On my way to work the other day, I boarded one of the red BRT (Lagbus) to CMS. If you are familiar with this route, you will notice that there is a new development in their modus operandi. To cut the long story short, we now have new air-conditioned Lag buses. Commuters pay a few naira extra for the comfort (the fare for non air conditioned buses are cheaper).
Unlike the old lag buses, these new ones are of a different model-- and somewhat smaller too.
The first week they started operating, there was a lot of drama. I remember on one occasion some passengers started shouting at the driver for allowing the bus to jerk each time he changed the gear. It was so bad that a lady called the customer service to lay a complaint, "it is either your buses are bad or your drivers don't know how to drive them yet," she said to the other person on the line. I didn't dare look back to see the expression on her face as she made her call through.
Jerk, bump, change in motion, jerk.
"Driver I beg take am easy o." Some of us called out.
I am not sure why the passengers were so panicked. But in retrospect, it could just be that we were all responding to the change in the system differently.
Although the buses were brand new and quite comfortable, we didn't trust the drivers or authenticity of the system (the vehicles).
Some of the passengers were quick to propose that the driver in question be replaced immediately.
I travelled in more than one of these buses that week and realised that the technical difficulty we encountered the first day was not unique to the driver whom passengers complained about. Others faced the same challenge. They were not used to the way the buses worked and had to learn through the process. But us impatient passengers had expected immediate perfection.
Today, the buses still ply the route and the drivers have improved.
Change, as beautiful as it looks is sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes hard, sometimes bumpy.
Eventually, if we give ourselves enough room to fail, to jerk on the steering, to stagger through path while finding a solution-- if we are patient with ourselves to acknowledge the inadequacies of our team members and see how we each can provide support, complement one another as oppose to being quick to make a call through to the powers that be, then we will succeed.
Am I advocating for us to celebrate mediocrity? No.
Am I saying we should smile like everything is okay when those we entrust with the responsibility of driving us to safety and progress is pushing us overboard? No.
Of course we should raise our fist in protest. Of course we should speak up. Of course we should demand for accountability and request for a replacement if things don't improve for the better.
But-- before we raise our hands to cast the first stone-- before we launch that epic criticism, we should first make sure we are not being unrealistic with our demands. It is okay for the bus to jerk and make us uncomfortable on the first ride.
Let us not set ourself up for failure by expecting an overnight change. It takes process...
Happy Democracy Day Nigeria!
God bless Nigeria.