By Adebayo Okeowo
It was some minutes past 8pm and I was driving along Tanke road in Ilorin, Nigeria. Sitting right next to me was my younger brother. All of a sudden, our brotherly conversation was rudely and abruptly interrupted when a reckless driver pulled a dangerous stunt while overtaking from my blind side.
I watched as he zoomed off without a hand wave of apology! I was miffed! So I switched moods and changed gears with a resolve to chase after this incredulously rude driver and teach him a lesson or at least force him to apologize. “Who even approved his driver’s license?” was one of the several questions pouring through my mind as I raced after him.
I soon caught up and was now driving parallel to ‘Mr Annoying’. From my car to his, I kept shooting him angry glances and throwing up my fists demanding an apology. To my shock, he brazenly attempted to edge me off the two-lane road by swerving my way. I could not believe his audacity and was definitely more resolute to make him feel sorry. My brother who was right next to me asked me to let it go. But it was already too late for such sensible statements. So I stepped hard on my accelerator and charged after the driver.
As we raced on, we overtook cars, made sharp turns, honked loudly and swerved dangerously. It seemed like a scene out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Except that no cops were chasing us. We were the ones chasing each other. Or more appropriately put, I was doing the chasing.
I continued chasing; making every turn he made, waiting for that moment when he will finally pull over and offer an apology. I tailed him until he drove into a compound and parked. Driving through the gate as well, I parked behind him and we both got out of our cars.
It was time for a showdown!
Before I could utter two words, the young looking driver called out instructions to the security guard to lock the gates! My eyes wanted to pop out! Did he think he could hold us hostage? While I was still in thought, his next words showed his real intent;
‘These guys must be thieves. They have been tailing me for the last five minutes”
Alarm bells and red flags started flying all over the place. This matter had escalated so quickly and I could not believe it. Immediately, my legal knowledge kicked into overdrive as I threatened him by citing the consequences of his actions. But he would have none of it; he was already planning to make phone calls to the cops.
At that point, it became obvious that no matter the amount of English speeches we gave or sections of the law I cited, the odds seemed stacked against us. The question anyone would have asked us would have been: If indeed you were not tailing him, how did your car end up in his compound?
I was angry for allowing my anger get me into such a fix. I placed a call to my Dad and told him of the situation. Several minutes passed, more threats flew back and forth and eventually when Dad arrived, his intervention ended our ‘hostage’ situation. Needless to say that upon arriving at home that night, Dad held a proper session with me.
So today when I easily forgive annoyances by fellow road users, it’s because I have learnt that anger is poisonous. It can eat you up so fast and leave you regretting your actions and words after the phase of your vexation has passed. There is no doubt there are people who still try to ruin your day and your mood with their nasty driving (especially those yellow bus drivers in Lagos, the Matatu drivers in Nairobi and the Taxi drivers of Pretoria). For all of them, I have a singular response:
I hand you over to God!