“Oga I no understand wetin you dey talk o, just believe say the phone don lost make you go buy another one. No come dey disturb me hia with your nonsense questions” the driver said. It wasn’t until then that it dawned on me.
How did I get here? Let me tell you how it all happened, from the beginning, you’ll need to have a seat and perhaps a drink.
The day was Sunday, October 21st, 2018. I hurried home from church so I can freshen up and dress for the Quramo Writer’s Prize Award Ceremony at Eko Hotel & Suites after I had collected #5, 000 from an usher for a consignment. I specifically told her to give me so I can spend it because I don’t have any more money with me- thank God I did. I had lunch as soon as I got home and got dressed for the event. Being someone that doesn’t enjoy going out much, I have been planning all my moves for the event from Wednesday, I had ironed my clothes the day before and had every accessory in its place so I don’t forget anything, I hate surprises! My excitement gave birth to anxiousness as I rushed out of the house for the jetty to take a boat which is much faster, I needed to be there on time.
I got to VGC around 3 pm and remember putting my phone in my pocket after I checked the missed calls and respond to messages from my team members already at the event while in transit. I entered a bus heading towards Law School and sat in the front seat with another passenger, and as a proper passenger should do, I asked the conductor how much the fare was to avoid argument and rancour but he didn’t respond. I asked the driver beside me and he directed me back to the conductor –the bus was already moving now- I turned to ask the conductor, this time he answered and called a ridiculous amount. I countered and told him how much I’ll pay but he insisted on his price and I told him to let me alight if it’s not okay with him, even his driver was surprised at the price and even told him to allow me for the price I mentioned but he totally disagreed and ordered the driver to stop for me to get down.
We had covered quite a distance before the driver stopped to allow me get off. As soon as I got off the bus, I felt light. I touched my pocket and it was flat. I looked around to check if I dropped anything as I came down from the bus, I saw nothing but sand and litters. I went blank instantly, the truth finally dawned on me that second –I had lost my phone. It all made sense instantly, I realized the gravity of my loss.
How do I reconcile this in my head?
You see, prior to that day, each time I look at my phone I get a nudge asking if I can afford another phone if I lose this one. I kept getting the nudge to backup all my files, photos especially, but I didn’t. Perhaps this was what my spirit was trying to tell me and I ignored it. I felt strong guilt and regret as I stood by the roadside. I look at the bus as it zoomed off and I made to pursue but it was too late, I looked back to see if I can get a bike to chase but the road was as free as the sky.
I eventually got a Keke after some minutes that helped to a distance and I had to get off when it got to its bus stop, the rider excused me from paying when he saw how agitated I was. I saw a heavy duty bike after about five minutes and I waved him down and explained my predicament and the nature of the ride (a hot chase), the driver smiled and said “Na money be dat o,” I fully understood what that means and agreed without a second thought (what strengthened my spine was the 5k I have in my pocket), all I wanted was to catch the bus and get my phone and any amount spent in the pursuit was worth it.
The bike rider was a good man, he was faster than air itself, beating traffic lights and overtaking vehicles at an incredible altitude that I started considering if the phone was worth my life. He even offered his phone to call my phone perhaps the driver or the passenger beside me would pick up and possibly wait for us. Unfortunately, the phone was on silent. I checked all the buses we passed, but none was it. It was an unreasonable chase actually for a day like Sunday with the road that free, but I was hopeful and said prayers as we sped on, I believe in miracles.
I had hopes that we’ll meet the bus at the Toll-Gate because of the regular traffic congestion there but my hopes were dashed when we got there to meet less traffic than usual. The bike rider asked me to get down and check all the buses to see if the bus was among, I did as I was told and was checking all the buses like a foolish sheep, I was walking in the midst of moving vehicles.
As luck would have it, I asked a driver if it was his bus, he answered gladly that he saw a conductor with the phone at New Road, he even gave a description! He told me the bus was going to Bonny Camp garage and asked me to enter so he can show me the bus, I was so glad but I told him to excuse me so I can pay the Bike rider because I haven’t. He waited a while as I looked for the bike rider to no avail, then he left as I was reluctant and sluggish because I didn’t want to go without paying the man, he had really tried.
My values had worked against me. I felt like an idiot in the middle of the road after the bus left and no rider to pay, perhaps he had pitied me and left without asking for money. If you know Lekki Toll-Gate well you’ll know there was no way I’ll get a vehicle there so I continued to trek, confused and feeling stupid.
To cut the story short, I got another bike that eventually took me to CMS instead of Bonny Camp because I told him the bus was heading to CMS out of confusion, he almost got us killed with his speed too. I got to CMS before I realized my thoughtlessness, how would I know the bus from the myriad of buses there? There and then I decided to give up and just go to the event, I can’t lose in two ways. It was already some minutes to 5 pm. I had to take another bike from CMS back to Eko Hotels, all I had spent was quadruple the price the initial conductor had called.
I got to the event and announced my loss to my team members, they were already worried and have been calling my phone. They felt sorry for me and raised my hope of recovering the phone with encouraging testimonies, I banked on their testimonies and decided to check the park on Monday and possibly drop a number the drivers can call in case they have any information on the phone.
The next morning, I carefully wrote the number on twenty small pieces of paper and headed for the park around 2 pm, about the time I entered the bus the day before. The drivers were all busy and the first driver I could talk to gave me that piece of advice you read at the beginning, I squeezed all the paper and threw it in the canal as I went back home. I finally accepted my fate. How the phone got missing remains a mystery to me.
The troubles I went through to retrieve my number is another episode on its own.