Lagos, We Have a Problem!

The bustling metropolis of Lagos, South West Nigeria, home to an estimated 15 million and the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria boasts of one particular phenomenon – traffic. It is estimated (though not officially verified) that there are over 8 million vehicles plying Lagos roads on a daily basis. This huge population, coupled with the fact that the road network is quite limited, make for a frustrating daily experience on Lagos roads in terms of traffic congestion.

Traffic

Kemisola (not her real name) is one of the many followers of the GIDITRAFFIC family. This lady in her early twenties lives with her family in a suburb of Lagos, roughly 25 km from Victoria Island, where she earns a living working an 8-to-5 job at a financial institution. Our correspondent saw her recently waiting for a bus at one of the busiest bus stops in Lagos: CMS – a popular bus stop en route her office. It was 6:45am on a weekday. We asked her how she – a young graduate working her first job – was coping with the early wake-up times, thick traffic and endless activity that is life in Lagos.

“It’s not easy,” Kemisola tells our correspondent, smiling faintly. “But God is helping me. At least I have a job to commute to, even though it’s on the island, and I have to wake up at 4:30am daily because of traffic as I stay on the mainland. I don’t usually get home until 9:30pm or even 10pm because of the same traffic. I wonder how married people are coping o!” she concludes, with a chuckle.

Though this young woman maintains a positive attitude, this does not in any way diminish the effect of such long hours on her stress levels. “Stress – yes o!” Kemisola continues, when our correspondent asked about whether she feels stressed. “I am stressed. But what can I do? Most people like me cannot afford to rent places close to their office, and even if they could, is it expensive house rent they want to spend all their hard-earned cash on? Many people have families and responsibilities. They also would want to enjoy life a bit.”

This brought our correspondent to the point of the quality of life in Lagos. In most quarters it is perceived to be quite low as most people first have to cover their basic bills before thinking about their family responsibilities. The long hours people spend commuting means reduced quality of life, as people spend longer hours earning their living, which in turn means fewer hours at rest or spending time with loved ones. “My parents are always telling me I need to strike a balance between work and my personal life. My mum especially keeps saying that unless I plan to meet my husband in traffic, I need to socialise more on the weekends. But I’m always so tired – all I want to do is sleep throughout the weekend! It is well.”

Many of the city’s residents would share Kemisola’s views. Clearly, time is a very scarce and precious resource to the many residents of Lagos. Successive governments have over the years promised to implement panaceas to alleviate the problem of excessive time spent on the roads. However, the few measures put in place only seem to touch the surface of what has become a major socio-economic problem. Clearly, more needs to be done in this area, especially in the area of enhancing the current infrastructure on ground to meet the ever-growing demand on it resources. There is so much to be gained by making the system much more efficient than its current state. Improved productivity which will in turn translate to higher economic returns, both for individual bread winners and the state; better quality of life which would then translate to improved accessibility around the state and even open up local tourism opportunities – the benefits are immense.

All this though is high-level. Does it mean that regular citizens do not have any part to play? Far from it. The saying goes that little drops of water make a mighty ocean. That being said, the simple acts of observing good behaviour on the roads such as consideration for other road uses and good driving etiquette will go a long way. After all, wouldn’t you like to have a bit more time to do the things you care about and be with the ones you love?

It’s your turn: do you have an interesting experience to share concerning your commute in traffic? Do you have any suggestions about how we can in our own ways help to make the situation more bearable? The GIDITRAFFIC family is waiting to hear from you in the comments!

And if you happen to be wondering just how you can be a part of making our roads a better place for us all – you’ve landed on the right blog! Stay tuned.

About GIDITRAFFIC

Created To Ease Stress By Providing On-The-Go Traffic Updates And Information As Regards General Inquiries. Lending Each Other An Eye. http://www.facebook.com/giditraffic http://www.twitter.com/@gidi_traffic http://gplus.to/giditraffic

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