"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: Re: The Taxi Driver Who Saved Me

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Re: The Taxi Driver Who Saved Me


Reactions to the above article poured and continue to pour in torrents.  I am touched by how powerfully Nigerians identified with my story. Abdulrahman Dauda, the driver who saved me from myself, told me he has been inundated with phone calls since I published the article. This fills me with a lot of joy and hope. Find below a sample of readers’ reactions:

As hopeless as we might be about the Nigerian situation—the perennial larceny of the thieving elites—there are still good Nigerians, honest and dependable people which the Yoruba people call Omoluabi and your encounter has exemplified this. I was shocked to the marrow when I heard of the items you forgot but my shock waned and disappeared completely as I read on the article.

Despite our strains as a nation, our seemingly outright loss of hope occasioned by years of inept leadership and the monumental graft that has made the country an odd one among the comity of nations as well as the pervasive  moral decadence, Abdulrahman's honesty has re-enlivened our hope that there are still good people in this country. Every Nigerian should, however, take a cue from Abdulrahman and live a life of honesty, sincerity and trustworthiness to collectively change the status quo.
Abdullateef Aliyu (
aabdullateef@yahoo.co.uk)

This is a beautiful story. I did a feature story on the airport taxi driver who returned the 18 million naira to a Brit published in the Daily Trust of Friday, August 17, 2012. Mr. Imeh Usua, the Akwa Ibom state born taxi driver, plies his trade at Abuja international airport.
Hamid Yunus, Abuja

Thank you for sharing this inspiring story! Someday I hope to visit Africa and your column lets me know that most Nigerians are as friendly and honest as those I have been privileged to know in the US.
Rick Herder, Assistant professor, Southwestern Minnesota State University, Marshal, USA

Congrats for finding your stuff. This man with little education and money said he won't take what doesn't belong to him. Our fuel subsidy scammers, who have the best education in the world, think otherwise.
Dr. Raji Bello, Abuja

 Is there any reward for good other than good? May Allah bless you for rewarding him.  A similar case happened twice with the same person sometime ago with a staff of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company and on neither occasion was he rewarded.
Mahmud Aboki, Gusau

The taste of pudding is in the eating. You were lucky to eat a palatable pudding; you probably could have eaten a bitter and unpalatable one and the mood of your essay would bear this experience. In spite of self-inflicted rot, decay and degeneration in values, leadership and sense of pride in our nation, you are sure to meet with teeming but unsung Nigerians, North and South, whose tolerance, understanding and integrity provide one with assurances that Nigeria can be great( it's not great now) , given the right environment and right leadership. And this is the fear, a pathological one, that our ruling elite and their cohorts in the so-called private sector have: that ordinary Nigerians are capable of coming together. This reality was playing itself out during the fuel subsidy protest before the political BH was created and given a national outlook. Your experience is a great one that is worth sharing to especially outsiders by those of you in the diaspora. To Abdulrahman and countless others out there eking a miserable living with honesty and integrity, we salute your courage and join to pray that this scalless injustice and deprivation won't continue forever.
Mahmud Zukogi, Bayero University, Kano

I am not sure if you remember, but I am friends with Brenda Adams. We met a couple of times during your time in Louisiana. Over the years, Brenda has shared several of your posts and this is another one that brings tears to my eyes.  For all the bad things we hear about Nigeria, it is so nice to wake up on Saturday and get to read this story. Thanks you so much!
Erin Belsom, Lafayette, LA, USA

 I just finished speaking with [Abdulrahman Dauda] on phone and he was thanking and talking enthusiastically as I was busy commending him for such a superb help he'd done. I'm at least glad Nigeria is now able to redeem its tarnished image both locally and internationally. And I do hope your friends from the States read this comment.
Muhammad El-Bonga Ibraheem, Abuja

Your resolve to celebrate him has made him a celebrity in our eyes and it's praiseworthy! Few minutes after reading the post, I managed to call him. Though his line was busy for some time, we finally talked. From my experience with him, I would say he is respectful, innocent, and calm. Indeed he is one of the lucky and strong few that refuse to become fishes in the artificial lake of corruption, scam and so many contagious crimes that rule in our dear country Nigeria. I pray every good Nigerian gets a chance to prove his goodness. I pray taxi drivers would not be inspired by your fare comparison to increase fares or expect extra pay/reward. I believe they are wise enough to know that the living standard cannot allow so.
Abdulmalik Mustapha Abbamaina, Abuja

Good initiative for giving a personal testimony of the integrity of an ordinary Nigerian.
He's an exemplar of a teeming population of Nigerians who would rather make an honest living than indulge in sharp practices. This belies the bad media that stereotypically labels Nigerians in general terms as roguish. Much as there are many criminally minded Nigerians, there are even many more of our compatriots committed to good conscience and morality. Oftentimes, the bad broods gain the blitz more easily, thereby fostering negative reputation on the average Nigerian. Your experiential account goes some way in showing that the largely bad media image of the Nigerian is really not reflective of the true picture in all ramifications.
Vincent Oyefeso, Abuja

Your experiences with this extraordinarily honest Nigerian deeply touched me and strengthened my conviction that something good can still come out of Nigeria. Another interesting thing is that he does not even consider his action out of ordinary (from your account and speaking with him). I look forward to a Nigeria when people like Mr Dauda will be the majority, when you can deal with a Nigerian with a high measure of trust and that trust will not be misplaced. I rejoice with your good fortune.
Bertrand Chijioke

What a brilliant accolade to selfless honesty, epitomized by the exemplary Abdulrahman Dauda. It is most kind of you to celebrate and proclaim his honesty. It contrasts greatly with the dystopic image of corruption [not without some justification] of some notorious Nigerian elite, which you didn’t fail to point out.

As a young foreigner in Nigeria in the late 90s, I came to embrace the country as my second home, after meeting people like Dauda from every rung in the social fabric of the country. I could juxtapose his honesty with the rapaciousness, debauchery and thievery of top officials; one of whom I had the displeasure of encountering. What goes around comes around; applicable to both you, Farooq, and our hero of the day, Dauda. Thanks for sharing.
Samira Edi, London

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