The Keke Napep Debacle- TAC @mistaflexx



Keke Napep, tricycle, keke marwa… whatever you choose to call those moving boxes on three wheels; those things are really one of a kind.
I remember when I was a lot younger, when these mobiles were first introduced onto the Nigerian roads; first in lagos where they were known as Keke Marwa and then slowly embraced by other states. I used to wonder how these things moved without losing balance. In my youthful mind, they looked so light and delicate and sometimes I felt that a strong wind (those types that come just before a rainstorm) could blow these little mobiles with its passengers off the road. That didn’t stop me from yearning though for the day I would take a ride in it. It seemed like a ride I would enjoy so much; the ride of life!
 I eventually did take that ride, and what an unforgettable experience it was, with fresh breeze caressing my face and body, and the thrill of being in a wonder on wheels.
Today, regrettably, I don’t view these small machines with as much awe as I used to, no thanks to the drivers or riders that handle them now. These days, they have become a menace of some sort on our roads. They are one of the leading causes of intra-city road accidents. They are everywhere, including on routes they should not be, like the high-ways. They have little regard for neither road traffic rules, nor other road users. Negotiating turns in the most impossible places, scratching other vehicles and leaving their stamp behind on the body paint. Infact, if you take a survey now you would notice that about four of every ten cars on the road have their stamp on them; a little yellow  or green patch (depending on their color in that city) on either the front or rear bumper or the sides of the car.
I have on mine, and it is not the first time. I have visited my painter several times to clean off those stamps that I have decided the effort may be futile, because it appears as though each time I succeed in spraying them off some keke driver sees my car as not road worthy. It is the new insignia of road worthiness, a sign to show that your car has been kissed by a ‘keke napep’.
Someone once said that the keke napep drivers suffer from identity crisis, they are still undecided as to whether they are okada riders or car drivers. Considering that most of them ‘graduated’ from okada riding to their current status, I couldn’t agree more.
What worries me more though is the number of deaths they have caused in road accidents as a result of their recklessness. I wonder if there is some sort of driving school they go through before they are allowed to ride freely on our roads. I don’t think I have ever seen a keke napep with a ‘learner’s permit’ on the road. Are they exempted from learning? Is owning a keke napep an automatic license to hit the road on a havoc causing spree?
A friend of mine told me of an accident he witnessed somewhere in Enugu recently. Of course as usual, a keke napep was involved.  He narrated how a keke napep was cruising down a highway in search of passengers and blasting his music loudly as most of them are wont to, while a tanker filled with PMS was approaching just a few meters right behind unknown to him. The keke was riding by the far right side of the road and suddenly he saw some potential passengers standing by the opposite side of the road and without consulting his side mirrors he did a full left swing in Gestapo-like fashion. The tanker driver on seeing this sudden display of madness, tried all the tricks in his book to keep from hitting the keke but since he was carrying a heavy load, this proved very difficult and BAM!!! The tanker lost control, ran over the keke crushing the driver instantly and eventually fell over spilling its content unto the road. The tanker burst into flames and a major catastrophe which could have been avoided was caused. This is just one of many such sad tales.
I do sincerely hope that the concerned authorities do more in checking the excesses of these tricycle drivers on our roads and may the souls that have departed as a result of these wanton recklessness rest in peace.