There are many things to admire about Lagos Danfo drivers. Their ability to administer comic relief, despite all the odds they confront daily, must be one of their top assets. Combining with their conductors, their capacity to provide amusing respites for commuters is almost legendary. Along many routes across the city of Lagos, they provide free comedy that is of top quality. Mostly unscripted and unrehearsed but containing elements that crack most ribs with ease. Sometimes, some commuters make their own remarks to the overall offering while others simply sit still and savour the moments.
Not sure if the free comedy space offered by these drivers, has been properly acknowledged or recognized. Yet if one considers more deeply the impact of how their ‘services’ diffuse the tension when the spell of the legendary gridlock of Lagos settles across many parts of the city, one can appreciate their contributions in a better light. When the heat of the dry season, exacerbated by the heat from the numerous car engines in traffic, throw in their own version of two mites to the mix and commuters’ endurance levels near breaking points, Lagos Danfo drivers turn the attention elsewhere. Like a sea captain turning the helm to move the ship in a different direction, they activate the comedy channels inside the bus! They go into ‘facilitating mode’ for the comedy juice to start flowing.
When a commuter, who cannot take the heat and traffic anymore, blurts out his/her frustration, the driver takes that as cue to drop a joke or encourage one started by his conductor. Or another commuter. If that move does not produce the required effect, the driver changes gears and starts another. If he’s in the mood, he tunes the ‘radio’ to the “Leader’s Bashing FM – LB FM” where political leaders are taken to the cleaners and hung to dry, as it were. He gauges the mood of the commuters as the ‘show’ proceeds along. The conductor makes sure commuters are reminded of their bus stops and drop off points so that they can make room for other people to come in and enjoy the supply of free comedy, already subsidized by the transport fare.
Encouraged by the history which has seen many Danfo drivers witness the moments that commuters laughed together over something funny, which the driver, conductor or passenger said or did (if only Danfo buses could speak!), many drivers continue to express confidence in the value of comedy inside a Danfo bus, and work its magic for the relief of the commuters.