As I drove onto the main road my heart sank. I had noticed road safety officials littered everywhere. They were randomly stopping cars to check for licence and registration. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me but just the day before, I had been told that the licence I was carrying was a fake. Don’t get me wrong... I had always known that it was, and it never bothered me that I was carrying it. I justified my nonchalance by saying that it didn’t matter because it wasn’t like anyone went for a driving lesson before being issued a licence in Nigeria.
The real problem to me was that I had recently realised that the road safety officials could also spot a fake instantly. Apparently they had got smarter.
I immediately changed the expression on my face to one of breezy indifference as I resisted the urge to move my car to a lane on the inside in the hopes that it would deter them from stopping me. At the same time, I thought of different scenarios in my head of how it could play out if I was stopped.
Maybe they would ask for my registration and license. In that situation, I would give them my registration first and then dawdle a little as I searched for my licence while wearing an expression of mild irritation at them for wasting my time as I tried to get to my extremely important Job. Maybe they would let me go after verifying my registration.
Or, I could give them the fake licence and hope I get a particularly naive official who will give it a pass. I also imagined that I could whisper La hawla wala quwata under my breadth. After all, I really wasn’t purposely trying to break the law. Hopefully, Allah would stop them from recognising it as fake.
Finally, I decided that if all failed, I was stopped and the licence recognised as fake, then I would pull out my dumb blonde card and try an expression of wide- eyed innocence as I expressed my shock that I was in fact carrying a fake licence.
In the space of one minute as I drove down the road I thought of all these scenarios. As it turned out, I was never stopped. I heaved a sigh of relief as I turned the corner. However, my relief was momentary because the next minute another thought popped into my head, what if that had been yaum al- qiyama?
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to you or any other actual persons is an indication that you all need to go and get a valid driver’s licence.