Back in the day, Nigerians celebrated their posh cars as they rode on beautiful roads. This gave Nkem Nwankwo the inspiration to write the novel My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours.
Now Nigerians celebrate potholes that destroy posh cars. That’s change for you.
From Lagos to Sokoto, and from Maiduguri to Calabar, the roads all over Nigeria are actually a vast network of potholes!
It’s as if the six geo-political zones are in a very hectic struggle to outdo one another in the promotion of potholes.
I was reliably informed that in the Council of States meeting in Abuja, one governor had cause to holler to one of his colleagues thusly: “My potholes are bigger than yours!” Then the other governor replied with a voice of thunder, shouting: “My potholes are so big they can swallow my entire budget plus security vote!”
The “war of the potholes” among the state governors was only settled when all the governors had to concede victory to Federal Might. Who will not concede victory to the federal power when even the talk of the construction of the Second Niger Bridge has turned into a pothole!
The national feast of potholes starts once a foreign investor gets past the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja. It’s as though the potholes on the road of that first entry port of Nigeria are constitutionally empowered to ensure that any visitor to Nigeria must perforce dance to “up-and-down” music as the car wades through hills and valleys, lakes and rocks.
In poetical terms, any visitor who cannot endure the ups and downs of that road is not fit to invest in Nigeria! Talk of putting potholes to nationwide poetic use.
The potholes on the road ensure that any foreign investor coming to Nigeria is made to dance first hand to different versions of Nigerian music such as highlife, juju, fuji, ikwokirikwo, galala, kpalongo, etc. as the car gallops up and down to the jagged beats of the potholes!
The federal regime has since handed over these potholes to the overworked Lagos State government of Ambode. Even so, the potholes are still hard to mend.
The federal pothole industry used to have very bumpy headquarters at Ore on the Benin-Shagamu Expressway. The Ore potholes of those days eventually turned into car-swallowing manholes!
The fact that federal potholes could turn into manholes conclusively proves that federal might is much larger than the puny offerings of the states. People used to sleep on the road for days and nights on end due to the endless traffic logjam which led to one baby actually being given birth to amid the gridlock, and thus earned the name Oreamaka, that is Igbo for “Ore is very good.”
As my buddy, the father of Oreamaka, would say, “Ore road spoil, wetin concern aeroplane for the matter?”
The National Monument of Potholes at Ore is now on a slow-as-snail mend, thanks to the so-called Sukkuk fund. The prayer is that someday Ore-to-Sagamu would lose its unique selling point (USP) as the Unsurpassable Pantheon of Portholes (USP)!
When Ore was Ore, you could be in a traffic jam and plant a banana tree only to pluck the ripe bananas even as the traffic had not moved an inch!
Now that potholes have earned their prime place in history and geography, there is the need to use Lagos State to demonstrate the strategic importance of potholes in the Nigerian scheme of things.
Some gurus of knowledge in the field have argued that potholes on many of the inner city roads and the expressways of Lagos have been specially designed to create traffic gridlock that would enable commuters enough time to stare at the trailers and trucks parked from Apapa Wharf to all the nooks and crannies of Lagos and beyond.
Yes, if the roads are smooth and without potholes, the vehicles would be moving so fast such that the expensive trucks and trailers cannot be properly appreciated.
Also, the potholes help to create the “Go-Slow Supermarkets” where you can buy anything from condoms to rat poison!
The issue of the “Go-Slow Supermarkets” of Lagos requires a big dissertation by professors, not a paltry article by this mere reporter of thisislagos.com!
Be that as it may, without the potholes, how can the Lagos State Ministry of Environment see highway hawkers to arrest into their Black Maria? Potholes are indeed very crucial to putting those expensive Black Marias to use!
Now I have to end this piece on the sad note that I have just been exclusively informed that the bullion van carrying the salaries of all the workers of a state I don’t want to name has been swallowed by a pothole.