The lifestyle of the city’s average cab driver is a hectic one. Due to job schedules and the quest to make good returns, many of them have experienced very interesting and not-so fun events in the course of work.
Meet Chief Vincent Ebohon, the Chairman of Eko Hotel Cab Association, as he gives an insight into the hustle and bustle involved:
How long have you been in the business, sir?
I used to work with the Ministry of information, the CVU (Conference Visiting Unit). This was between 1979 and 1984, after which I left for a consulting company. I did a few menial jobs before I moved to Julius Berger in 1985. I was a foreman there before I was laid off. That was the turning point for me – I took my savings and got my first car, Peugeot 505 and started the private cab business and today I work for top companies like Tom Dean and Associates.
Has the job been able to sustain you and your family?
Nigerians are of the opinion that as a cab man, one must be living in abject poverty with the struggle to make ends meet. But the truth is, it’s a presentable profession for every hardworking young man; to pay his bills, raise and sustain a family. The same way I’ve been able to sustain mine for over 30 years, trained my 4 kids to University level and been a good husband to my wife. So I think I’m a fulfilled man in that aspect.
Do you ever feel unsafe doing this job?
All the time. This is a dangerous job. I remember when I was just two weeks into the business; I picked two guys with their luggage from Iganmu. They seemed really shady and I could tell I was in danger of getting robbed, but I didn’t know what to do. They wanted to go to Victoria Island. We set out for their desired location. Suddenly, they asked me to pull over when they saw that I was approaching a police road block; they jumped out with guns and took off. That is one moment I don’t wish to experience again.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Not much apart from 2 mini accidents I’ve had so far, which were setbacks for me on both occasions.
Have you had any emergency experience?
Well I have had series of emergency experiences but the most memorable one was that of a pregnant woman who gave birth in my car in traffic. On that faithful day, I was taking a client of mine (a pregnant woman) to the airport, she wanted to board a flight to Abuja, on our way she kept complaining of pains and how she felt uncomfortable. She requested I take her to the nearest hospital which I obliged to; we were stuck in Bonny Camp traffic. To cut the long story short, she gave birth in my car before we could get to St. Nicholas Hospital.
What advice do you have for those who might be considering taking on this profession?
The advice I always give to young people, even to my children, is to be sincere and diligent in all they do. That’s the secret to success in this profession.