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The Keke Conductor

I was in a hurry to a friend’s birthday party, so I walked briskly to the main road to find a keke going my way. I stood and used my thumb to indicate the direction I was heading. Keke drivers and I seemed to have developed a communication style that we both understood. I don’t know if this thumb-communication was tailored strictly for me but, we can just pretend it was. Haters would argue otherwise, but you know… Back to the matter.

I finally got a Keke. I was the third passenger and for some reason, there was a guy in front even though there were two empty spaces at the back. Honestly, I always thought no one liked to bond on a buttcheek level with the keke driver except they had no choice. I guess I was wrong. Another woman flagged the Keke and she stepped in. She was the last piece in the keke puzzle. All the seats were full.

As we drove towards our destination, someone flagged down the already FULL keke and we stopped, to my surprise. As we approached her, a look of realization crossed her face. She understood that we had gotten to maximum capacity and she stepped back. The keke driver however, surprised me. He parked the Keke in front of the woman and beckoned one of the guys sitting next to me. “Fryo! Come Dis Side.”

“Ehn which side?” I didn’t say anything out loud o. It’s not me agbero will slap for no good reason. My brain was genuinely trying to figure out how this would work.

Fryo came to the left of the driver and the woman, sat where fryo once sat. The keke driver, Fryo and the new passenger, shifted uncomfortably on the single seat they had to share, till they found a comfortable position that worked for all parties. I watched in confusion. How is this small keke supposed to carry six people?

I started trying to rationalize it, maybe this perching guy is his friend and he will drop him in two minutes. Maybe he is just trying to make extra cash. Maybe… I have run out of maybes and this guy is not thinking at all.

As we approached the last bus stop before our drop-off, Fryo reaches out to ask us for our money, conductor style, “your money for back.”. My jaw dropped. This guy is legit the conductor!

All in all, it started to make sense. The guy was the one who hailed me to get into the keke. He also hailed other people. He put his comfort aside to get passengers in. Fryo was the wing man! The conductor!!!

Honestly, I never knew keke people needed conductors. At what point do you start outsourcing? At what point do you realize you need a PA? How much will this guy pay him or was he his brother from the village looking to make ends meet in Lagos?

Finally sha, nobody came to Lagos to count bridge. But please comment, tell me your thoughts about this. Moreover, this may already exist in Lagos and I am probably the last to know.





September 23, 2015

My dear diary,

I was going to write my own gist about the street this week when I was this and I knew that nothing that happened to me this week could be compared to

Something interesting happened on my way to Oshodi this morning. At the park, this rough mean-looking conductor also known as “agbero” in Yoruba was screaming for passengers, his vernacular oscillating between Yoruba and pidgin English.

“Oshod! Oshod!” He shouted angrily as I along with some other passengers scuttled for seats. There was this beautiful young lady who READ MORE


September 16, 2015

Dear Street Diary,

“Toll gate, 120!! Toll gate, 120. Hol your change o.”

“Conductor na 500 I get o” I said.

“You go pay 150 be that” He said looking serious and a bit distracted. I entered the bus. I just needed to get to my destination and I was not going to let 30 naira hinder me. I had to make it in time for my 9am meeting at Ota and come back early enough for my 12:30 pm meeting at Ikeja. I sat on the third row, close to the rickety door. The bus had five rows excluding the driver and front seat. READ MORE