Personal reflections

A Chat with a Bike man on the 2019 Nigerian Elections

Ever seen a bike on autopilot mode? I kinda saw one a few days ago, the rider rode slowly in a straight line with his head looking straight forward, I could tell his mind was somewhere else as he only responded after the second attempt to call his attention.

As I hopped on the bike he asked where I was going to, being in a playful mood I told him he should take me anywhere he wanted — I often do this, sometimes I tell bikers to take me to London or Dubai. He smiled clearly aware of my sarcasm and asked again, seeking clarity, I told him “Okay take me to meet Buhari”, he shrugged and replied saying he can’t take me to Buhari but he’d gladly take me to meet Atiku. Aha, I knew an interesting conversation was about to happen here, so I ask “Why Atiku?”, he replies saying that Atiku is a good man and he thinks he’s a good fit.

I took a pause and asked him what part of Nigeria he is from, he tells he is from Jos. I asked this because I could tell he was from the Northern part of Nigeria from his accent and look. I was curious as to whether there was any connection between where he was from and his decision but I didn’t see any so I moved on to my next question. I asked, “So what about the other candidates?” At this time the bike was moving fast and the noise from the wind made it difficult for us to hear each other but I was bent on having this conversation and he wasn’t saying he wasn’t interested.

“Which other candidates,” He asked in response, “The coalition” I said and I went on to call the names of the other candidates; Sowore, Moghalu, Fela…, He replies saying he doesn’t know any other candidates, At this point I’m stunned. I ask myself how can this be? He says as far as he is concerned there are only two candidates. I made an attempt to ask him “Don’t you watch…” I caught myself and stopped. I was going to say don’t you watch TV, I was going to say aren’t you active on Social Media but then I stopped myself as I wrestled with my thoughts asking, what are you about to ask this guy? he doesn’t watch TV, he probably doesn’t even have a smartphone… while lost in my thoughts I look to my left and see posters on the walls, I could only see the posters of the two major political parties-PDP and APC. I think to myself, maybe that’s all he sees.

This reminds me of how the last presidential debate got me wondering whether it was worth voting for the other “smaller” candidates, I felt they stood a better chance coming together rather than having their votes split amongst them. I was in a predicament, Should I vote for who I believe in but would probably not win or vote for who I don’t really believe in but stands a better chance at winning?

I moved on to quiz him on the Lagos Gubernatorial election, I asked him who he was supporting, he says he’s voting for Sanwo-Olu — APC’s Candidate. I asked why, he says Sanwo is a good man, “Do you know Sanwo-Olu?” I ask, he replies “No but I like him, I just like him”, I ask him how can he like someone he doesn’t even know? he says he doesn’t know but he knows that in this Lagos anything Tinubu does and wants would happen, I replied saying “hmm but Tinubu isn’t God”, he replies erm…I laugh and he laughs after which he reiterates that he knows whatever Tinubu wants would happen, he states he doesn’t know the other candidate, again to him there are only two candidates running for the Lagos Gubernatorial Election, I’m less shocked this time around. The Sanwo-Olu posters are working perhaps.

We reach my destination and as I alight I check my wallet hoping I’d have the exact amount to pay for my fare as I didn’t want to have to look for change. Gladly I had the exact fare, as I handed him the 100 Naira I chipped in a last playful question “anything for me?”, he chuckles and replies that he was expecting me to give him 500 Naira, I laugh and tell him to go and meet Sanwo Olu for that.

As I walked away from the bike I couldn’t help but think that my opinion of the elections was majorly based on online comments from YouTube videos and posts on Social media.

I’d be voting for the first time later this month, I clearly know who I’d not be voting for but I’m not sure who I’d be voting for. I’m glad there’s still time to think about it and decide.

I should have more chats like this, I should step out of my bubble.



Thank you Williams Nduka for reviewing the first draft of this piece.

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