By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
Gov Ambode, you used to be bothered. About traffic logjams, about commuters mugged in traffic snarls, about every nuisance. But not anymore . Trucks have occupied Lagos. And you don’t seem perturbed.
Mile 2 has been shut down for three days now. Apapa is occupied. The nuisance has spread towards Oshodi and spilled as far as Ikorodu road. Our roads have become truck parks. You used to be concerned. We had thought you would sort it out when you took on it with determination. But it appears you have abandoned us to the menace.
Your Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials fold their hands and watch. They have joined us in our collective helplessness. And everyday the nuisance grows, their nonchalance increases, our helplessness deepens.
A few days ago I was trapped in the traffic mess . A LASTMA official waved and smiled at me. I waved back out of courtesy. People get retrenched from banks these days and find themselves in all kinds of jobs. I thought he was one of them. He approached with an elaborate smile of familiarity. I took down my window . He put his head into the car.
He didn’t call my name. For a split second I felt I had made a mistake. He could be a robber. I looked for his name tag but my eyes couldn’t see anything. Fortunately , he wasn’t that kind of a wolf. He wanted to know if I was in a hurry. I told him I was.
He offered to get into my car and pilot me, run against oncoming traffic , and get me out of the mess. I thanked him with a frown, and rejected his offer. He felt humiliated. He left and went back to his perch, to observe and isolate the desperate and prey on them.
Governor Ambode, you disorganized refuse collection. I understood your explanation. You wanted to harmonize it. But you didn’t have a well thought-out , feasible alternative. You left Lagos drowning in refuse for months. I noticed you were not as sensitive as you used to be. The heaps and piles were everywhere. Flies and rodents danced on the roads. The government showed neither haste nor anger.
I have lived many years in Lagos. I have seen trucks in Lagos. But I have never seen trucks take up whole roads in vast portions of the state for many months. I have never seen trucks constitute more nuisance at any other time than now. You have to do something drastic. You can’t surrender the center of excellence to trucks and refuse.
Former governor Fashola used to heap the blames for the Apapa mess on the PDP. It has since degenerated. The vice president once flew around Lagos . And hopes rose. It all seemed that a methodical assessment and a definitive solution had come at last. How have all that fizzled out and yielded anything?
Governor Ambode, have you noticed the influx of suicidal Okada riders into Lagos. A locust invasion would have been more bearable. You can’t let Lagos degenerate, my governor. You have done relatively well , you cant mess it up now. You have worked hard. It is painful that your performance is now being tarnished by trucks and refuse.
Governor Ambode, Lagosians are in anguish. You showed responsiveness in the past. You have to roll up your sleeves now and take back the state. You have to sweep away these maniacal Okada riders. And you have to clean up the spillage of trucks into peoples homes and lives. The state is suffocating. The refuse mountains are coming down. But what is left is enough to trigger 100 epidemics every month.
Governor, the people trust you. You cant let them down. This misery is avoidable. Please, do not take Lagosians for granted .
Eko O ni Baje oooo