To live and die in Lagos traffic

To live in Lagos takes artistry. We all know that. To die in Lagos, however, requires nil effort. Yes! It is time for me to get morbid. Living in Lagos is a mind game. We know that too. The art many haven’t mastered is how to avoid premature death in Lagos. Traffic, along with a plethora of other factors, shortens life by proportions unknown. We may not know much about good living but staying motionless for eons in a contraption meant for movement is definitely not the way to live.
When I took the decision to relocate to Lagos from Ibadan, I naturally expected changes in lifestyle. Unbeknown to me, I was to experience deep cultural shock! My lifestyle, living and life all changed! I knew I had to master the art of waking up before the chickens to join frenzied motorists, not in a haste to get to work, but to beat the monster (a monster whose progenitor we know not) called traffic to its game. I never bargained for an eternity of madness. Moving to Lagos meant losing control of my life, contrary to my main aim of migrating to get a life.
Traffic, prohibitive transport fares, abstrusely erratic power supply all stifled my freedom of movement and leisure and ensured that I soon became the typical Lagosian, ever looking for the nearest unfortunate fellow to spit some pent-up venom on. Lagos Roads are quite similar to “face-me-I-face you” compounds-everyone thinks everyone else is crazy, so daily squabbles and general disorder are inevitable.
One thing that every human should master is how to save time. If you do not learn that art in Lagos, even If you live up to 80 years on planet earth, you will realise that you may have spent more than half of your life in traffic. And thus, you would have died prematurely. What other logical conclusion do you want me to reach if I spend nothing less than 4 hours in traffic everyday? Add some hours of sleep and few hours of non-productivity at work and you will just NOTICE how quickly hours and days fly past. Tempus really Figit in Lagos!

Well, that’s the bad news about Lagos. However, since I am one to outwit “life” when it’s about box me into a corner, I wittily and regularly find a way around this monster. No, it’s not okada. That thing kills faster than static traffic and AIDS. It’s the ferry. Work takes me to Lekki everyday so I have to face horrible traffic at Bonny Camp and Ozumba Mbadiwe. So, this is what I do to avoid traffic. I simply jump into a ferry at Ozumba and sail across to Oyinkan Abayomi Drive at Ikoyi. All in less than 3 minutes! Compare that to the two mindless hours I would have spent just moving from Lekki roundabout to Bonny Camp!
From Oyinkan Abayomi, I board a bus to Obalende from where I head to Yaba, sometimes stopping over at E-Centre to catch a breath and a movie before I go on home to enjoy sound sleep albeit in the midst of a choral group of the anopheles species. Meanwhile, my other friends in cars and buses are still sweating their wits out in frustration, cursing at everything and everybody, from the okada-man to the Government. Now, you tell me If my GPS is not more cost-efficient and reliable than the one in your Monster Truck or Benz which can’t guarantee you a quick flight home?
Now, If you are discerning enough, you will know that my solution can only work for those who ply the Island route. What then, is the traffic anathema for those on the mainland and everywhere else where there’s traffic? Simple! Just leave your cars at home!
Among other uses, the car is meant for comfort. Kindly tell me how much comfort one can get while staring motionless into space in a vehicle for a period that seems like forever? Nil! If you are a teeny bit honest with yourself, tell me you don’t envy those who breeze past you everyday on okada?
While I do not recommend okada (certainly no joy-ride) for the faint-hearted, I strongly suggest that the only way around traffic in Lagos is to have fewer vehicles on our roads. I simply cannot understand why more than two cars should leave a household of three at the same time on the same day? We know Nigerians love to show off but weekends are there to do all the showings off you want!
The concept of less is more is truer in Lagos than anywhere else. Garish display of wealth and assets is the problem in the metropolis. I strongly recommend that families should have a roster for driving. Mr. Husband, let Mrs. Wife take your car out on Monday and drop you off at the nearest BRT or danfo stop and hitch a ride back home from the office in the evening. It will be your turn tomorrow! On Sundays, you can each take two cars out If you wish!
As absurd as my traffic formula may sound, it looks to be the only solution available now until those in Ikorodu learn to use the Metro Ferry or until the Rail System is started and completed. Sundays are the sanest days in Lagos and I move around on that day as much as I can. I am convinced beyond doubt that the present administration in the State is working round the clock to find a way to kill the monster so while it’s still out there, let your car stay at home! Stay sane!

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