Our Lagos – The road of yesterday

The giant of Nigeria, the commercial hub of the nation, with over 20 million residents (approx. 10% of the country’s population) and a reputation for being the most bankable state – with Year on Year (Y.O.Y) internally generated revenues (IGR) mostly higher than its other counterparts, as Lagos State maintained a distant top and recorded the highest IGR of N382.1 billion in 2018, more than twice the IGRs of the two best revenue generating states after it – Rivers State (N112.7bn) and Ogun State (N84.5bn) – combined (NBS, 2018). This should allude to the quality of infrastructure and standards of living in the city. Sadly, this is not the case; Our stark reality is that the Lagos we know is that of a daily continuous struggle to survive – A rat race. Even the most simplistic processes are thwarted by the infrastructural deficit inherent in our city. The bane of this is reflected in the apparent spend on capital expenditures (Capex) vis – a – vis the focus on recurrent expenditures and improving human capital as can be witnessed in other emerging markets (for example Singapore, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong). This spend on Capex has yielded little with respect to maintenance Capex, and this is the crux of the problem the daily middle class faces in Lagos.

Our Roads – My Perspective

The paucity of roads is worrisome, as the lack of quality roads, proper drainage, and most importantly maintenance continue to cause a plethora of issues in the community and state, with road accidents and heavy gridlock as sad consequences of this problem.

I step out of my home and see a street (Sophie Kuye Street) with more than twenty potholes. As I walk outwards and proceed to Bawala  (centered by the Bariga Local Government), I see what I can only describe as a confluence of potholes, each interacting with the tires of cars consistently like a trader in Adaranijo market beckoning me. Overwhelmed, I track back and decide – being optimistic – to see how the road leading to the famous Famous Bustop fairs. The answer is the same, with the jagged structure prevalent at the entrance of the road – when coming from Bariga – and no one has gotten this right since I was in Christ the Redeemers Secondary School (‘11/’12).

I shake my head vigorously in discontent and begin the quest to find a good road. Just one without a blemish. I pass Bawala to link to the road leading to Charley Boy bus stop, Gbagada. I become amazed at the potholes, some of them smiling at me, and others – with mouths agape with incredulity – staring back at me as so to say, “oya near me na”. The sight is disastrous. Even in the so-called Gbagada Estate? Disgusted, I tell myself that “this can’t be possible. I must move inwards Gbagada Phase 1, I must see for myself”. I turn left from Grace Schools, towards Belton Suya Spot and I see wide potholes lying on the road like accident victims. This is the case as I move into Mabinuori Dawodu and Oguntana streets as I try to access the Gbagada expressway. By this time, I am writhing in pain. This is caused by the headache from shaking my head in despair. I tell myself that surely an express way is blameless. I begin my journey from Westes and head towards the third mainland bridge. As I get to the service lane (close to the Gbagada central mosque) I see a natural speed bump created by the jagged road surface, and it affirms my fears – This problem is agnostic. I take the overhead bridge and circle back towards Harvesters Christian Centre, Gbagada and the service lane is in a state of apparent despair. Potholes from inwards Aturanse Estate, to those in UPS, LSDPC turning and even the expressway leading back home (before Westes, as you are moving to the Island).

I ask myself, where else can I go to? Where is without blemish? Is it Bariga, with the horrible state of roads in the popular Bariga market, Odunsin street, and its environs? Or is it Akoka, with the numerous smiling, dancing potholes in university road, opposite MRS filling station? I say no this can’t be! Surely there is one area without blemish! Is it Ikoyi? With the numerous pot – holes and the dilapidated corvette on the popular Ikoyi Club 1938 road? What about that big one around Golden gate (along Falomo, heading towards Victoria Island)? It is just certain that the government does not have her policies with respect to road maintenance right. I still am on the continuous quest to find a road without a blemish in Lagos.

What is the Solution?

Simple. To the government – Kindly do your job, which is to ensure infrastructure is put in place for everyone to achieve a quality of life. The State government has the powers to compel the Local government to act and ensure compliance with respect to road maintenance. This is what you as the government must do! What is the benefit of the Local government to the community? How have they helped our community? What has the Bariga Local Government ever done for us? Nothing. Over 20 years living in Bariga Local Government, all we see is private individuals and concerned citizens helping the communities. The Local government is like a dead dog and the Lagos State government does not seem to care. Fix our roads! Enough is Enough!

By Tamilore Asikhia (tamiloreasikhia@gmail.com)

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