It took me — and everyone else in the car — about 2 minutes before we figured that out too! If you haven’t, I promise to reveal the fun side of road travel in a few minutes.
The team of three (Dr. Seyi Adebayo-Olubi, Femi Aladejana and I) left for Ile-Ife quite early so we could arrive in time for our 1pm meeting. The discussions for a collaboration between Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and some research centres at the university — to host a planned workshop tagged Research with Industry Relevance — ended at about 3pm and we then started on our way back to Lagos.
The journey went on well until we were about to pull over for late lunch as we entered the ancient city of Ibadan. Just ahead, in that characteristic traffic situation that has bedeviled the road that leads into Ibadan from Ife, the truck was pulling its weight and scaring everyone ahead of it in the jam. While trying to decide if I should follow my impulse to unearth the major headline being paraded by the vendor, we saw the inscription on the truck: Honbe /four Overtake.
How does one read that? “Honbe /four Overtake” read like a strange language until Dr. Seyi said, “Horn before overtake.” Even though that in itself is a terrible way to put the sentence, the truck owner’s message was clear — don’t attempt a fast one from the rear! But the problem is, by the time you probably figure out what the inscription said, you would have disobeyed the instruction. We laughed our way into the parking lot until other scenes played out in that never-boring city of countless brown roofs.
It is not uncommon to see funny messages inscribed on trucks in Nigeria, but some just stand out. I pulled out the camera and thanks to attempts by Dr. Seyi and Femi (and our driver’s cooperation), we got the shot you see above. How about this too: “Oluwa lo ni emi mi, awon sisi lo ni body me” which translates to mean “God owns my soul but my body belongs to the ladies.”
They come in various shades of laughter-provoking expression — from the outright language error to the type you can only laugh about alone — but whatever you do, please make sure that when driving, you “Honbe /four Overtake.”