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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 January 2020


Putting the cart before the horse

Image of motorcycles in traffic Image of motorcycles in traffic

I consider myself lucky. Lucky to have a bike at my door- five, six of them jostle to carry me daily and a dozen by night. It's just N50 but it means a lot to them. Some drive very fast with reckless abandon just to make a good race to and Fro. All for the mulla.

So when Lagos State decided to ban bikes and tricycles yesterday ahead of February 1st; I began to imagine all the things that could extra-ordinarily go wrong.

You know most of the Hausas that take you on rides in your neighborhood and on the highways don't speak English shey? And they are not Normal- they ride so fast. Imagine what would happen when an army of expatriate riders who came to Lagos to hustle via road transport are dismembered at the head?

A revolution right?

Who better to lead a revolution other than northerners who are not scared to die? Don't get me wrong, we are not riding a tribal narrative- we are riding the unemployment narrative here. As countless as the bikes and Keke's are of this Lagos, they are the only things that keep us sane.

At my last workplace in Opebi, Friday was an eyesore. Biking all the way from Berger to Opebi was what kept me. Biking and entering Keke. So imagine what could go wrong on February 1st?

It's quite sad that in this part of the World, we think unidirectionally. We don't consider the pros and cons. It is worse that OPay and Gokada will not be seen on the streets as well.

While the solutions are simple, the Lagos State Government has failed to do it's part well. For the better part of it, Lagos is a megacity without 24 hours electricity, rail and pipe-borne water or even good schools.

It wouldn't be wrong to blame the Action Congress and All Progressive Congress for their ideological idiocy that has not succeeded in scraping dividends talkless of benefits of democracy.

In all of these, bikes and Keke's are the cause of traffic and a few accidents. But these are little excesses that a thriving system can solve. Like a LASTMA official not asking bribes or a police officer tasking bikes. You don't throw the baby and bathwater away or put the cart before the horse.

Lagos State's decision to take Keke's and bikes out of business might be APC's Achilles heel or their own albatross.

What's worse are the likes of Max, OPay and Gokada who delved into the Lagos overpopulation problem to create a way out of the traffic mess. Someone said the reason why Lagos is held down by traffic is because people are completely inconsiderate.

In all honesty, that is truth. Inconsideration is jumping traffic lights and obstruction of free flow of traffic plus lack of patience. If nothing will, traffic and high blood pressure will kill in you in Lagos and while bikes have found a way to charge us highly for their risk, LagBuses cannot save us from the impending risk of bad driving, extortion, roadside bribery or vehicles pervading every street.

What's worse is that the State Governor went to River Thames to understudy their ferry. He took a train there but there is no available metro facility that can take one about town in time.

I feel bad for Max, Opera and Gokada. Should we say Lagos failed you too? Or our Government just doesn't know what to do?