Meet Nnemdi, A Proud Female BRT Driver
"I love driving, growing up I started driving very early, I drive not because of hardship but because I am passionate about it."
Nnemdi Onwuegbuzie is a mother, a wife, a sister and a BRT bus driver. Each time she gets on the wheels, she remembers it’s more than just a job. Over the last two years, she feels a special bond between herself and her passengers. She knows it’s her responsibility to get them to their destinations safely and on time.
She hails from Delta state, Nigeria. Despite her parents’ financial constraints, Nnemdi went to school and studied hard. But Primero Bus woman, as she is fondly called, knew that she felt most fulfilled each time she moved a vehicle.
“I started driving from a very young age, even my 14-year-old daughter knows how to drive a car. I started with LAGBUS where i did my training for just one month, that’s about two years ago, until today, there is no record of anyone who did training for one month and went through, i was the only one.
"On the inauguration day, i drove the bus (number 1) that conveyed the Lagos state governor, and (APC leader Bola Ahmed) Tinubu.”
Nnemdi’s family understand the importance of her job. She still makes time out to take personal care of her children and keeps her husband happy.
“Everyday I wake up very early to take my younger child to school at 5am, and from there I resume work by 5:30am, it has not been easy, it’s just God.”
She spoke to Bounce News about the challenges she face in the male dominated profession and the accolades she has received for her outstanding performance.
"I got a gift on Valentine's Day from an elderly woman, she came and knocked on my door while i was on seat, prayed for me, dip her hand into her bag and brought out a gift for me.
"Even today i was harassed, on my way coming down, at Anthony bus stop, normally am supposed to take the BRT lane, but because of bumps we sometimes dodge the bumps and take the general lane, my passengers started complaining, but we have been trained not to exchange words with commuters no matter what they say. Any insult will not change your skin or reduce your salary."
Nnemdi also told bounce about the condemnation she faced, especially from her relatives, when she chose to stick to her passion for driving.
"It was not funny, my elder sister was against it, i went through tough times with my family, even my children, but they later accepted it when they see that I’m passionate about it."
The Primero Bus Woman’s hard work and discipline is also recognized by passengers and other members of the society. She is quickly becoming a role model and an example of how to overcome social limitations.
"I got a gift on Valentine's Day from an elderly woman, she came and knocked on my door while i was on seat, she prayed for me, dip a hand into her bag and brought out a gift for me. She told me that when she travelled to Germany, she boarded a train driven by a Nigerian woman, she really feels proud that a woman can do such a job.”
However, Nnemdi is not sitting down and allowing the praises to get to her. She has her own goals and big dreams to accomplish even more.
“In the next two to three years, i hope to run my own transport business, I still have other plans that I hope to carry out by the grace of God.”