I am angry, very angry. I am angry because many of us in this part of the world seem to live in pretence and self denial. We claim that all is well yet cry deep down. We don’t want to complain so as not to labeled rebels. The late Afro beat maestro Fela Anikulapo Kuti called this form of attitude, ‘Suffering and Smiling.’ I am disturbed because many of those we elected to make decisions that would enhance our welfare are doing the contrary. I am perturbed because thousands of workers that live in Ikorodu go through excruciating pains each morning to get to their offices. It is saddening because of the level of discomfort they have to endure each morning as they hit the roads.
For them, leaving home each morning, sometimes as early as 4am has become a sort of nightmare they have to live with. Same also coming back home at the end of the day. A journey that ordinarily should not last more than an hour stretches to five hours or even more, due to bad portions of the road at Mile 12, all the way to Ojota. It is disheartening that this portion has remained unattended to despite the daily cry of hundreds of thousands of commuters that ply that route each day. Sometimes one wonders if our political office holders live on another planet. If not so, I believe they must have close associates and family members who must also be suffering the daily discomfort that goes with plying that ‘notorious’ route. Even then, one expects the LASTMA and Police officials that are operating at that axis to be able to update their bosses of the deplorable status of the road for possible rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, it seems the task of checkmating our elected officials has been left for the media alone. Every citizen has a responsibility to request for better deal from our leaders. There must be practical ways of holding our public officers accountable. Unfortunately, many of us are so busy to spare just one hour to make a visit to the relevant offices. We must begin to make them understand how we feel and challenge them to action. Our Local Government Chairmen must begin to feel the pulse of their people, understand their peculiar needs and engage them in meaningful dialogue. That is a way of deepening democracy. For sake of emphases, the daily gridlock along the Ikorodu axis of the state should be viewed as a national embarrassment considering the high volume of traffic recorded at that axis on daily basis and the losses in revenue it breeds. If you are doubtful, please go on a ride and experience it first hand. Driving from Ikorodu to mile 12 on a Monday morning or any other day of the week is indeed a harrowing experience to say the least. Interestingly, the solution lies in rehabilitating a small portion between Mile 12, Ketu and Ojota. The taunting aspect of it is that some the LASTMA and Task force officials are always on the prowl waiting to pounce on any driver that dares to maneuver through the tempting BRT corridor.
While I do not support the illegal usage of the BRT lane by unauthorized persons, the scenario of seeing a vast empty road amidst an excruciating gridlock when you are late for an important appointment could be very alluring indeed. I have once overheard someone quip that some of the traffic officials on duty prefer the chaotic situations because it gives them ample opportunities to effect more arrests which equals to more revenue for themselves and the government. I don’t want to ascribe to it. A colleague who stays along the Ipakodo axis of Ogoronto told me that the once boisterous road that serve as a link to the major express has now collapsed. Consequently those coming from Ibeshe, Igbogbo-Bayeku and environs are now forced to make detours to Ikorodu roundabout, thereby compounding the already traumatic traffic situation that the area is noted for. Are the residents of these areas not tax payers? Do they have Local Governments at all to look after their welfare? Same thing applies to those living along Igbogbo, Oreta and Offin areas of Ikorodu. The roads are sheer disasters. The story has been like this for years. My final take on all of these is that the situation is getting critical. This is an urgent appeal to our amiable Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to prevail on the relevant agency in the state to urgently look into the plights of not only Ikorodu residents, but all parts of Lagos as far as road maintenance is concerned. I remember he flagged off campaign for the total overhaul of all roads in the state before the advent of COVID-19. Lots have been done, no doubt; but there is still much more to be done.