By John Egbokhan
Governor Babatunde Fashola is attempting to build a train rail in the Badagry to Mile 11 axis of Lagos. The federal government is also attempting to revive the moribund train network in the country. But all these attempts are still works in the pipeline and Nigerians are skeptical that they will come to reality before their administrations run out of their time.
In a densely populated city like Lagos, where traffic snarls can make someone to miss a job appointment or business deal, the importance of train cannot be overstated.
Here in Dubai, they have gone a step ahead of the usual train plan that Nigeria is still planning to get. They use what they call underground metro, which is an unmanned train that spins around the bustling city that does not sleep.
The other day when we were trying to rush up to watch the Eaglets games against Iraq at the Rashid Stadium, we had to use the metro because taxis were hard to find. The return ticket cost 7 dirans per person. Once inside the metro, my friend from Sporting Life, Tunde, who resides in Owerri, was awestruck with the wonder of the ride, that he shouted aloud if we had reached our stop.
You would not blame him because it was his first time riding in a train, no metro and when he asked an Indian, where the driver of the train was, he was told it was unmanned, making him to stay speechless, wondering why his dear country was yet to take a cue from Dubai.
Cold in the desert
We are in the desert.
The United Arab Emirates is in the Arabian desert, which is naturally hot all day. But surprisingly, only the outside is hot. Once you are inside a mall, hotel or anywhere that has a roof, you would not know that you are in the desert. It is so cold in the rooms or cabs. A lot of noise is being made about Qatar, a neighboring country to UAE over the suitability of the weather conditions to host the 2022 World Cup. Our Group Sports Editor and my oga at the top, Onochie Anibeze, who has traveled to different parts of the world, insists that those raising hell over Qatar’s weather are not being sincere but merely playing the hate game after losing the hosting bid and after making a stopover in Doha, since I took Qatar Airways here, I can’t help but agree totally with the coach.
At the airport in Doha, I was amazed with what I saw. In short, we are yet to start. Due to what I read online, I was expecting to be greeted with an inclement hot weather in Doha, but when I got there, everywhere was cold. Even though we are in the desert, these people have perfected their acts to ensure that the air -conditioning system, which is not visible, was working perfectly, sending cold into the system. Qatar say they will make the stadium to be cool for footballers and fans and I bet you they will fulfill their pledge.
And in Dubai, the same is the situation. From the taxis to the malls to the hotels to anywhere with a roof, cold is the game.
The other day in our Al Massa Hotel abode, we were so taken aback with the cold conditions in the corridor that we all had to run for our dear lives into our rooms. Once in, we were further confronted with freezing cold conditions, which ordinarily in Nigeria, should be celebrated because of our hot weather but Aniette of the Pilot, was so shaken that he quickly put off the airconditioning switch.
I did not blame him because at that time, I had taken refuge under the blanket and when Aniette later told me to follow him downstairs, I bluntly refused, telling him that the cold in the corridors was ten times much that the one in the room. He had to stay back.