Lagos traffic is like a broken arm. You cannot cut it off and you cannot do anything with it if your business does not involve selling to people caught in traffic.
You come home from work every day, tired thinking you have done a full day’s job, but its just the traffic that took up all the energy and enthusiasm in you.
Your kids or nephews come around to hug.
“Mummy mummy, Daddy Daddy, Brother-Sister, Uncle,” but all you see are little ‘urchins’ that have come to take away the last drop of energy in you, with constant questions of “what did you buy for us?”
Well, you must be lucky if you meet these little angels awake when you get home.
Now you are tired, and you have an allergy from all the fumes the ‘motor’ in-front of you threw your way. It is not just catarrh, as you become increasingly dizzy and have to go to the hospital.
Lagos traffic messes with your productivity and at the same time messes with your finances.
This is the typical life of a Lagosian.
BusinessDay research shows that Nigerians lose 75% of weekly working hours to traffic. These are not just figures, as they have real-life implications.
Work-life balance is one way that the Lagos Traffic robs Lagosians. Normally, Lagosians should enjoy a lot of work-life balance if not for the vicious reality of crawling cars and walking bikes. With most jobs typically being of the 9-5 model with little need for overtime, Lagos is normatively supposed to be a place of bliss for workers. But then traffic goes on to take, not one, not two and not three but 75% of weekly working hours?
To make it more explicit, if you have spent 10 years in Lagos, then you probably have spent 3 years of your life on traffic. Mind you there is a difference between being on the road and being in traffic.
“I left Obalende around 7 pm, heading to Yaba, a journey that would normally take an hour tops but I didn’t get home till 12 am,” Chigbo, a regular Lagos commuter said, regrettably.
What would Chigbo have done? Fly? His only route has been slugged and clogged by pedantic traffic and the much he can do, is to see if he can be friends with the next frustrated person.
Ayeni was supposed to deliver a parcel to the Island quickly and return to his family as it was already too late for work. He got stuck on his way from Anthony to the Island, on the Third Mainland Bridge.
What could have been his other option? Do a Mary Go Round and follow the Balogun Bridge? Guess what, there was also traffic on it.
He returned home by1am the next day, to the suspicion of his wife and the snorting of his sleeping children, He probably would have preferred a different reality.
A Twitter User, @Lamiii_ insists on the Friday Night traffic, “that it is curated by the devil.” Well, in defense of the devil, this is a man-made inefficiency which needs a man-made solution. Perhaps the government has a part to play in making or marring the realities of traffic in Lagos?
The Eko Innovation Center just announced a $5m bounty for any social innovator that can proffer a prototype solution that can solve the traffic issue in the country. It’s pretty easy to come up with ideas, isn’t it? Let’s see how big cities managed congestion.
There is only little that technology can do in this situation.
New York found a way to encourage New Yorkers to move to the outskirts of the city, to decongest the main flashpoints. Having structural plans to connect Ogun, Ibadan to Lagos would mean that a lot of Lagosians move down there, alongside their companies.
However, the problem may be political will. Most governors have a clash of interest because increasing Internally Generated Revenues and decongestion are negatively related. They often chose one, not usually in the interest of their people.
Another of the plausible solution that political will may hinder is to actively encourage the use of other Ports in the country like the Onne Ports. Lagos is a business hub made possible by the presence of Ports for imports and clearing of goods. Possibly, half of the traffic in Lagos has one or two to do with the haulage sub-sector, re-Dangote trucks, and trailers.
If Lagos is keeping it a 100%, then the yellow-bus city needs an overhaul, else the ever-growing economic hub of Nigeria would come to a standstill.
It is already happening, as a Twitter User, Jummy confessed to spending five hours on the Third Mainland Bridge. This was under a video posted by another Twitter user, Ebube Henry, narrating what he termed as the “worst traffic in the history of traffics in Lagos.”
There have been Lagos traffic jams where people ‘sleep’ on the road. If Henry’s statement is not an exaggeration, then it is enough reason to declare a state of emergency on the traffic situation in Lagos.