My Amazing Experience On A Night Bus From Lagos To Owerri

Asaba Bridge
The River Niger Bridge in Onitsha (also known as the Onitsha Bridge), Anambra State, Nigeria connects southeastern Nigeria with western Nigeria over the River Niger. It is linked to Asaba in Delta State, Nigeria. History Between 1964 and 1965, French construction giant, Dumez, constructed the Niger Bridge, to link Onitsha and Asaba in present-day Anambra and Delta States respectively. It cost £5 million to build. Construction of the bridge was completed in December 1965.[1] During the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 - 1970, in an attempt to halt the Nigerian advance, retreating Biafran soldiers destroyed the River Niger Bridge at Onitsha, trapping the Nigerians on the other side of the river. After the war, the bridge was rehabilitated. The President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration has started works to reinforce the bridge, due to its economic relevance to Nigeria.

In The Beginning…

The time was just 6:10pm,  but I had to shut down my computer in the office to get set for this trip to Owerri. This is an unusual habit because I’m that employee who takes his job so serious like he owns it. But on this day, I can’t but just leave as early as possible so I don’t miss the bus. The excitement of traveling to a region I had never been also added to the eagerness.

My Travel Partner

Lawal Damilare
He can be very troublesome…

Since going with me to Osun, Dami has always been on the lookout for when and where the next trip will be, so I had to agree we jointly do this even though I love it solo.
Traveling all night in a luxurious bus is what I have never done, hence, I vowed to break that jinx.

 

I wasn’t new to traveling anymore, so it took me less than 10 minutes to get my bag packed. Save for my laptop which made it a little bit heavy, the content was as light as a new born.

with our bags strapped behind us, we flagged down 2 bikers who took us to the bus park at Jibowu from Onike where we hooked up.
Here are few tips I’d advise you take when preparing for any journey

  • Take your bath before packing: This will enable you pick any/every thing you need for cleaning up since it’s been observed overtime that items like toothbrushes body cream et al are the most forgotten items during travel packing. e.g immediately I brush my teeth, I’d keep the toothbrush and paste inside the bag. same thing applies to my bathing soap down to my hair cream.
  • Ensure you go to the toilet before traveling and ensure you don’t eat afterwards. you wouldn’t want to get your stomach upset in the middle of the night, would you?
  • Lastly, don’t bother about taking along whatever you know you can get at your destination. e.g food. Remember, the bigger your bag is, the more your vulnerability.
Tickets to Owerri
Tickets were handed over to us immediately payment was made.

 

So we set out towards Jibowu, one of the most popular bus parks in Lagos (especially for inter-state and cross-country travels). E.EKESONS BROS was the bus company we patronized since it was amongst the few who had luxurious vehicles en route Owerri that night + their fare was affordable too. #5,000.00 was the cost of Lagos to Owerri.

Bus to Owerri
on the queue waiting to be checked in.

Armed with our tickets and bags, we proceeded towards the waiting bus where the tickets were checked at the entrance to confirm everyone on the queue was destined for Owerri. Once your ticket gets checked, you proceed up the stairs of the same bus to meet a security guy who’d check your bag and body to ensure you aren’t carrying any dangerous item.
Though we weren’t the first to get to the park, we were handed seats 1 and 2 respectively. Unknown to us, these two seats were the worst of all seats in terms of convenience but it was too late to protest as the ignition had been turned by the driver and  with a thunderous ‘amen’ from more than half of the passengers on board (signalling a prayer session), I could tell the journey had long started, so I conceded.

Bus to Owerri
What the interior of the Bus looked like

While our pastor on the bus rolled out prayer points like CBN monetary policies, I watched over Dami who was already nodding his head in an uncoordinated manner to ensure he was at least a bit comfortable. I was so sure the prayers will be enough to cater for all of us in the bus since I felt praying for the same thing at the same time might disturb God. This made me focus more on being my brother’s keeper s I padded Dami’s head gently with my left arm.

The time crept slowly towards midnight, pastor was done by then and Aunty Felicia stepped to the middle- the same spot pastor had had his session. She was a robust and had enough confidence and control of the English language, enough to draw our attention. Thinking she wanted to start another round of prayers, I was ready to sleep off on her, but she didn’t. She had rather come to sell some drugs and mixtures to all passengers on board, only that her approach was different. Aside the aforementioned traits, ‘mommy’ (an alternate name she said we could call her) unlike other drug sellers inside ‘molue, was well dressed in a flowery gown and I could perceive the sweet strawberry scent of her perfume from where I sat. she had a portable microphone strapped on her head which was connected to a small speaker hung on the luggage compartment just above her seat. Since she was behind me, I assumed all eyes must be on her while she switched from English to pidgin to the delight of her potential customers.

 
Few observations and tips to note when traveling at night via luxurious buses
– Get there on time-  (with the look of things, not more than one bus plies one route per night).
– Pay close attention to the people selling stuffs around, there might be something(s) you’ve forgotten to bring along.
– Be kind and nice to whoever you encounter at the bus terminal- you know not who your seat partner will be.
– Be attentive & avoid roaming about- announcement is being made once the bus is about departing.

The car breezed through the Lagos-Ibadan express road while Aunty Felicia continued with her marketing. Aside the discomfort, one would barely know when the bus jumps into a pothole and this must have been why majority could sleep comfortably. Some were fortunate not to have any seat partner so they converted their seats to sofas.

I had drained the energy inside the power bank I bought for #1,000 before boarding the bus, so I decided it was time to take the much-needed nap. Truth is, I don’t even know where we had gotten to. All I could see was our bus piercing through the lonely forest without any other bus in sight. Many crazy thoughts ran in my head but I ditched them all while my heart skipped at intervals. Dami’s head was already escaping through the window so I tilted it a backwards a little to enable me shut the window.

Read about my experience while traveling to Ogun state and Badagry.
It was 2:47am by the time, Aunty Felicia’s voice grew fainter as I heard her ask her audience engaging questions such as how long a real man is supposed to last on his woman. While some said the first round shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes, some opted for 45, but she said all of them are lazy, adding that a real man is supposed to last up to 4 hours on any woman he claims to love!

Eh! “won’t the men go to work the next day?” I blurted from my corner and the men supported me while the women were strongly behind Mommy.

 

After series of argument and opinions, another question on who ought to wake up first between a man and his joystick was asked and this one was debated for over another hour before I finally decided it was time to sleep, but beside me was a woman who bothered less about who was watching as she rolled up her gown (revealing her pants) while she scratched and fanned herself with utmost joy. I couldn’t blame her, the lights were off, the windows too were shut- making it somewhat difficult for proper ventilation and being chubby must have made life that unbearable.

This made me finally shut my drowsy eyes, opening them many hours later to discover we were still on transit. It was few minutes to 7am, some of the passengers had alighted, making way for some more to join the bus as he atmosphere got clearer. Dami was awake too, he had also bought a bunch of chewing sticks for us for #100 from the hawkers on the river Niger Bridge.

 

Asaba Bridge
The River Niger Bridge in Onitsha (also known as the Onitsha Bridge), connects southeastern Nigeria with western Nigeria over the River Niger. It is linked to Asaba in Delta State, Nigeria.
History
Between 1964 and 1965, French construction giant, Dumez, constructed the Niger Bridge, to link Onitsha and Asaba in present-day Anambra and Delta States respectively. It cost £5 million to build. Construction of the bridge was completed in December 1965. During the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 – 1970, in an attempt to halt the Nigerian advance, retreating Biafran soldiers destroyed the River Niger Bridge at Onitsha, trapping the Nigerians on the other side of the river. After the war, the bridge was rehabilitated…

So we continued the day in Asaba- Delta state whilst in the bus- on transit to Owerri. Since the same route leads to Portharcourt, we alighted at ‘control’ (another popular bus stop where one of the largest catholic churches in west Africa is situated). From whence we boarded a tricycle to  Amajieke- a popular centre where the bus destined for our final destination (Atta- umuduru Imo) awaited us.

Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri
Construction of the Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri began in 1954 and was dedicated in 1980

We were finally in Imo State Nigeria!

to be continued…

Many thanks to Mustapha Wahab and Lawal Damilare who funded this trip with their hard-earned resources.

 

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