ByÂ Mike Ebonugwo & Bose Adebayo
When the rain-drenched gentleman suddenly began to wax poetic some of those around were taken aback as they thought he had lost his mind.
But this was not the case since the man was simply reciting the popular nursery rhyme, Rain, Rain Go Away… to underline his wish that the prevailing downpour would cease to enable him to be on his way. He was one among several people marooned inside the newly constructed bus-stop shelter at Ikotun where they had taken refuge from the rain which after one hour still had not shown any sign of letting up. This was about 7.30am on Friday.
But in a seeming response to the manâ€™s poetic wish, another fellow had said: â€œIf only this your â€˜rain, rain go awayâ€™ song can make this rain to stop, I will gladly join you in singing it. I have been here for the past one and half hours and the rain has been falling as if tomorrow will never come. I just pray it will stop before night comes so that somebody will see road to go home since itâ€™s clear that I will not be able to go where I had planned to go todayâ€.
Obviously in agreement with this sentiment yet another fellow chipped in the suggestion that the rain could be a prelude to another eschatological deluge reminiscent of the Biblical Noah and his famous Ark. â€œHonestly I have never seen this kind of rain for a very long time now.
The way itâ€™s falling person will think that God wants to destroy the world again like He did during the time of Noah. And if you see the kind of flood that has covered everywhere, you will really begin to feel that something like that is about to happen,â€ he said rather apprehensively.
Indeed Lagosians have reason to be afraid after they yet again witnessed another downpour that resulted in many areas being heavily flooded with property worth millions of naira being submerged in the process. As usualÂ most parts of the metropolis were affected by the two days downpour.
The rain, which began on Thursday morning and subsided at about 1p.m on Friday, caused untold hardship as thousands of people were stranded at major bus-stops.
Also, houses and vehicles were destroyed even as many families were displaced with their homes flooded. Areas worse hit were Apapa, Oshodi, Ipaja-Ayobo, Mushin,Â Alapere, Ikate, Lawanson and Surulere, Orile, Ijora, Masamasa and Ikoyi
The rain also led to a heavy traffic in most parts of the state; vehicular movement came to a standstill in many places because of the serious flooding caused by the near collapsed drainage system.
Commuters going to various places of work were stranded as commercial drivers tried to take advantage of the situation.Â Â Only a few commercial motorcyclists plied their trade after the rain subsided at 1p.m on Friday, while thousands of commuters resorted to trekking.
Many people had to remove their shoes to wade through the flood, while commercial vehicle drivers took advantage of the situation to exploit commuters. Most of the roads were also covered by dirts from street gutters.
The rain also led to an increase in transport fares. For instance, a ride from Ketu to Ikorodu which used to cost N150 moved to N300, while Mile two to Oshodi rose to N200 and Mile Two to CMS became N150 instead of the usual N80.
Some commuters who spoke to Vanguard Metro expressed dismay at the serious flooding that resulted from the downpour, calling on both federal and state governments to fix the drainage system of the city.
â€œGovernment is not bothered to see us suffering, that is all I can say for now. For instance, I have been trekking for the past one hour. Donâ€™t you think it will tell on my body by the time I get home? Itâ€™s compulsory that I go to work, that is why I tried to endure all this, if not, I would have remained in my house,â€ said a commuter.
A car owner who spoke with Vanguard Metro blamed the situation on poor drainage. â€œHow many parts of the state can boast of a good drainage system ? This is usually the effect. Can you see how people have been suffering? Car owners cannot move freely while commuters cannot even afford the transport fares. I cannot blame the commercial drivers because they have to meet up with the number of hours they have lost or the fuel they have wasted in the course of the hold up,â€ he said.
A commercial driver also blamed the development on poor drainage: â€œYou see, I loaded from Cele Bus-stop but the whole place was blocked by the time we got to Ijesha. Although I charged only N70 to under bridge, I would have increased the fare if I knew before hand of the situation,â€ he said.
In a seeming case of one manâ€™s curse being another manâ€™s blessing, a commuter said the heavy rain was a blessing in disguise because according tp him: â€œBefore that rain the heat was almost killing somebody because there was no light from NEPA to operate the fan. Thatâ€™s why I thank God that this rain has helped to reduce the heatâ€.