Yesterday evening, I left my office at 8.25pm. I thought the road would be a bit reasonable but I was very wrong. The trailers’ menace which was at Funsho Williams Avenue in the morning extended to Onipanu, blocking the entire highway, leaving other vehicles to squeeze themselves into the service lane and the BRT Lane.
It was such a sorry sight to behold.
Driving down to Ikorodu Road, I saw the worst. Vehicles were at a standstill for upwards of 30 minutes.Trailers, tankers and other heavy trucks took the two lanes of the express from Onipanu and it stretched to Apapa.
Because my sight works somehow, I was thinking of the immediate and remote losses that may accompany such madness. I started counting the number of ambulances trapped in the melee. Over 15 of them. Wailing and begging for space to navigate out of the bumper to fender dead end.
Driving further down to Maryland and Ojota I saw the traffic situation extended up to the Old Toll Gate. Imagine traffic extending from Apapa to Old Toll Gate? A friend told me he spent six hours from Oregun to Surulere.What a life….
Come to think of it, what if inside the over 15 ambulances wailing and crying for space were very sick people in critical conditions needing urgent medical attention?Imagine a woman in labour being rushed to the hospital at that moment?
What if a crisis erupted in the middle of such confusion. Millions would be trapped….
Driving to work this morning, I tuned to the Lagos Traffic Radio to monitor the roads. The report I got was that the articulated vehicles are still on the road, so to avoid Ikorodu Road, I drove straight to Anthony, veer off towards Oshodi, down to Cele, connect the Cele-Ijesha Bridge, drive back again to Itire Bus Stop, link up to the back of Afin Oba Onitire of Itire, and down to Lawanson. From there to Ogulana Drive.
Lagos wahala cant come and kill me……but in truth, any human who gets exposed to this wickedness from poor town planning and official irresponsibility that allows such absurdity would be dying slowly.
The madness that has become Lagos traffic is the new normal. Most of us have resigned to fate, taking it as part of our daily life. But it is killing us by installment. Poor traffic flow contributes to a large extent to Lagos’ reputation as one of the worst places to live on earth. Even with all the glamour and seeming presence of vast business opportunities, Lagosians are dying by installments.
It is in the interest of Lagos and Nigeria that the federal government open up and expand the capacities of other ports in the country in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri among others. The ports at Apapa and Tin Can will be more efficient and viable with alternatives at other cities. Someone I know told me that a container he cleared a week ago and loaded onto a flat bed trailer is yet to leave from Apapa.
Nigeria has 180 million people for God’s sake. We can operate 10 mega ports and all would be at full capacity, yet they wont meet demands. How many human beings are in Singapore?Yet we can’t scratch 10% of shipping activities in that country. In one of my visits, it took me and my guide four hours to drive from one end of the country to another end. Four hours…..
But we are a very narrow minded people. Culturally narrow minded because our cultures project lack, restraints, constraints and incapacitations. That was why our infrastructure were never designed and built with our population expansion in mind. Narrow roads, narrow spaces, no open spaces, tight streets etc etc
Please expand the political and economic space of this country to release millions of Nigerians from the shackles of environmentally induced limitations. Limited thinking, limited opportunities, limited space, limited ambitions, limited mindsets, and limited life. The concept of limitlessness is so foreign Nigerians can’t even imagine such possibility.
“We and them” was inspired by fear induced lack mindset.
I do not know any other place on planet earth that suffers such indignity on a regular basis. That is why I have started reappraising my continued living in Lagos once I hit 50.
For majority of Lagosians, the map of their life is like:
Wake up at 4;30 am.
Spend three hours in traffic on their way to work.
Work from 8;00am till 5:30pm, no Tea Break, no Coffee Break, no Lunch Break.
Close at 6;00pm.
Spend another four hours in traffic.
Get home at 10;00pm.
Wake up at 4:30am.
Then you ask why young men drop dead at 43 with no signs of sickness.
Dying by installment.
This is not living.It is existing.
This is a dogs life.
-Kelechi Deca, a senior journalist wrote from Lagos.