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The Last King Of Lagos Roads.

Like tales the elderly ones told children under moonlight, it found a place in Nigerian folklore. It reign like the king it was. Stuttering daily on Lagos roads, it was a menace to those who detested it and a savior for those who loved it. It belonged to Lagos, Lagos alone. It became an identity for Eko Akete, patrolling its landscape for decades.

It's Molue, the Last King of Lagos Roads!

Growing up on the streets of Lagos, I saw a brief part of its history before its eventual demise. Molue was never for the faint-hearted, never for the lily-livered.

It opened its arms to the poor and embodied their struggles. Molue had a place for everyone – sitting, standing or hanging. It was a monster of a bus, a Mercedes Benz product.

Stories have it that molue came in to town in the early 70s after the popular 'Bolekaja' – another famous wooden commuter transit in the days after the civil war.

From the 70s through to the 80s and 90s until the early part of the new millennium, you will surely know this giant of a bus.

The molue was built for Lagos roads. The yellow giant-size bus with some black stripes, its strength cannot be questioned.  It trotters on the roads with strutting in majesty, minding no other but itself.

It gradually became a part of pop culture; singers sang about it; writers wrote about it. The molue was the set of a popular 90s TV commercial on Gold Circle condom – I sey who get dis rain? I say who get dis condom… for the memories still serve right.

Molue contributed a large part to the Lagos go-slow tale of carefree drivers. But it was a life saver for many; a worthy ally in life's struggle in Lagos…

Molue sef get class: those that sit belong to the upper class, those that stand are of the middle class, and those hanging belong to the other end of the class system. According to Fela, "…49 sitting and 99 standing…"; such was the famed capacity of it.

I have fond memories of the Molue phenomenon. I remember that rainy Sunday afternoon my aunt's prized gold wristwatch was snatched off her wrist during the struggle to board. I remember the day I almost lost a limb while struggling for a place on a molue.

With the dawning reality of a Lagos megacity in which the Molue has no space, its death was imminent – slowly but surely. Enter: the new and modern BRT buses, symbols of the emerging Lagos that turned the back of the masses against the molue.

Very scanty on Lagos roads these days – old, tired and worn out with bruised ego, it fades into extinction and oblivion.

The life inside of a molue maybe a story for another moon night, today is just for the life it lived on the roads of the new megacity, the famed Centre of Excellence for whose story may never be complete without a worthy mention of the Molue.

It came, it saw, it left!

The last King of Lagos Road!


Photo Credit: DAILYTRUST
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