Lagos Traffic And The Rest Of Us
Lagos since time immemorial has been adulated with many highfalutin refrains and aliases. Some of them include but not limited to the following: Center for Excellence, Eko for Show, Eko Ekaette, Eko Oni baje and what have you, always come to mind. Funny enough, most of these choice praise refrains are the children of politicians who ended up occupying the most important seat of power in the economic nerve-center of Nigeria as either military administrators or elected civilian governors.
Lagosians as the inhabitants of Lagos are known throughout Nigeria, have a way of causing other Nigerians envy them albeit, admiring their resilience and productivity. An average Lagosian’s ability to walk through the Valley of the shadow of Death and still go to sleep and wake up with the determination to go one extra mile in their quest to break even with poverty has endeared Lagosians to Nigerians from all walks of life. It is said that if you have never been to Lagos, you are not a complete Nigerian. This is so, knowing that what New York is to the United States of America and her citizens is what Lagos is to Nigerians. It is a place of high-interest local and international melting point for business and social life. Even the way the two most important religions are catching up in showing class in their modus operandi is a testimony to the quest of Lagos to achieve a complete mega city status. The new on-going light rail project is one of the clear proofs to that.
In my last visit to Lagos Island, because of the perennial traffic combustion on Outer Marina Road that goes into Victoria Island, I had used the services of a commercial motorcyclist to beat this traffic gridlock that has denied the men and women of LASTMA the joy of completion from their therapy over the years on this particular problem. But on my last visit to Lagos in the month of February, I couldn’t find an okada man to give me this same service. Of course I know the reason. My concern before I embarked on my journey to Lagos was what the traffic would look like considering the fact that more car owners would have come out to drive themselves when we know that this throws up more challenges to both the LASTMA officers and other road users who feel they drive better than these ‘I can drive myself’’ drivers. To my surprise, the traffic keeps crawling at a bearable pace that within thirty minutes, I found myself at Eko Hotel Roundabout. This same journey used to take about one and half hours to complete.
Without the recklessness of okada commercial motorcyclists on Lagos roads, I realized that car owners are now becoming more reckless as they do not now have to worry about arrows of unnecessary wastes to lives that okada used to be. Now, human beings who use the thoroughfare without first negotiating the distance between them and on-coming cars on both sides of the road have become the next threat to road users in their cars.
This is why the onus still falls on every car driver in Lagos to be conscious of the folly of pedestrians who don’t know the need for the pedestrian bridges that dot the landscape of Lagos highways and roads. Your worry-cap should not yet be dropped now that okada commercial motorcyclists are no more a source of concern to you. The majority of Lagosians is not car owners and therefore uses their God-given means of transportation to move around as they go after their businesses. Remember that the sunshine in Lagos State is as hot as hell and for a man or woman to walk under it and still think straight, and be conscious of the great difference between an automobile and human bones, it takes the grace of God. Allow yourself do the worrying to avoid sending a Nigerian to Igbobi National Orthopedic Hospital or worse still, send a Nigerian to the world of great beyond.