Stressful is a word. Annoying is another word. I can’t find the word that combines both words so I’d form my own word “Stressnoying“!
That’s the best way to describe my experience in the last few hours. I know some people will blame me after reading my account of events. But for heaven’s sakes. Can we be more effective in this country?
For those that do not know, I’d give a brief introduction. Kaduna is a state in Northern Nigeria, and if there’s one thing I can say about this state from my two to three days stay here, it’s the fact that the state has a looooooooooooooooooooooooongggg way to go when it comes to development. Having grown up in Lagos, and visited other major cities like Abuja and Ibadan, I guess I can say that Kaduna is a lot behind in a lot of things. But I wouldn’t major on that today!
You’d be wondering what a Lagos based doctor/writer like me went to do in Kaduna. Well, love can make us go on trips we never thought we would go. Plus, the Woman of my Heart invited me to a Medical outreach program holding there. Did I forget to mention that she’s working in Kaduna as of now? My bad!
So two pull-factors and I found myself crossing the River Niger to go up north to see my Beautiful Lover and attend an outreach program.
Fast-forward to this morning and I was to board a 7:45am flight back to Lagos. Should I say fortunately or unfortunately, there was no Uber/Taxify or any of the “toosh” taxi services. Fuel scarcity that has started since December has refused to end in this part of the country so my hosts couldn’t take me to the airport with a personal vehicle. Our last resort was to call a tricycle operator (Keke Marwa, if you know, you know🤓) to be on around as early as 6am. My estimate was that one hour from where I was staying to the airport and I’d be early enough. At least, I gave room for 45 minutes excess for unforeseen circumstances!
6am came and the “aboki” hasn’t showed with the keke! 6:30 am and he was here apologizing, saying he needed to say his morning prayers as a Moslem before coming! Issorait! Airport, here we come.
About 30 minutes into the journey and my driver was ready to pull over at an unknown destination. My Awesome Sweetheart was with me in the tricycle, shocked as I was. Driver said we had gotten to “Airforce” and truly, lo and behold, we were in front of the Air Force base in Kaduna. It was then I realized that my driver mistook Airport for Air Force. Sigh!
A plea deal resulted in us agreeing to pay him more than the agreed amount since our destination was still further ahead. Unknown to us, our driver wasn’t particularly happy anymore at this point. Shruggingly, he continued the journey and soon, we were close to the airport (or so did Google Maps say)!
To our amazement, the driver kept driving in the direction he supposed was the airport way and somehow, my phone’s mobile connection was lost. Hence, no map to confirm whether we were on the right track or not. My Lover was already apprehensive at this point as it was already 7:20am and it didn’t seem anymore like we were anywhere close to the airport!
A straight, long road with no one data connection, no one to ask for directions and a grumpy driver and it was already 7:40am. At that point, I knew the inevitable had happened but somehow, I still managed to summon all the faith I could; I was somehow praying for a delay factor for the flight. Soon, we saw a gas station along the way and the attendant told us that we had passed the junction that leads to the airport by at least 10 minutes drive. ABOUT TURN ASAP!!!
On getting to the airport junction, I noticed a medium-sized billboard that we missed. KADUNA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 12KM AHEAD!!! Jeez, I thought the billboard was supposed to be massive enough to be noticeable by even a blind person! Wasnt it an “International Airport” Another hurried drive and we got to the airport for 8:05am! Just in time! Or should we say Just a few minutes late 🤕!
The plane was already on the runway, Just about to take off. Was there anything I could do to jump on to the plane! No! A big NO!! I approached the airline attendant with my puppy face 🐶 hoping he could wave a magical wand to the pilot to wait for me. Puppy face didn’t work at all. I then began to consider my alternatives.
I was told the airline had a later flight by 3pm today at Abuja. Well, it was worth the shot! Kaduna to Abuja by train was 2hours. “I might enjoy the train ride“, I thought to myself. In no time, we were headed for the Rigasa train station, another 20 minutes drive from the airport. By this time, the driver’s murmurs were loud enough that only persuasive mechanisms could make him take us to the trim station. All for an additional fee definitely! I and my Lover were just like “It is well”
9:05am Arrived at Rigasa train station, Kaduna
10:35am Train left the station for Abuja
12:45pm Arrived at Idu station, Abuja
Jumped three cabs and by 2pm, I arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. 5000 naira was requested as penalty for missing my flight and I was told the plane would leave by 3:00pm
I boarded the plane by 3:30pm.amd by 3:55pm, I was enroute Lagos. I’m currently typing this (4:33pm) as the flight attendant’s croaked voice is saying “we’re approaching the domestic wing of Murtala Mohammed Airport”
Sigh! Lagos, here I come!!!
- One wrong move in the wrong direction and you’re set up for delay completely!
- Make the best of your situations -Met a younger guy on the train. Funny dude wanted to have beards so badly! I wished I could trade places with him in this beard issue tho’
- Planning ahead doesn’t always mean things would work out as planned. Stay positive and surround yourself with awesome people. God bless you so much, Mariam Akande. You’re such a Sweet Woman. She just kept reassuring me all through our ups and downs that everything would be alright.
- Finally, Don’t trust Google Maps. Especially in Kaduna! 😂😁😀
…writing stories since Adam and Eve