My friend Kay rented an apartment in the Iju area of Lagos. A while ago, he called to say “when will you come visit me, Lucia?”
“Oh, when I am up for a road trip,” I replied.
I laughed, he laughed.
I live around Ajah. Going to Iju from my end is like taking a hike across state boundaries.
This is what Lagos does to us, we are all in the same state but cannot visit each other.
If you live on the mainland, well, stay there. If you are on the Island do same. If you live in Ogun state (a.k.a Lakowe, Badore, Arepo etc) stay there too.
On Mondays, I have to be in Yaba by 10am, so I normally leave my house around 6:30am for a 10am appointment. Yaba from Ajah shouldn’t be that far right, fellow Lagosians? But every Monday I spend 3-4 hours on the road. By the time I get to Yaba I am exhausted and my day is only just starting.
Once I was in a cab, the driver told me how he was working in VI while living in Ikorodu because housing there is cheaper. He told me how he usually got home around midnightevery day and he was out as early as 4am. He said one day when his wife woke him up to get ready for work he burst into tears, that was the week he resigned, took a less paying job somewhere close by and began to drive cabs to supplement his income.
Apart from work bringing people out of their homes, Lagosians tend to stay in their corner of Lagos even on weekends. Why? Our transportation system and road network is so bad so that going from one end of the state to another end is akin to travelling. Why should I spend 3 to 4 hours going from Ajah to Yaba? Why should one leave their office by 6pm and get home by 11pm? Inside the same Lagos, why? People were angry but not very many realize that the pathetic state of Lagos road networks and transport system is why Ambode had to shut down parts of the state for Buhari’s visit.
Living in one end of Lagos, and working at the other end is just you torturing yourself. People will say you should live close to your work, okay, can we afford the luxury homes sprouting in office areas? This is a topic for another day. In addition, even if we can afford homes in those highbrow areas, shouldn’t we have friends in other parts of Lagos? Shouldn’t we go for activities in other parts of the same state? Why is it so difficult for Lagos, our dear MEGA CITY, one of Africa’s biggest economy to solve this transportation issue?
The thing with us in Nigeria is how quickly we adapt to bad situations. So for example, if you live in Ogba and work in Lekki you best be leaving your home by 5:00am, else. People leave their homes as early as 4am to beat traffic. It is a pathetic situation. Why can’t we have speed trains? Why can’t the Lekki-Epe expressway be expanded? Why can’t pot holed filled roads be fixed? Why can’t our water ways be safer?
Ambode has come and Ambode will soon go and the roads will still be in the same sorry state. There will be no 4th Mainland bride or railway line. The next government will come and this crazy cyrcle continues. I will be glad if they shame me and my pessimism. Until then, let me rest well and prepare for the traffic next week.
Happy weekend fam!