Lasgidi has been known to have one of the worst kind of traffic situations in Nigeria. However, in recent times, it has not been business as usual with the free roads which is what we wish to examine and understand the reason for the free roads and why Lasgidi cannot stay this way forever.
The period leading to the elections were quite busy as the traffic jam was almost on standstill. The rains came and things got worse as some roads experienced flood and Lagosians could only hope that their vehicles did not have to break down inside the water.
Just after the elections, riding to work has been a smooth sail particularly on the Third Mainland bridge- a bridge known to have the most chaotic kind of traffic in Lagos. For some of us, this has meant an increase in the amount of sleep that we get, cutting back on the hours that we need to hit the roads to meet our resumption time. We must say, it has been a really good experience except for the ocassional traffic situation after working hours.
We had a rather intense discussion, psycho-analysing the situation and majority of the people were of the opinion that the Government was responsible for the traffic situations owing to bad roads. Others simply joked about the matter saying that the free road was a feel of the wind of change. But here is what we really think. Many people are out of town at the moment and some others are still home resting from the election panic and waiting to celebrate the aster before they hit the roads again.
Like one of our fathers said to us, “Should the Lagos roads be free, it simply means that the Lagos economy has crumbled”. This is because, the major reason for the traffic situation is the population size of indigenous Lagosians, resident Lagosians and the working Lagosians. By indigenous, we mean those who claim Lagos as their state of origin, the resident Lagosians are those who live in Lagos and work in Lagos and have most of our lives revolving around Lagos though not Lagosians by birth, and the working Lagosians are those of us who live on the outskirts of town, refusing to admit that we do not reside in Lagos but in Ibadan or Ogun state because we travel everyday to Lagos to earn an income.
A trip to Balogun market can begin to give you a picture of the amount of people who are in Lagos and how saturated the city is. This is a mega city. The wall street of Nigeria. The hustle and bustle of Nigeria begins and ends in Lagos. From the markets to the schools to the companies, organisations, embassies, they all exist in Lagos. The advantage for Lagosians is that the influx of other tribes and races has led to the rapid development of the city owing to the fact that all these companies need to make life comfortable for their staff that they plunge in their resources to building the city. The tax collected from the industries is quite huge that I am certain Lagos can do well without the Federal Government allocation and should be offering much more than it is currently offering the people.
Stemming out of the population is the Government angle which is the issue of transportation. When the BRT buses came on board, we were so delighted to take one of those especially the ones that had the air conditions working. Life was blissful really as workers could wear their suit and not feel like they are choked up. Unfortunately, many of those buses have broken down and we are back to the status quo owing to lack of maintenance.
Government still has a huge role to play by making alternative means of transportation that are affordable and timely. They also need to look into the repair of the roads and what is more, begin to think of link roads like taking care of some streets and link them up to the major roads to ease the traffic situation. As for the 3rd mainland bridge, I am not quite certain what can be done but we also need a solution to that.
Let us rub minds together and help Lagos to become better for us all. What do you think can be done about the traffic situation in Lagos?