In Nigeria, the most common definition of an ‘agbero’ is a “razz (okay, lemme be a proper English student, UNKEMPT) looking guy, who is found mostly on the streets; at the parks, junctions, markets and rowdy places, collecting money and harassing people”.

The more enterprising ones undertake menial jobs, become bus conductors, and maybe when “privileged”, work in a company for meager pay. The funny thing is they readily accept this “company work” because it sets them apart from their counterparts…’kind of an edge’…lol.

So, I was at the bus stop, on a Monday morning, as early as 8:00am (to lagosians, that is LATE!!! For me?? Warefa mehn!), wearing a flowery blouse and a short navy blue skirt. Ogini???! Am I not allowed to wear short skirt?? Abegi, the world needs to see these bow legs once in a while. I cannot come and go and die!!

Ehen! I saw two queues, for Lagos transport system, they have two types of BRT buses, some are new (with ACs and better seats) and the others are old. Unfortunately, I bought the ticket for the old buses, not knowing I had a better option.

So, the new buses would arrive, the people on the other queue would go in but we on the other queue were looking like lost fowls. I was puzzled. After the 3rd new BRT had picked them up again, I asked this guy by my side, “the agbero”…why our queue wasn’t moving, and he explained everything in “not so good” English. Maybe he was trying to impress me, who knows?? Na there I buy market o!! This “razz” guy would not stop talking to me.

Strangely enough, I wasn’t pissed, I was getting fascinated. I started listening to him as he talked about his work, family and Lagos. I took a good look at him, he wasn’t as good looking as some of the guys in suit at the bus stop, he was poorly dressed and hung one old school bag, with his “sandals turned slippers”. He had something like carrot or pepper in his teeth, who knows if that’s what he had for breakfast!! It wasn’t his looks that attracted me, it was his boldness and attempt to be nice, to make me laugh.

Now the funny thing was, as I started conversing with this guy and giving him full attention, the side eye and bad looks I was getting from other “clean” looking people on the queue ehhh!! They probably had their university education in space, and their poo vapourizes. C’mon gerrrarahia mehn! U know waram saying?? Halla!

When our bus finally arrived, he paved the way, pushed people out of the way, and got a good spot for me. We had no seats, trust BRT na…when someone finally stood up, he blocked the seat and warned everybody off so I could sit. You would have thought he was my bodyguard. There was no dull moment with this young man (who may never had the opportunity we all had at proper education). When we parted ways, I got his number with the promise to call him.  One day I will!!

Moral Lesson – It doesn’t hurt to be nice to somebody. He doesn’t have to be well packaged and speak Queen’s English before you talk to him/her. We are what we are today because of God’s favor. Your ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, can go a long way to brighten someone’s day; can lift up someone’s damaged self-esteem.

Please don’t get me wrong o, I didn’t say you should hug every ‘agbero’ you see on the road oo, neither did I tell you to greet one another with a holy kiss. Please just be polite, help comes from strange places these days. Think about this!

Going forward, I #takecontrol of my attitude, to be a better person when I relate to people, never be proud nor condescending. So help me God. What are you taking control of????

Andikan Inyang
As a Chemical Engineering graduate, former Immigration Officer and present day banker.....and most importantly, a foodie, I hide behind my pen.......therein lies my strength. I hope to pursue a career in writing and explore the world of poetry. So help me God.