The Float Truck

The Float Truck

Saturday, July 7, 2018 10:00 am

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

I know that Loud Whispers is very late this week. I sincerely apologise to all my readers who must have kept visiting Above Whispers hoping that something new has been posted. Even though I know you fully understand that I am very busy with the campaign activites, I did promise that I would try and keep writing every week. Last weekend when it was time for me to start thinking about what to write for this Monday, I was under a lot of pressure, attending to so many things and meeting with a whole lot of people. The time I set aside to write was taken up by political associates who needed help with one thing or the other. Three things made me very sad last week, and I did not have the energy to put what I was feeling into words. Scores of innocent people were slaughtered in Plateau State, in what is turning out to be a regular occurrence, and the security apparatus in the country does not seem to be able to get a handle on it, and the dastardly acts continue with impunity. Yet, we are not at war. Yet.

As the nation mourned this tragedy, there was a terrible accident involving a petrol tanker in Lagos, killing an unknown number of people, with many seriously injured and a large number of vehicles destroyed. It was a terrible day, the kind of day that the Yoruba call, ‘Ojo buruku Esu bu omi mu’. It is a saying that is used to describe calamities, but it is not easily translated into English. During a court session (this is a true story) a witness was asked to describe what happened on a particular day and she said, ‘Ha! Ojo buruku Esu bu omi mu’. When the Judge asked for a translation, the court translator said, ‘The Day the Devil Came to Drink Water’! I wrote a poem shortly after using that rather innovative translation. The devil has been drinking a lot of water recently. Again, last week, there was a report that in some schools in Enugu State, girls as young as 14 & 15 are being raped as part of initiation rites into cults. Where do we even begin to unpack this? As I thought about all these events, my head kept getting foggier, so I focused on my campaign duties.

Yesterday July 4th, I started a three-day roadshow through Ekiti State with the APC Women’s Wing. The roadshow was part of a ‘Get out the Vote’ effort for our candidate, my husband, Dr Kayode Fayemi, through voter education and sensitization. I had seen our campaign float truck many times, because it always goes ahead of us on campaign stops, with a DJ and young people on it blaring music and heralding the arrival of the campaign train. I decided that since we were doing a roadshow, it would not make any sense to sit in an air-conditioned vehicle, so got on the float truck, ignoring the alarmed looks on the faces of our security people. One of my aides looked at me as if I was crazy. ‘You want to get on this’? he asked, as if my saying No would make his day. The float truck is old and rickety, but quite strong. I was well aware of the dangers of riding in such a contraption, on some roads which are not particularly smooth, but I was ready to take the risk. I rode on it all day yesterday and today, with other senior women leaders, through many towns and villages, handing out gifts to people, especially old women and reminding them to vote on July 14th. In some parts, the roads were bumpy, so we kept rolling back on forth on the truck, but on the whole, it was a lot of fun. And there was so much dancing! For someone like me who has not been on a treadmill for a while, dancing is a great way to keep fit.

This morning, as we set out for the roadshow, the truck started to give us problems. It broke down just as we were leaving our home town of Isan-Ekiti. It did not help that we had just handed out gifts of rice, semovita, milk, salt and so on to an excited crowd. The trick was to hand out the packages and zoom away, but we could not make a quick get away because the truck couldn’t move! We had no choice but to keep handing out gifts till we ran out. Eventually, the truck was fixed and we took off, reloading some more gift items on the way. We were fine till we got to the last town for the day, which was Ikole-Ekiti. Many women had lined up on the streets waiting for us to arrive. We addressed them and started handing out items. When we were ready to go the truck broke down again! After waiting for over thirty minutes, with the crowd getting bigger, we decided to abandon the truck and get into our vehicles. After a few minutes, my team insisted that I use the open roof of my car to address the huge number of women who were still at the roadside and pass gifts to them. It worked like a charm. My people call me ‘Madam Plan B’, so yes, using the car open roof was a good Plan B!

As I settled back into my car, I felt better than I had been feeling in a while. To me, the float truck symbolizes what life is all about. The experiences we go through, our struggles and triumphs, always serve to make us stronger. The old float truck has seen many lifetimes, but it is still going strong. It is still useful and relevant. Ten minutes after we had all given up on it and got back into our cars, the indefatigable truck roared back into life.

Tomorrow morning, I will get on the float truck again. There are more than ten towns to visit tomorrow. I don’t know if the truck will break down again. I can only hope that it will run smoothly, bumps on the road or not. The same way we need to keep living our lives. Will we get it wrong sometimes? Maybe. Will we fail every now and then? Perhaps. Will we succeed? Hopefully. Do we always need a Plan B? We can’t plan for every single thing. Take a risk. All we can do is get on the truck. You will never know till you have gone for the ride. The devil will always need a cup of water. May we never be around when he is thirsty. Enjoy the rest of the week.

• Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of, an online community for women. She can be reached at [email protected]

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.