TRAFFIC
GRIDLOCK IN LAGOS: THE WAY FORWARD

Kenneth is a
banker; he is in the employment of one of the first-generation commercial banks
with branches spread across the length and breadth of the country. The father
of three owns a lovely and comfortable Toyota Highlander (2012 Model) but he
dares not take his car to work because of the horrible traffic and the terrible
roads he must contend with daily.

He stressed,
I cannot afford to drive to work
anymore, the traffic is terrible and traumatic, I have to leave home very early
in the morning and I would still get home very late in the evening, I live in
Gowon Estate, very close to the Ipaja-Ayobo road. My bank’s branch is along the
Allen Avenue axis of Ikeja
“. “The
roads are hellish, and I have decided to stop taking my car to work because the
exhausting routine is gradually taking its toll on my personal health and the general
well-being of my car
.”  He
concluded.

Kenneth is not
alone in his plight; some Lagosian have more horrible tales to tell about what
the negative impact of the incessant traffic snarls in the metropolis have
caused them. An economist, Mr. Kelvin Olalere said the traffic is seriously
affecting business as many people are not able to meet up with appointments,
losing money in the process. He said: “There
was a day I had an appointment in Victoria Island on a contract that was
supposed to fetch me millions of naira, but I missed the chance because of the
heavy traffic. Being someone who has been living in Lagos for the past 27 years
and knowing the traffic, I left my base at Alagbado two hours to the appointment,
but I could not get there until three hours after the scheduled time
“.

Traffic in our
dear state is chaotic to say the least. According to reliable statistics, 40%
of all the vehicles in Nigeria are on Lagos roads. The city’s population is put
at over 18 million people and an average family has a car. Economic experts say
the business community in Lagos loses not less than NGN11 billion monthly to the
daily traffic gridlock in the city. Commuters and motorists describe the
consistent traffic jam on Lagos roads as a setback for business growth.

Speaking with
Daily Trust, another economist, Mr. Wole Sowunmi, said the daily gridlock makes
businessmen lose not less than NGN500 million daily. This translates to about NGN11
billion monthly. According to him, research has shown that the more time people
spend in traffic jams, the more money is lost in business transactions that
they would have made while they were in the traffic. Usually, the heavy traffic
situation in Lagos is felt in all parts of the city virtually throughout the
day. From Shangisha, before the old toll gate down to Ojota through Ikorodu
road to Western Avenue (Funso Williams Avenue) stretching to Lagos Island, the
traffic is always heavy, especially in the morning when people are going to
work and in the evening when returning home.

The same
situation is experienced by commuters and motorists on the Ikorodu to Lagos
Island route, and the Gbagada-Oshodi to Apapa route, as well as the Mile 2 to
Badagry route. No area of Lagos is spared in the nerve-wrecking traffic.

The terrible
experience Lagosian must contend with daily is a sad reminder that the
terrifying state of traffic management in nation’s commercial nerve center is
not getting the desired attention it rightfully deserves. Now, the million-dollar
questions are; how has the state government fared in the provision of motor-able
roads and enabling infrastructural facilities that would aid the seamless
movement of vehicular activities in the historic state? What can we contribute
to the war against the gridlock in most parts of the state as Lagos residents
because we are at the receiving end of this terrible traffic?

If the truth is
to be told, the present government- Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s
administration should be applauded for the visible efforts of his
administration to ensure that there is free flow of traffic through the nooks
and crannies of the cosmopolitan state. However, more still needs to be done,
the government must ensure that traffic gridlock within the metropolis is
reduced to the barest minimum that is if it cannot be completely eradicated. In
subsequent paragraphs, I would be offering some solutions that I hope in my
humble opinion can better the situation.

  • Mass
    re-orientation of road users
    – The federal and state government with the
    co-operation of other stakeholders need to intensify efforts in this regard,
    the importance of mass orientation of commuters, drivers and pedestrians cannot
    be over-emphasized. I am suggesting that symposiums and workshops should be
    held at determined intervals where the importance of good driving manners
    would be itemized and discussed extensively to all the road users.  The constant traffic gridlock in major parts
    of the state can largely be attributed to the lawlessness of some errant road
    users with the collaboration of some corrupt traffic officials that are
    supposed to condone off traffic in such situations. Government at all levels
    should make sure that rancorous driving habits are eschewed by road users with
    the provision of periodic
    training and workshops in interactive forms where a
    segmented part of the populace who be taught how not to behave when behind the
    wheels.
  • Provision of
    adequate traffic facilities
    – The provision of traffic facilities in form of
    road signs, traffic lights, street lights among others is tantamount to the
    free flow of traffic in the state. The present administration should be
    applauded in this regard anyways, but the need to ensure that no stone is left
    upturned is paramount because there is always enough room for improvement and
    the bar can still be raised to unimaginable heights.
  • Provision of
    Alternative Routes
    – This is one of the most important ways to ensure the total
    elimination of traffic congestion on major roads, the provision of alternative
    routes to road users is imperative, the funny fact is that sometimes, all it
    takes to ease off traffic on some major roads is to ensure that those adjoining
    roads are made motor-able. The Ejigbo axis of the Ikotun-Isolo road is a perfect
    example, the Ijegun-Jakande link bridge came handy at the most crucial time and
    the traffic situation in those places has significantly improved.
  • Provision of
    other means of transportation
    – This is another way the government can ensure
    the total elimination of the symbolic traffic lock-down that the wonderful state
    is synonymous with. The Lagos light rail project and the ferry services in some
    part of the state have the potentials to riddoff traffic on the roads if fully implemented.
    I would like to appeal to the state government to ensure that those projects
    are completed and implemented in no time and to ensure that it is made
    accessible and affordable to the average Lagosian without having to pay through
    our noses.

Lastly, the
government’s effort to ensure that the incessant traffic gridlock is defeated
will never be realized if we do not ensure that we play our part to ensure that
the war against horrible traffic is won. By and large, we should all ensure
that the lawlessness and carelessness witnessed on our roads are fought with
all our might.

Our Lagos, Your
Lagos

Olusanya,
Oluwole Sheriff

Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.