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30 Sep 2008

Desperate Driver

One of my goals this year was to learn how to drive. Isn't it so sad and embarrassing to know that as old as I am I cannot operate a car!!! I’ll see ladies younger than me cruising in their posh ride and I’ll just shake my head. Well I refuse to take all the blame for not knowing how to drive. I’ll give 50% to my father.

You see, I went to a boarding school and then did my first degree outside Nigeria so basically those years were not the best time to learn how to drive. When I came back to Nigeria to do my NYSC I finally decided it was time to learn this thing! I went to a driving school, as there was no one in the family who had my time. My instructor thought I was a quick learner and I was pretty excited about the whole driving experience. One day my dad asked me to drive the family to church and men the car (a Volvo) refused to work o. Anyway I managed to drive us to church but my father was lamenting all the way. He was like “you this girl, you cannot drive yet ”. That’s how my dad believed I was not any good and refused to release any of his cars for my use.

I didn’t worry too much as I got a job in Lagos and forgot all about driving. Seeing how people drive crazily in Lagos discouraged me profoundly from pursuing my driving career. I neglected the whole thing till I felt the urge again…you know seeing all those Lagos babes in their Rav4 etc. LOL. Anyway at this point, I asked my dad to sell me his 504 (I know, I know, very razz, but I was getting desperate at this point). Anyway the man went back and forth over selling the car to me. To cut the long story short, he didn’t sell me the car. You can see why I am putting half blame on him although i think he was scared I'll probably have an accident or something. Anyway I fashied (forgot) his side and went to another driving school. I was really determined that I had to know how to drive. I was coming to the UK to do my masters and I felt I had to learn this art of driving before leaving. I got similar comments from my new instructor that I was a natural driving blah blah.

I got to the UK and once again didn’t get round to driving. Well those who live in the UK know how it can be. You can’t drive without a license. Actually people do but it is against the law and I didn’t want to start thinking of the consequences if I was caught and besides I personally think it is wrong. I did have an international license from Nigeria but somehow didn’t get to driving.

Ok fast forward to two years later- beginning of 2008. As part of my goals for the year, driving and getting my license was at the top of the list. I had had enough and felt I had dragged this whole driving thing for too long. Kilode??? (Why??). Bus drivers that might have not gone to school can drive, so why can’t I. Correct babe like me. I was like aloted, this is the year o. You have to get your license and get driving!

So in April I enrolled in a driving school (kai, yet another one) and had to start from scratch. Learning how to drive and then pass the driving test is another ball game in the UK. At this point I was wishing I was back in Nigeria where you just use bold face to “enter” the road. Abi practice makes perfect. But over here, you have to do a theory test before you can take the practical test. All that procedure didn't really bother me, it was the money I had to pay for driving classes that was biting me. Do not be deceived, learning to drive in the UK is EXPENSIVE. In fact, it is an investment. Heck that was why I waited till April to get into that financial commitment.

Nawa o, this story is getting long o. Hen, hen, where was I? Ok I started driving classes and was beginning to feel confident again about my driving. I even mentioned it in one or two of my ten things Tuesday. I took my practical test in June and I failed it! I was quite devastated. I knew at this point I could drive but the driving test was so nerve wrecking I fumbled. On a consoling note, only about 35% of people pass their first time. But still I was really gutted! All that money! Kai! That was mainly what I could think about. Husby was really cool about the whole thing. He believes till this day that the examiner purposely failed me (cuz am a black girl init? LOL)

Ok, don’t worry, I am nearly done with my story. So I took a month break and decided to ditch my instructor. I didn’t have any issues with him actually but I felt I needed a second "view". At this point I also considered going the easy route- doing my test with an auto car, but I felt that was accepting defeat. Why should I not be able to pass my test with a manual, meanwhile if you pass the auto test you are restricted to driving only auto cars. For all you auto drivers, you cannot really drive o..just accept it now now..LOL, who cares abi? Anyway I got another instructor who taught manual and I was glad I did. DI (driving instructor) seemed very passionate about teaching how to drive and kept on going on and on about how many of his students passed first time and how he loved his job. This actually boosted my confidence. I took fewer lessons with him, ta le fe je ni gbese (I had no more extra money to dash (give) anyone).

I was feeling really on top of things, and felt more prepared for my next test. Days before my test, I had been praying seriously for favour with the examiner because I really didn’t want to go through all of the driving test after this time.

I felt nervous again, I tire for me and nervousness o, such that at the beginning of the test I could hardly feel my legs and I was like “oh no, not now, legs you have to perform o”. I made a blunder on one of the manoeuvres and in my head I was like ye I don fail (I have failed) but I kept at it and my legs felt better. I made sure I kept doing my mirror checks (people fail primarily for this reason- not checking their mirrors and blind spot). I wore dangle earrings so the man will know when I make any head movement. LOL.

Anyhoo we got back to the test centre and the guy was like “Is this your first attempt” and I replied “No, my second”. He goes “Ok I will give you a pass, but you know you nearly messed up there”. Omo I felt like kneeling down and prostrating for him at the same time. I PASSED!!!!! Tears of joy came streaming down, I felt like saying one conc Yoruba prayer for the guy but I just kept my cool. He gave me a blue paper to use as a temp licence and wished me all the best. I was so excited I hugged the DI…hehehe. He was pretty happy for me as well.

Hubsy was so excited for me, he took me out later that evening to celebrate. Meanwhile, guess who the first person I smsed to share the good news- My dad!

My sms: How are you sir? Just wanted to let you know I took my practical driving test today and I passed! Thank God. So I am now an official road user.

His reply: My dear daughter, I am proud of you. Congratulations. When next I come to Britain you will come and pick me from the airport

Dreading this already..LOL!!!



  1. First!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    LOL about learning to drive
    my dad tried to teach my sister
    he said at the roundabout we are turning left.
    she got to the roundabout and in stead og going round turned left (went the wrong way round....its difficult to explain...never mind) my dad panicked oh called my mother saying your daughter was trying to kill me in broad daylight she didnt have the decncy to wait for nightime when im asleep. But it was hilarious.
    Glad u passed, its a gruelling exercise.

  2. I'm so glad you passed. I've battled driving for years cos I have a driving phobia (goes way back to my childhood, long story)- I freeze anytime I'm on the road. This has prevented me from keeping up with lessons.

    I find your story quite inspiring. Maybe one day sha I'd summon up courage and follow it through.

  3. Congratulations!!!

    It means you can drive anywhere...:-)
    but come and test ur skills in Lagos...

  4. awwww congrats! happy for u!!

    this got me crackin up: "Omo I felt like kneeling down and prostrating for him at the same time." LOL!

    hmmm i've had lots of opportunites to learn but never used any...i really wonder if i'll ever get to it!

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  6. Congrats. Lol @504. We had one 2. Learning 2 drive in the uk is expensive; actually driving here is more expensive. I failed 2ice but u wouldn't think so now. Nothing do u abeg. I do not drive in naija sha...that one pass is 2 mad & i no sabi the rules of the road in lagos..abeg which one be horn once, horn 2ice, long horn, flash once, flashing 1/2 those young girls in naija would have failed here. If u look their moto side u 4 see dat na shakara dem dey do wen dey bash am. U'll be fine with an airport pick-up...

  7. you know naija now...i neva did a driving test but i'm on my 2nd drivers licence now..after d 1st one experied..didn't do anything illegal o..your story is so cracking me up..kneel and postrate for the guy at thesame time..i think i'll get my international one from here too..i celebrate with you o..

  8. Shuooo???!! Nitori driving??? ahn na wa o...mehn maybe I should do a post abt ma journey into driving...

  9. Hmmn aloted congrats o!!!I'm sooo happy for you...
    I am one of the agbayas too that is just learning o! na naija factor...(why drive if i can be driven!!!)
    But come december this gal is joing the class of drivers in the uk o!...(Amen o!)
    Please o quick many lessons did you actually do before you went for your first test?
    I don't even want to think about the is crazy men!

  10. Congratulations for passing your driving test! E no easy o! P.S whenever you are driving and particularly when you go to pick your popsie just banish fear!

    Driving test?! Kai! You have exposed 9ja O. How many of us bother with driving test!

    When you visit 9ja try driving in Lagos...

  11. LOL... Pele ohh, you try... You go try strong face when e reach time to go carry popsy from airport oh...Ha ha....Naija Naija...I got my second driver's license before I fully learned to drive. One of popsy's mechanics taught me, then I went to a driving school, took three lessons, then went on the road...

  12. @MDM- yes o..first o..u deserve a prize!!!
    hehehehe...I know what u mean about round abouts...took me a while to master the art!!! your dad and my dad are just the same thing...hehehe
    Men thanks o..the story is even plenty but i had to summarise

    @naijalines- thank u o...i think i also had driving phobia but am getting out of it... glad u found my story inspiring. It is actually a good feeling to know I am not the only "adult"
    looking forward to hearing your story of overcoming your phobia...come and join me

    @Rita- thanks o..i really appreciate it..hmm lagos!!! omo i dunno about driving in lagos o.

    @buttercup- girl thanks happy for me too. Don't become old agbaya like me go and learn how to drive.. stop postponing. LOL

    @Shubby Doo- thanks for the vote of confidence my sister and am glad u understand whre I am coming from. Hmm I had a friend that did the test 5 times! men...
    lagos is just a mad house to drive and u r right...all dem babes and guys in naija...will fail their first test in the UK- guaranteed! (that sounds mean but i think it is true

    @simeone- lol...yes o...thanks my brother. if u are coming to the UK (dunno about other countries) u can drive a year with your intl licence but it is only for one year o! After that, na to do test!

    @chari- u r not o nitori driving...hehehehehe na big deal.
    I will like to hear ur learning how to drive experience

    @NoLimit- awww thanks make u come join me and learn o...
    men i no wan disgrace myself with the number of lessons I I'll send u an email..hehehehe
    Just see the whole thing as an might feel better about the money factor.

    @Dee!- Thanks prayer i go pray before i drive..cuz even now i still dey fear..dunno why?? May God help me.
    Naija? do they even do driving test???
    Like I told Rita, not sure about driving in lagos liver never reach

    @archiwiz- long time!!! how u dey? yes o..prayer + strong face when I go carry popsy..but i know he will still have something to say. All those old people that have been driving before somebody was even U are ok o...u just enter road like that after three lessons...correct person!

  13. Congrats O. Naija drivers got nothing on u. the average naija driver thinks aggressive driving is driving. doing gra gra and changing lanes every 10secs doesnt make them a driver. lil do they know. with lil or no driving rules and no enforcer of the few that there are makes everyone the best driver.

    Shubby doo, abeg se this honk once means this, flash headlights twice means somn else na joke abi u serious cos if u say it is. my curious cat wants to know what does mean.

  14. Congrats, aloted! I'm thrilled that you made it happen.

    Reading your recounting of your adventures to getting your license made me laugh, so thank you for that.

    Learning to drive in the UK sounds like the process here, except in Canada you have to pass a theoretical test in addition to two road tests which must be taken at least one year apart from each other. The soonest you can get your driver's license after writing your theoretical test is 1 year and 8 months (since you can't take your first test until eight months have elapsed).

    Your dad is funny! He'll be so proud to see you crusing to pick him up though!

  15. lol

    congrats babes
    although the part about picking up your dad totally cracks me up!

    you berra practice well before he comes oh

  16. Babe, which kin jamb exam be this one? LOL. Considering all this wahala you had 2 go thru, me I won't let you carry me in ur car oh...especially in that Britain where they drive on the wrong side of the road sef. lol.


  17. congrats o!

    I had similar experience when i started driving here in Naija.

    the driving schools are just extorting money without any tangible practical training. i registered at one school and everything was 90% theory and practicals on a field. in fact, it was just boring. after 2months, i was still afraid to drive on the main road. at last, i found one DANFO DRIVER who taught me the art of LAGOS DRIVING. the guy taught me the hard way.
    i smached the pointer of my vehicle the first day. i crushed an okada the second day, then on third day...guess what? i drove the car from Unilag to Ogba. he taught me for just 3 days! now i'm a professional driver.

  18. @chiefO- thank u oooo..i appreciate. it is still amazing how driving abroad and in naija is totally different. In one place the rules are damn to many u have to remember everything, and in the other u make up your own
    thanks for stopping by

    @GNG- awww..thats sweetie. am glad i made u
    Ah wetin do Canada...why two road tests??? one is bad enough...nawa sounds like a mission to get a license over there.
    So do u drive in Canana?
    If they ever change it in the least I am covered...

    @Tyger- ore thanks o..i didn't even acknowledge that U gave me the topic for this
    don't worry popsy isn't coming till next year (he can't stand the winter) so i have enuff time to get my act together

    @Vera- awwwww u have broken my heart :( so u dont trust my after I drive my popsy with no issues (his approval is the ultimate...hehehe), will u let me carry u in my car? ;-)

    @Yewande- thanks o..and thanks for stopping by... men u are ok o...3 days! lol..hope u no wound the okada driver o. i think driving is more confidence than anything else...

  19. lol..congratulation's. I remember i began driving @ 16 cos my sisters were already driving, now i hate driving .I can;t stand it..but where i live..hmmm i can;t do without driving. I'm happy for you after all those trials

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  21. PS: Like shubby doo, I feel driving in Naija is the HEIGHT! Last december my dad allowed me to drive on the ordinary Lekki express way and I was shaking like a fly. Esp with all the molues, buses, and wreckless OKADAS....ahhhh! Its hard. I don't know how people drive in Lagos...

  22. LOLLLLLLL...

    This story is so similar to mine...LOLLL...

    I like ur dad's response "next time when I come to Britain, you will come and pick me up from the airport." Loll...keep practicing.

    I'm so excited, I'm now an official driver in the U.S. I also had a Nigerian license before, but still didn't even bother practicing...cos of school and metro runz (I could take the subway whenever I wanted so I became lazy)...he he. Anyways, it's over now. The storm is overrrr!

    'abaya' abegoooooo wen popsi land allow Oga to go pick am o'
    Lg cant shout, i no be awilo :):)


  24. lol! i see my friend still loves Rav4, do y9ou even know any other car? lol..
    Congrats again on passing, my dad was part of the reason i also didn't start to drive till i was 27, looking forward to driving him! lol..
    Hmmm...maybe you shouldn't drive your

  25. @naijalines, aloted and other people with driving phobia, IF I CAN DRIVE, SO CAN YOU!

    I used to say I had a car accident in my previous life, that's why I used to be afraid to drive.

    my bf really tried in that aspect of my life. he was DEDICATED to making sure that I became a real certified driver, and I actually knew how to drive, but whatever I lacked in confidence I made up for in fear.

    once there's somebody to push you and u actually start practicing, you'll get there.

    if you've attended 3 driving schools, of course u can drive, u just need to get out on the road more often.

    Now I'm a certified ogbologbo driver, I'm even a road aggressor sef!

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  27. Congrats babe! It's like you and I were in the same position. When I left Nigeria, I was just out of school and I hadn't learnt to drive, then all through uni days in London I didn't need to drive when I could just disappear into the underground or take the bus everywhere, lol. I've since been procrastinating, but now I'm determined to start my lessons and take the practical test early next year. I took my theory test on Tuesday, maybe I should blog about it sef....

    Anyway, congrats again, now you can cruise down to visit me!

  28. @Femi B- many thanks o! wow driving at 16?? i never even conceived it has taken me over 10 years to get to this point! I hear some people love driving while some hate it...

    @Jaycee- congrats to u too!!! yes ooo the storm is over!!!! hehehe.
    Driving in Naija..kai!! crazy!!!! May God protect us all..

    @LG- lol..thanks dear. hmm u know..thats a plan..i'll just tell hubby to go pick popsc when he comes..
    LG were u trying to spell agbaya or something eyes are on u o...dont think i have forgotten the question i asked u

    @writefreak- i guess thats another story for another day...I DONT KNOW NAMES OF CARS!!! it is soooo bad...hehehehe.
    Don't mind our fathers jare..dunno wat their problem is...Bu God's grace my children shall learn how to drive when they are 16 so i can be sending them on errants ;-)

    @bumight- hmm thanks for the words of encouragement o. God bless u...i have decided that even if i feel the fear i will still drive. Hubby has really been supportive and i have been driving to work. practice makes perfect, right?
    Kai ogbologbo driver! correct! looking forward to becoming that ;-)

    @FG- omo i totally feel u pls blog about ur theory test...even that one i had to jack seriousily for it..all the best when u do ur practical..come and join us licence holders (see me feeling cool)

    omo..i go first practice my vicinity well well before i cruise down to that your faaaaaaar end ;-)

  29. Lol! @ texting your dad 1st. he dint hesitate to test your driving skills.

    I started driving b4 i left nigeria. On getting to d Uk, I didnt bother driving.

    when I got back to 9ja, Rabbi refused to let me drive, saying he cant trust my driving.

    It took confidence, intervention 4rm his dad n prayers to God, to change that perspective.

    Today i drive in lagos, but I always say i am a learning driver. Cos theres always room 4 improvement.

    Congrats girl. Now get in you Rav4 and honk your horn.

  30. Congrats!
    When next I come to England you must come and pick me too from the airport o!
    And I'm sure there are quite a number of our naija peeps too who will be visiting England in the next few months, and who will need someone to pick them up from the airport - whether na Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted...

  31. Mehn you tried! my sister has failed that test like twice in the UK already and I think she is a good driver in 9jar. She says its too expensive to take more lessons. I started driving late as well (during my NYSC). I was actually the last person in my house to start driving. I learnt with a manual car but ended up with a jalopy! Till date my dad says I can't drive and am dangerous but as far as am concerned if you can drive a manual car you can drive joh!


  32. Fathers! Sometimes, i wonder why they are the way they are...but sometimes i just understand(and i also believe that i may be that way...especially now that i want a girl as my first child).

    Re:Your driving. If you were a normal naija guy, you'd have hit the road since! Boys no dey wait for papa mey he talk. We go begin practice for best friends house, come home, carry the car. Popsi rakes! End of story. The car is yours. lol


  33. Hmmm...i will soon go and open my own driving school o!!
    Lol @ auto drivers don't know how to drive.. na you sabi, soon the only place you'll be able to find manual is in the museum!!
    I failed my first test too, its a timeless right of passage.

  34. @oluwadee- iyawo, how far..driving and confidence definitely go hand in hand...yes o...I claim my rav4 in Jesus

    @Tolu- u r very unserious..u don turn me to driver peeps ko african peeps

    @Tairebabs- the thing about the Uk test as u may know, is not ur ability to is more of observation and anticipating hazards, thats all they ever talk about..MSM- Mirrors, Signal, anoeuvre! LOL

    @seye- i think most fathers are just like that with their girls, protective! u said, my brother didnt wait for anybody ..he just started

    @sleey n' catty- yes sure your driving school will't mind me @ automatic hubby cant drive a manual so we have an automatic car and i must confess it is much much easier..u dont have to worry about gears and clutch!

  35. what a story. so na only me remain now abi, since u have left the club. ok then. by december in Jesus name, i will push the trailers off the express.

  36. @uzezi- abi o...
    yes o...i dey your side..pls come and join me over at this

  37. Aloted!!

    I am so happy for you!! You passed your driving test.. Double yay!! Obtaining a UK drivers license is a major achievement. It really is. I feel so strongly about this that i used to put it on my CV as one of my major achievements!! Lol. Your story really brings back memories of my Learner Driver days in the UK. It was soo frigging expensive.. I must have spent about 1000GBP on learning to drive and to make matters worse.. i failed the first attempt. I was so devastated! I just thank God I didn't give up.

    One quick tip.. please dont make the mistake of trying to do 'Speedy Gonzales'. Those speed cameras are bad!! They even have those mobile ones that your satnav cannot detect. I got three points within my first two years of driving..(babe was 'cameraed' doing 41miles in a 30miles zone) if you get six points within the first two years of getting your license, you will loose your license and have to go through the whole thing again! This is not your portion in Jesus name..

    Good to be reading your blog again.

  38. my dear..thanks jare...
    and yes i have been very careful o...but the annoying thing is that cars behind me start getting impatient and start overtaking...but wetin concern agbero with overload..if they like they shld overtake and roll up the road with them as they overtake..silly

    i say a big amen to ur prayer o..thanks dear

    lol @ u put passing ur driving test on ur cv...nice one!

  39. LOL..very funny..
    I'm sure by now, you would have been perfect.Just cant resist laughing..
    Nice one gal.


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