INNOVATION! Lagos Gets First Mobile 'Keke' Cinema?
"When I came to this Lagos, I was so eager to make it. Now God has started doing it small, small. I am my own boss na".
The smile across his face looked infectious. He had stopped to give me a ride along Kudirat Abiola Road at noon.
The ride would normally cost N50 for about 600 meters but he gave me more value than I had hoped for.
I first noticed the screen thinking it was a head rest for the driver until he said, "would you mind relaxing a bit and enjoying my small entertainment?"
I wasn't sure he was speaking to me. So, I hesitated to respond until he pushed through a follow up, "I will show you what I mean now".
He turned on the touch screen which measures about 5x8 inches. Wala! It was a movie.
He identifies himself simply as 'Praise'. He says he is a graduate of Business Administration from Delta State University and has no plan to beg for food to eat or wait for his relatives to give him hand-outs.
"See me na! I am not a small boy. I know what I want. I came from Delta here and I have worked hard, very hard in this Lagos.
"My former job was as a security man. I earned N25,000 Naira per month. I had to tell my self to wake up and become hard working.
"I walked to microfinance people and begged for loan. They gave me conditions and I have not failed till date.
"I bought this Keke for N645,000 8 months ago. I have re-paid half of the money and I will soon finish the rest. Na me be this ooo", he explained.
Praise is in his early 30s and he says there is stiff competition among Keke riders on this axis and he has no plan to "retreat or surrender".
"Bros see the matter don red now. There are so many of us on this route and as a business admin graduate I have to think out of the box.
"I have to add something that will make my passengers remember me. In fact, I get calls now for drop from people that have cars and are not willing to drive.
"There are also people going to Computer Village that call me to make delivery or drop their office people at bus-stop when they close", he added.
The gridlock in Lagos over the last few weeks has worsened and more people get stuck for hours. Praise sees this as a blessing in disguise for him.
"Once it is 4pm now, you will see how all the major routes will be blocked. I simply tell my passengers to relax and watch the film while I manoveur through the traffic and drop them safe at their bus stop.
"The only wahala now is that people always forget to hear their bus stop. They will just enter the film like they are in cinema and I will carry them past their bus stop before they will start shouting "Owa owa owa", he added laughing.