Being in Abuja for just a few days has made me realise how Lagos has ruined me when it comes to time.
I don’t have to head out of the house three hours before my appointment. I don’t have to wait ceaselessly for Uber that says he is just five minutes away and comes 30minutes later or cancels because he just can’t get to me…
Also, I don’t have to worry that a taxi I just hailed has been taken by another…
The most amazing part of being in Abuja is the traffic situation…Yes, there has been traffic, but nothing compared to the legends we have in Lagos. I realize most of the traffic on Lagos roads aren’t necessarily because the roads are a lot narrower than those in Abuja or that there are necessarily more people in Lagos than Abuja (yes, there are more in Lagos). But Abuja is a better planned city; the roads are massive, and the drivers speed mad.
Lagosians are, many times, the cause of the massive traffic experienced every day. They lack basic knowledge of road signs and many think they can beat the traffic laws without repercussions.
Let me cite a few examples. Along Bush street in Anthony village, there usually is this woman selling boiled corn or boli; (depending on the season), by the side of the road. Drivers usually stop by this woman to buy corn/boli and once they stop on either side of the road; there is immediately a traffic snarl that can go on for the next 200 or more kilometres.
This happens a lot whenever any driver or vehicle stops to buy food along this road.
I have encountered several delays on a stretch that would normally take three minutes. One day, to my utter frustration, I spent 43 minutes on that road.
Why? A man on the opposite side of the road had stopped. He wanted corn. As soon as he parked on the road haggling for boiled corn; a long line of vehicles began piling behind him. A few chose to cut into the oncoming lane to avoid his stationary vehicle and zip back after they passed his car. This, of course, slowed down vehicles on the other side. That was the reason we got delayed for over 40minutes!
When I drew close to the man, I called out;
“Oga, why don’t you move forward, park then come and buy your corn? That way, you won’t cause traffic for others.”
He replied; “Why don’t you mind your own business? Are the others complaining?”
He was right. None of the drivers had stopped to harangue him for causing traffic. Everybody simply maneuvered around him…It seemed like a normal thing.
On another occasion, a driver had stopped on the road to allow his Madam price chicken. When I drew by after being held back in traffic due to their behaviour; I told the driver he was inconsiderate of other road users. The driver came out of his car to tell me he had my ‘type’ at home.
Add Okada riders and Keke riders into the mix, each complicating things by jamming themselves in every available space…Add other roadside hawkers and you get a pretty good picture of why traffic situations in Lagos will continue to be a horror story.
Then consider tanker drivers who love to break down at junctions. Add the container trucks too, who enjoy offloading their 40-feet containers on innocent road users. Then of recent, throw in the bad roads/road rehabilitation; throw in a few reckless pedestrians crossing the express. Now, you have a typical Lagos situation.
Half the time, we are our own problem!