The Nigerian Roads, Screaming for Urgent Attentions
Roads in Nigeria have truly become what we now refer to as death traps, which cause that typical vehicular and human traffic jam, the type you have never heard or seen all your life. The situation described here is worst in Lagos, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt, Onitsha (Head-Bridge) and Benin City. You can expect much more intense traffic jam even along high-ways, especially the now infamous Benin-Ore Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway etc, anyone who for satisfaction of his curiosity can drive around and take a look at what the people of the country call “Go-slow.” It is this word Go-slow that this article will use to describe this situation.
These Go-slow may sometimes be artificial with no visible cause in sight. You arrested by this hold-up for several hours, sweating and instantly removes your jacket, instead you receive stuffy air much to your discomfort, and as you manage to gradually drive to the beginning of it all, while hoping to find that large object which has blocked the entire road, you discover nothing much to your amazement except maybe a pot-hole. You suddenly discover yourself join others in swearing and cursing which in the end yields, only for you to become hooked up in another Go-slow some few metres away from the previous scene.
Once I was in a commercial bus, driving from Festac Town across the Festac-Amuwo link bridge, after experiencing a stand still for several hours on this road, it was time to drive on, suddenly we noticed that a particular private bus did not make moves like other vehicles now jostling like the heavens was open for self-acclaimed righteous to enter but there was a much more difficult snag, the private bus driver was not driving, surprisingly, the man was noticed resting his head on the steering of bus, while other vehicles maneuvered their ways out of his stationary position and as usually, tongues began to wag, was he dead or strangely had slept off? As it is typical of Nigerians, other passengers began to pray for him, though no one attempted to come down and verify what the problem was with him.
We can at best qualify the kind of Go-slow we find in Lagos as “made in heaven” this kind of Go-slow is not found in anywhere else, in fact, Lagos is the king of Go-slow. Every single available road in Lagos appears to be designed with Go-slow as its major target. No journey which requires plying the Lagos road would take you less than one hour, no matter how short you may consider it. Interestingly, the people of the State plan their daily routine, which requires plying the roads with Go-slow. The more usual excuse to tender upon late arrival to work is go-slow, just mention it and your Boss will readily agree with you, or will narrate his terrible experience to you.
Rather than expand these roads to accommodate more vehicles and allow free flow of vehicles, the Lagos State Government demarcated and further reserved a portion of the road which it named BRT routes, this is a fine idea, but with this portion of usually narrow and congested roads reserved for Lagos Government Buses, the implication is the rest of the other vehicles struggle to utilize what is left for them.
One major reasons the Lagos roads has become home of Go-slow is abandonment by the federal government, the Nigerian Government rather than consider the once capital of the federation as its maintenance priority, the federal government considers all affairs having to do with the State as a matter for the people of the State, yet Lagos State continues to host, accommodate and shelter politicians and their families. Lagos can pass as a State in the country where every politician of high profile have one form of business or the other, yet it State which is the commercial nerve of the country is deliberately stagnated in oblivion.
The long stretch of road, the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, an international route which links the country with Republic of Benin is the worst route anyone can ply. From Mile II down to Okokomaiko, your troubles begin, this narrow road is never free, and most parts of the roads have been taken over by humans who trade. It has been suggested that the best period to ply the route is before 5.00am when you assume every other person still sleeping. Suddenly we heard there were plans to expand the road; suddenly nothing is heard again from the federal government.
Generally, Nigerian roads require urgent attentions, now that Christmas is at hand when we expect quite a lot of persons to travel to their hometowns for the holiday, Nigerians are panicking because they are aware of the level of inconveniences they will encounter on our roads as vehicles are sometimes seen alternatively moving from the road and plying farmlands in villages to beat Go-slow. Benin City has also emerged as one Go-slow den that drivers must avoid if they are to at least arrive home at a reasonable time rather than kill their time in stationary traffic jams. It beats our imagination that the State Government has still not found solutions to this traffic jam problems in the ancient city of Benin.
We know that our government cannot suddenly and magically supply solutions to the road needs in the country especially now that Christmas is at hand but they can do a lot to better the lives of the people who pay taxes, and are naturally entitled to living good lives like their counterparts in other parts of the world, it is for this reason that we call on the various governments of the States of the federation and the federal government to urgently arrest the bad situation of roads in the country to reduce the number of deaths and maiming that occur on our roads as a result of motor accidents by reconstructing, re-planning and expanding these roads.
We have also noticed that in other countries of the world the Police do not stand in the middle of the road while performing their functions, rather these officers are well positioned by road sides where they quietly discharge their duties with the traffic flow unhindered. Street traders have also occupied more than half of our roads, with the remaining half left for vehicles. This must be discouraged. Most times, I wonder why our government cannot procure and manage traffic control lights like it is done in other countries of the world, if this is provided with the Police quietly monitoring the situation, a lot of stress will be saved the traffic warders who must be relaxed while performing their road duties. Until we stick to these, we shall continue to entertain panics before and when on the Nigerian roads. Pray against hypertension.
Beyoncé – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) AFRICAN REMIX!!!
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