I was on my way home with a friend on one of those Saturday afternoons when the sun is high up in the sky, people are busy buying stuff for the weekend, cars and other vehicles moving in different directions, horns from vehicles blaring, music from nearby speakers blasting away, the typical Lagos. So there i was standing at the bus stop with my friend waiting for a bus when suddenly my friend noticed a molue approaching and took off towards it. I instinctively followed, asking myself why i was following him. We got in, found ourselves seats and sat down. A molue by the way, for those who do not know, which also comes as a surprise to me is a locally made, angry looking bus, commonly used for transportation in Lagos. It has three major, door-like openings, two on one side, where the conductors hang from, and one beside the driver’s seat. These openings rarely have doors and even those that do, the doors are never used. There are two rows of seats for passengers to sit and the walk way at the middle for those who would stand when all the seats have been occupied. One character that is always present in a molue is the guy who advertises his products for sale. Now back to my story, while on the bus, i kept asking myself: “what the hell am i doing here?” My friend’s response was that the fare would be cheaper and since we were not in a hurry, we might as well just take the trip nice and slow. I was disappointed because money was not our problem so why subject ourselves to this? Then i remembered that my friend has this strange love which i will never understand taking the molue.
While on the bus, i could smell fish, vegetables and all sorts. Despite the fact that the bus was filled up, the conductors kept screaming for the passengers to move in for more to come and they kept pouring in. At this point i could not help but remember a popular line from one of late Fela’s song: ’44 sitting, 99 standing’. A wicked combination of body odour, mouth odour, strange perfumes and other numerous odours didn’t help my condition. I vowed that day never to take a molue again no matter what. Now, after i had gotten over my molue experience, i discovered that i could actually relate this to my beloved country Nigeria, which was how i came up with the term: ‘molue mentality’. I discovered  that like my friend, some of those who still patronise the molue, do so because they want to cut cost, so instead of taking a more comfortable bus, they would rather subject themselves to all that i described and more just to cut cost?. I also took note of the fact that passengers still chose to get in even when it was visible that the bus was filled up. They would endure the squeezing, discomfort and even suffer the risk of losing their purse or wallet. Isn’t this how we live in Nigeria? Accepting mediocrity when we can and should aim for or desire excellence. PHCN supplies power for less than a quarter of 24hours, we sing and celebrate as though something massive just happened. A governor builds schools, hospitals, roads and provides all the other basic amenities and we sing his praise. What really is his job then, if he boasts of that as achievements? We would squeeze ourselves through hardship and manage everything and then claim that we are strong people. It is only in this part of the world that you would hear that the president of a nation travelled to one of the states to commission a bore-hole project. This for me is one of the biggest jokes i have grown to hear.
This is what i call the ‘molue mentality’. We have been deprived for so long what is due us as our rights so much that we now see the provision of certain basic amenities as privileges. We have become slaves, not bound by physical chains, but by unseen shackles that bind our minds and spirits and so we have grown to become slaves in our own land begging for what we deserve. Why suffer through hardship when there should be a better option? Are we trying to cut cost again?  There should be something better. We shouldn’t just settle for whatever. As a people, do you not think we deserve better than what we get. We see these things everyday. i do not have to bore you with the list. The choice is ours to make. Do we intend to continue with this mentality or do we want to set ourselves free? I can hear some people say “God will help us”, the regular cliché. In my own opinion, God will not help us, in fact He has helped us, given us ALL that we would ever need as a people to become all that we would ever want to be. The big question is: “are we ready to wake up or do we want to keep basking in the molue mentality?”