We have recently been living through unquestionably hard times in Lagos. In fact, it has nothing to do with the Nigerian economy or pervading problems of poverty. It has a lot to do with a problem that we face regularly in Lagos – traffic jam and flood.
I was recently on my way to the mainland and a destination that would normally cost around N200 cost me N500 because it had rained. The road was inadvertently blocked. Also, transporters were having a field day with fixing independent prices.
Thinking that I had no choice but to pay the fare at their price (I really didn’t have a choice), I boarded the bus expecting to spend over four hours in traffic. If you know Lagos very well, you will know that the higher the fare, the worse the traffic jam.
I spent almost three hours in traffic that day. When we finally got to the tight spot, the cause of all that “go-slow” was one pothole in the middle of the road. Imagine my annoyance when I found out. We had spent hours on the road because of one measly pothole.
All that time wasted could have been avoided if a local government chairman or even those touts who continue to collect tax from transporters decided to fill that hole.
I was very sad.
Unfortunately, this situation is replicated across Lagos. It is even worse in some areas because they have to deal with bad roads made invisible by the flood. Somebody said that as a Lagosian, you have to know when to drive when to use a bike. Also, when to trek and when to stay in your house. I couldn’t agree more.
Lagos requires a state of emergency on our attitude too
The past month and some weeks have demanded that we all just stay at home. There was no point in getting dressed to go anywhere when you would end up spending your prime hours stuck in traffic anyway.
So, as if to answer our prayer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu came out of supposed hiding. He boldly declared a state of emergency on some Lagos roads. Further, he stated that major repairs would be done and efforts to alleviate the bad traffic situation put in place.
Shortly after his declaration, construction trucks and engineers from foreign companies started to appear on major Lagos roads. Another welcome event.
Now, the onus lies on us to make sure this job is done smoothly. and we manage the effects as efficiently as possible.
Areas will be cordoned off. Traffic build-up will be faster and last for longer. And once again, Lagos will become an annoying construction site. But if we behave ourselves, obey traffic rules and avoid vandalising repair materials or other items belonging to the state, this phase will go by smoothly and we can get desired results.
It is not enough to blame the government for not “coming to the aid of the masses“. In fact, the “masses” need to do its part in making sure Eko does not baje as well.
It is probably a good time to declare a state of emergency on our attitude to the state as well. But one battle at a time.
We will get the Lagos we deserve.