Have you ever been to Ilorin? Have you boarded a cab from my city?

This was the rhetorical question I asked on my Facebook page. It is funny I realized how serious this was after leaving Ilorin for a while.

Ilorin taxi drivers have issues and the two major ones are; their anger and the propensity to insult. They always seem to be nurturing one anger or the other and somehow they make it seem like it was all your fault!

Why are they always angry? Why is boarding cab turning into a nightmare? Why are our taxi drivers losing the ability to uphold simple courtesy? For a service you are paying for? Why so much disrespect. Taxi drivers do not only disrespect their passengers. They disrespect pedestrians as well. It is your fault if you are crossing and they have to wait for you to pass and couldn’t start the car after you are done crossing. They will force you to leave where you werejejely standing because they want to reverse, if you dare complain about that it is barrage of insults. Sorry, please and thank you exists in the vocabulary of a few of them.

The rest are rude, uncouth, foul mouthed and again perpetually aggressive. They talk down on you for a service you are paying for. They insult anybody and everybody. They are always angry for the flimsiest reasons. Say you want to board their car and you take your time before getting to the vehicle they will insult you and call you adaniduro donigbese which simply means a time waster or one who delays you till the money lender gets a hold of you. Say you walk fast and nearly twist your ankles they will call you names and ask where you are rushing to. You can’t afford to carefully count out money when you are paying them they will insult you and hassle you; wo damilohun fah kilo n se lataaro. If you have 500 naira on you and forgot to tell them beforehand nko? You will hear the history of your life. They will talk to you the way your parents will never do. If you now are slim and meek again. Forget it. You will always get told to move to the front seat from the back anytime those Momos not Mamas o but Momos wants to board the cab. Momos are those fat hipped Ilorin women with tribal marks who drape veils or shawls around their shoulders, they have been to Hajj but even stoning the devil couldn’t remove the demons their tongues can conjure. So you have no choice but to carry your slim ass to the front seat or risk getting squashed by folds of fat.

Another issue they have is their disregard for cleaniless. They do not care about the state of their taxi. Their dirty seats with threadbare fabric make you worry that it will stain your white. You will board some of these cabs and the smell of locust beans will assail your senses but you dare not complain. They will look at you like

Almost broken down, rickety cars are what get used as taxis in my town. Roads are littered with irons held together by faith and incessant trips to the mechanic. Some taxi doors won’t open except you and the driver jerk it furiously, most of the taxi windows don’t wind up or down again so they are either forever wounded up or down. So O.Y.O is your case if you are feeling too much heat or cold. It is also an anomaly for brand new cars to be used as taxis in my town in fact people are usually suspicious of brand new cars getting used as taxis. I could remember there was a time a neat space bus was painted into the taxi colours of green and yellow, anytime it slows down for passengers to flag down they turn to look away. Brand new vehicles for taxis? We don’t do that here. It is in the constitution. Rough looking cars with an old man behind the wheels? Yes you are now talking.

They are transporters but they do not ply every route. The taxi drivers here handpick and select routes. They don’t go everywhere you want them to go. They have pride mehn. It is in Ilorin you flag down a taxi at Taiwo and call out Stadium road, next thing they will swerve after waiting for few seconds and yell out to you that it is Unity road they are going. It is in my city that a taxi driver will drop you halfway if he sees a better offer.

‘Aunty edaakun emabinu fah, e bawa sokale. Pele. Wo. Sare rena sibehun wa ri moto Tanke.’ ‘Aunty abeg no vex, help me come down. Sorry. See. Just quickly cross the road to that side you will see a cab going to Tanke.’

Ilorin taxi drivers need to do better but how can they do better when there is no competition? Imagine bringing Uber and Taxify down here? I doubt if that would bring about any positive change because Ilorin people will always go back to those taxis. We are not yet ready for such because that’s just how my people are. We are seldom ready for anything new until it hits us in the face.

Have you ever had any experience with a commerical taxi driver? Tell me about it. The comment box is waiting….

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