The Molue Market
In the Center of Excellence and economic capital of Nigeria, people come from nooks and crannies to make a living for themselves and become prosperous legitimately. While some achieve the former, the latter seems to elude majority.
As a means to save cost, the cheapest means to anything is always rushed and often in hot demand. This brings in the concept of mass transit buses. Transportation is a necessity and a major economic backbone. People have to move from their workplace to their home and vice versa. Hence, transportation is a non-negotiable sector.
The mass transit buses, popularly called “Molue” by the people can be said to be the golden boy of transportation for both the average and below average categories of the teeming population. Since it takes a lot of people, the price is the lowest in reference to other transit options. They are always filled to capacity and above capacity. You even get to see people hang on the doors when the bus is filled to the brim. The buses are always painted yellow and badly maintained. You do not even care about comfort in it, you are just bothered about getting to your destination no matter how slow. Oshodi used to be the hub for those national treasures before they were gradually phased out, as they did not tally with the metropolitan master plan of Lagos.
As time rolled by, the government introduced their own mass transit schemes. They had separate lanes created for them and are better regulated. They are maintained by agencies appointed by the state. They remain until now.
However, the “Molue” tradition in itself did not totally perish. This time, there was an influx of “white” mass transit buses operated by members of the public. Axis like Ketu, Oshodi, Ikorodu are their major operation routes. The only difference between them and “Molue” is the color. For the purpose of this post, I will call them “White Molue”. A major practice that was passed down from the old to new is the marketing of different items in the bus.
Drugs, herbal mixtures, spiritual concoctions are among the items commonly up for sale. Firstly, the marketer picks a seat probably on the 2nd or 3rd row to have a maximum reach. The audience has already been provided. Having a good voice is always an advantage, as commuters would be forced to listen to you throughout the journey.
These marketers have mastered the art of sweet talking alongside a lot of unverifiable testimonies. To prove to you, most of them even go as far as swearing with their lives. When direct marketing does not work, they use reverse psychology to prevail on you.
For a lot of people that are always on the move, that is like an opportunity for them to buy what would have taken them probably a visit to a hospital to get. The emphasis is on those selling drugs. As an educated person, I feel bad seeing these marketers misconstruing a lot of medical jargons to convince the unsuspecting buyer. How can one drug work for like fourteen different diseases? How can you sell a de-worming drug as cure for diabetes? It’s disheartening that people buy drugs from a total stranger rather than seeking a medical doctor’s medical advice. Once people hear the name of the disease they are affected with called out, they buy the drug immediately. These marketers know what people want to hear, so they sell it to them. The herbal concoction marketers also bring their products to sell. Most of these products do not even have NAFDAC number. Still, you would wonder in bewilderment why it is being rushed. Is it illiteracy or just laziness?
These marketers also double as assistant conductors. They notify the driver when someone is about to alight. The spiritual concoction people are even the funniest of all. They start their advertisement with prayer and assurances. If not that people always look for shortcuts, someone sells a bottle of perfumed water for N500 to you and tells you to sprinkle it in front of your shop so you attract sales and become a millionaire. The person that wants to make you a millionaire is making his millions from inside molue with your N500. How laughable.
When the bus gets to the last bus stop, these marketers come down after making their gains. They join another “White Molue” going in the opposite direction and continue that business. The cycle continues.
This is the Molue Market.