My Terrible Road Trip From Lagos To Calabar

Somewhere in Anambra state Nigeria

If you were already a teenager in the early 2000s, you must have been a fan of a popular weekly family TV series titled Super story. And if you were as devoted as I was, you by chance should have seen countless commercials on Obudu cattle in Cross River state. Did you? Bother less if you didn’t because it wouldn’t really matter now. What I’m driving at is that since seeing those ads, I’ve vowed to one day visit. Day and night I nursed this dream but it wouldn’t come to pass until over a decade later.

Follow me into this my journey to the beautiful state called Cross River.


Saving for My Trip

Needless to mention is the fact that it costs much more to travel outside south-west Nigeria than it costs within, hence the need to have a proper savings plan unlike my default method of pulling from my salary or getting support from sponsors.

The first method I tried was manually depositing in one of my less frequently used bank accounts but it didn’t work (as I wasn’t disciplined enough). On one of my quests in searching for better alternatives, I spoke with a friend who introduced me to Cowrywise. Initially, I was a bit hesitant  but I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I hadn’t used it because it’s to a large extent more interesting than bank savings. I downloaded it, set my target for my trip and here I am.

Traveling From Lagos To Calabar

Jibowu Lagos
Jibowu Lagos

Here’s a confession, I have the most beautiful girlfriend in the world. You won’t understand but just continue reading.

Since she’s a frequents Calabar, she suggested I traveled down using ABC transport service which she had already helped book my bus ticket with her money (which I promised to refund the next day once I withdraw my savings).

Like it always was with us as a kid at the eve of any party, I was restless all through the night. ABC motor park was a 35 minutes drive away. I had taken my bath since 3am and prepared my bag as light as possible. Though the temptation of hitting the road was somewhat high around 4:30am, I did well in suppressing it for another hour before leaving the Estate. With morning dew landing gently on my face I tore through the dark streets for the bus stop.

The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step. anonymous

At The Bus Park

At the ticketing counter (ABC Transport)
Ticketing counter (ABC Transport)

It wasn’t difficult to identify the counter even though it was my debut at the park. I showed the conductor ticketer ticket seller a confirmation message I got the night before and without stress, He presented me my travel document (an A4 sheet containing too much information about the trip). All I took from it was my seat number and Bus details. I cared less about who’d drive or whether there’d be an AC in my bus.

The Journey To Nowhere

After a brief wait at the reception, the megaphone vomited some words I couldn’t really figure out (I wonder why they’re trying so hard to copy the whites). And since almost everyone seated went towards the bus whose number was on my Ticket, I knew I had to go with them. It’d be unfair of me to say this bus company wasn’t organized. They even provided jollof rice with chicken with water for everyone.

Inside ABC transport bus
Settled at the last row in the midst of three other men, I immediately knew I was in for a rough day the moment the bus moved. My seat was just so uncomfortable. The more I thought about how far the journey would take, the more sober I felt.

Have You Read My Bitter Experience On The Road To Badagry?

Before long, people started unwrapping their packs of food. I joined the bandwagon.

The farther we traveled , the more uncomfortable I felt. But all through it, I kept calling my host and to give her updates.

A quick stop at a suya spot in Benin city

She assured we’d get to Calabar around 8pm if the driver was smart enough, if otherwise, she hopes to see me by 10pm. She was wrong on both grounds. Our driver was neither smart nor skilled. He failed to communicate with the passengers until around 9pm when someone I presume was a frequent traveler challenged him of not knowing where he’s headed. He confessed YES and that was when we all knew hell wasn’t too far.

We were somewhere in the middle of Imo state. The roads were empty and I was almost choked by the nauseating dose of tension permeating the air inside the compacted bus. While a large fraction of the passengers knew exactly where they were headed, I knew nothing as a novice traveler.


Somewhere in Anambra state Nigeria
Somewhere in Anambra state Nigeria

9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 10:45pm we still haven’t figured out how to escape from Akwa Ibom. thanks to the locals who helped us navigate by showing us the way.

My First Ever Road Trip Was When I Went To Ogun State

We finally got into Calabar by 12:15am. My host was worried. She had stopped hearing from me since 8pm when I decided to put my phone on airplane mode to save its power so I could call her once I’m at her bus stop. She picked without allowing it ring twice, Dashed down to come fetch me and I didn’t couldn’t really tell what happened after we got into her apartment inside Eburutu Army cantonment.

I cared less about taking my bath. Eating too was the least on my mind. All I needed was a good night rest. Good enough to make me mentally and physically ready for the much-anticipated lifelong dream trip to Obudu Cattle Ranch.