By Issa Babatunde Ahmed
Lagos can be one of the world’s central business district (CBD) but as the economic and business hub of Nigeria it lacks the essentials of a world central business district. Eko is garnished with all the attributes of a megacity, from Lagoons, Coasts to its Sea harbours, which serves as the channel for Export and import with Airports that operates both local and international routes.
The Island part of the old capital territory like other considerable cities around the world has buildings with special industrial, political, religious significance and the Idumota market, extensive environmental deterioration and traffic congestion while the main land part also share similar traits accommodating its two airports and the famous Oshodi and Yaba markets.
Lagos is an over rated part of one of the most populous nation in the world, the city itself is over crowded with a population of over 20 million from many ethnic groups despite being the smallest state in Nigeria. Many are stucked in the city and not wanting to return to their previous locations after being hit by reality, realizing they painted a false picture with many assumptions of finding it easy and making a lot of money to send back home.
Just like many think they will find it easy travelling abroad, many are in lagos with same sentiment even though the land is with many opportunities; the stress, bottlenecks, hooliganism, extortion can create life and business cripple. From the man in a black uniform to the one who beats the conductors for not paying dues, one begins to wonder why the state has made some touts rich by standing at the parks and every bus stop just by screaming, tormenting and threatening motorists.
Have you ever asked yourself where the money the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers collects goes or seen any project from them? Well we know they make a lot of money from the lifestyle of their bosses who lavish the money on fuji artists, Well that’s the myth for another day even though they have made life tough for commuters with the cost of transportation.
The city of many millionaires is dominated by the Yorubas but a home for all, a centre of excellence, a centre of all traffic jam with many slums, impassable roads, the mainland is choked and grubby and the island where the best of the elites see as their own is flooded with little drops from the sky but they keep filling the water to make an island but can’t get proper drainage.
Lagos doesn’t sleep but not really for the appropriate reasons as many residence spend most of their day on the road, many are awake as early as 3:00 am to head for work and don’t return home till past 12:00 am even though most close at work by 5:00 pm but can’t find their way home until late hours, the roads are death traps from potholes to boreholes (depth), they are deteriorating.
As one of the world most tedious place to stay, it is beginning to reflect in the lifestyles of many who stay in Lagos as they are angered easily, exhausted, anxious, slowing down people’s productivity with many traits of depression which has increased the rate of suicide in the city.
Why are we seeing so much money spent on transportation and infrastructure but not seeing improvements in traffic congestion? Why do we see traffic getting worse despite all the solutions rolled out to try to fix it? When the state loses $30.5 million monthly due to traffic with the county’s wharf in the state also losing $19 billion annually.
Issa Babatunde Ahmed is a Public Affairs Analyst.