Lanre had been driving for nearly 3 years now. Although he had become a better driver, his driving was confined to just his neighborhood – Magodo Phase 1, Isheri, Lagos. The major reason for this restriction was due to his lack of a Driver’s license. And so to avoid the police, he could only move freely within the neighborhood. He didn’t have a license because he hadn’t found time to apply for one due to being busy with school and National Youth Service – well that was his side of the story. There were times during the ‘busy’ periods when he could have created time to apply for the license, but Lanre kept on pushing it aside, or forward, into the later box. When he was finally through with school and Youth Service, his mom, his dad and other people brought the license issue up. This time around, knowing he didn’t have the ‘lack of time’ excuse at his disposal, he had to bestir himself as touching the matter. The move was to talk to his dad about it. They did talk about it, and fortunately for Lanre, the closest Road Safety office he could go to for the application was just at Ojodu Berger – about 25 minutes from his house. His dad, Mr. Evelyn, was a busy man. Always on the phone, either texting or calling someone. And so Lanre needed to be on his dad’s neck to get the required money and all, but he seemed satisfied with just that one move and didn’t bother stressing the issue as he should have.
Lanre was an active church worker in the youth church he attended – less than 20 minutes from his house. He always tried to be a part of every service held at the church – Sunday services and Midweek services. But for some reason, he didn’t really have an affinity for vigils. And so he had missed various vigils organized by the church, most especially the vigils organized by the Drama department, which he was part of. Another Drama department vigil was forthcoming, and in an attempt to repent of his bad vigil attendance, Lanre decided to go. This meant that he had to wait for his mum to get back from work with her car – which was tinted at the back – so he could drive to church. This would be his first time of driving late in the night, but boy was he looking forward to this experience. His mum got back, and out he went with the car.
Lanre was a reader, so one would assume that he had passion for knowledge. One would be quick to rebuff any accusation of ignorance brought against him. But ironically, even as a reader, he was still ignorant of many things. Many things like knowing what the car documents looked like and if they were up-to-date. But really, can we blame our guy? Why should he be bothered with all that since he had been driving within his neighborhood with no police confrontations whatsoever? And he still had not gotten a driver’s license, even though the issue came up again during the week in which he was to go for the vigil. Anyway, back to Lanre’s anticipated late driving experience.
The time was around 10:40pm when he headed out with the car. Isheri bus stop, which is also a junction, has two roads that link to Lanre’s church. Once you reach this junction, you are 5 minutes away from Lanre’s church. Lanre normally took a particular road whenever he reached this junction, but due to it being late in the night, he assumed the gate at the beginning of the street of his church would have been locked, so he took the other road. The end of this road is also a junction. A police station is just by the junction. And Lanre had never seen policemen at this junction stopping cars to ask the drivers the usual things – car documents, driver’s license or money – so he was cruising with peace of mind on this road. It’s hard to go unnoticed by policemen while driving a tinted minivan in Lagos. To Lanre’s surprise, there they were, the policemen, stopping cars and asking for the usual things. His heart skipped a beat when he was told to park.
Even as a passenger, His heart would skip a beat whenever the driver in the car was told to park. His mum, Mrs Abiola, was the opposite though. She could drive confidently with no license and outdated car documents. She knew how to give policemen ‘strong face’ even when at fault. Confam Lagos woman!
Anyway so Lanre parked the car, thinking he wouldn’t have to answer many questions, or any at all, so far he told them he was going for a vigil. I mean, everybody for Nigeria de fear God so the vigil should have been enough to bail him out of this situation. But he thought wrong. After trying the ‘vigil bail’ statement, the policeman was uninterested and asked for the car documents. Starting with the Tint Permit document. Lanre had to call his mum to ask where the documents were, especially the Tint Permit. Talk about ignorance. At this stage, fear had started messing with him, so he couldn’t properly identify the documents at first. He successfully gave him the car documents he asked for. Stage 1 was cleared. Then the policeman asked him for his name. He answered. The next question the policeman asked was the question Lanre was dreading in such a situation. He asked, “Where is your Driver’s license?” Being a Christian boy, Lanre didn’t want to lie, so he tried the ‘vigil bail’ statement again. “ Oga abeg, I’m going to my church for a vigil and I’m running late already, my house isn’t far, I sharply took my mum’s car”. But oga police wasn’t buying it. So Lanre started talking about how he hadn’t had time to apply for a license because of school and youth service, and that he intended to apply for one very soon. He also mentioned having a Learner’s Permit (which wasn’t with him and had expired a long time ago). The policeman rebuffed all his excuses and handed him over to another policeman. The other policeman wasn’t buying the excuses too so he told Lanre to park inside the station. Lanre obeyed and gave the policeman the car key, as instructed. As far as the policemen were concerned, money was sure for them that night. Lanre had given them an inroad. He was told to pay 5,000 Naira to get himself out of the situation, but he believed he could beg his way out. After begging for about 1 hour and there was no result, the belief shrunk. And so he paid the money, painfully. Painfully, because he knew could have avoided all he experienced if hadn’t been pushing the license issue aside, or forward, into the later box. Talk about Could haves and Should haves. He couldn’t go for the vigil again (obviously), so he headed back home in anger and regret.
Tobi Balogun once said, “What you don’t do at the right time would cost you”. Fight and overcome procrastination today!