have your change, so you have to accept that.
Getting your change is sometimes like a battlefield and their way is to delay the process as long as possible, so you either forget or get pushed leave the change for them.
You must also know that they will never admit to having change - it is a lie. Change always comes out eventually.
You need that sharp voice to demand for that change, sounding bougie helps no one. It might help if you learn some “ehn”, “ahn ahn” or “ah”.
You can however be helped by first realizing that asking for change doesn’t publicize — even though is a reality.
3. Sense of timing
Be vigilant and fam, start asking for that change from the first moment change on the conductor. Do not get caried way.
For starters, “Condutor, Change!” might help. The louder your voice, the better. And try to avoid sounding bougie while you are at it.
Remember, they 'never' have change, so ask for your change immediately after you pay. He might drop an excuse, so ask again at the first bus-stop after the sets out.
If you know your way around, ask him a second time halfway through your journey and then, the last time, five minutes before the last bus-stop. For directions and timing, it might help to use your Google maps.
4. Prepare for pairing
Pairing is when the conductor is “short” on change, so he pairs passengers to a currency, to split it.
Be careful, this is a way to bait you - a set up, dear newcomer. Though it might seem unsatisfactory, take the money when offered.
If you don’t, he might just take off with your money — this offer sometimes comes just before the bus alights after a brief stop.
Identify the other party and find change. It might represent your best opportunity for that lunch money, dear budget boy/girl.
5. Don’t fight
Except of course it is your dream, don’t fight a Lagos bus conductor. Even if you don’t lose, you’re still the loser. Public pugilism never suits the supposed gentleman. In cases of public responsibility, societal rules are rigged against you. You will be shamed.
Your friends will shame you and so will people around the scene who only realized the conductor was human after you fought him.
What you can do though, is fight like a typical Lagos person; with your mouth and attitude.
How do you fight with your mouth?
The fundamental factor is pretence. Pretend like you want to throw down and fight when in fact, you are just praying you get separated or someone budges.
How do you deal with defiant conductors?
Sometimes, it’s best to forgo the money. When you can’t, work them off.
Mostly, showing you’re not a complete dunce, but an equally street-smart bloke, despite your corporate style or “less conductor-ish” style works.
For this though, you must be outspoken from the start or else, a conductor take you for a ride.
Sadly, as you might discover that nothing is guaranteed with Lagos bus conductors.