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Opinions of Friday, 14 February 2020

Columnist: MyNigeria

A Near-Death experience: The deadly encounters of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway

Otedola bridge (traffic) Otedola bridge (traffic)

If you drive by the Lagos-Ibadan expressway today, especially the Berger- Kara axis by say 9am today, you would heave a sigh of relief and thank God for his many blessings. But don't be too happy, when the east wind breezes by evening. If you made a mistake of driving with your car to say OPIC or Prayer city and you intend to return to your valentine's dinner by evening, just forget it.

You may never get there until the 15th.

Yesterday, the Berger- Kara axis was horrible. No, it was the end of the world. We were battling traffic that began on Wednesday and extended till the daylight of Thursday. Personally, I have never seen anything like it before and the moment I got to Berger bus-stop and saw Otedola blocked, I knew this was the end.

I stood for 10 minutes contemplating the obvious, whether to bike it or take the bus. The obvious was the answer- bike. Again, I contemplated the risk. The risk of things going wrong- my limbs or arms getting spread across the road. The many warnings of my mum and the fact that I still had a great future the world needed to behold.

Then I looked at the construction workers and hurled insults at them in my heart. It was sad, only sad that the Government felt January was the best time to expand a highway that was utilized by more than half of Nigeria's population on a per-second basis. Like who does road construction in February when there was December with fewer people swarming Lagos roads? With no alternative routes? It was not a matter of the FRSC travel advisory of accessing other routes. What am I looking for in Sagamu expressway if my destination is Magboro or Asese?

I took a bike and the rip off began. They wanted N300, no N400 and the haggling began. Someone agreed to take me for N200 and on the way, he changed his mind to N300. Trust me, I said no. Never! Not going to happen.

The bike guy obviously had nine lives to spare and I wished he could dash me one with the way he navigated the tiny road that was created for us to pass like he was God himself. He went in between two trucks and almost spilled my intestines on the long bridge. Honestly, I saw my body in the water and my spirit clutching it back.

After that, he tried to kill me by almost colliding with a bike on two occasions. I began to think it was a rather deliberate attempt to seek my life- now that he already charged me N300. When we got to OPIC, I saw the cause of the traffic- trailers of course and no traffic wardens. It was quite sad to see Nigerians trekking and stranded with exorbitant fees to their destinations.

My bike man loved overtaking from the side and by the time we neared Arepo I began to prepare my testimony. In the end, I paid him N250 and that was because he lied. He lied because he saw N500 in my hand. So we stuck with N250 after the N200 bargain- his argument was that he took only me and we should have been two on that scary bike.

Today, I said to myself never again.

But it’s not going to work I fear, it is returning. It's officially true that this Government is taking us for a joke. If till date, they did not envisage a road expansion while the long bride was being constructed or common sense did not tell them they needed to develop a second and third bridge connecting Ogun to Lagos in 2020, then I don’t know what to say again. Arms shrugged.

Sogunro was right- Everything in Nigeria will kill you. Including traffic and lack of sense. Kukah is better, don’t ever die for this Government and APC. The worst decision you can ever make.