The just-concluded holiday season accorded me the opportunity to travel to spend some quality time with family. I am very big on creating fond memories with loved ones. Although the time shared with family was pleasant, I experienced an unpleasant journey on Nigerian roads
Seriously, traveling on Nigerian roads is sickening, especially our expressways. You question if the government exists or if we are just a bunch of uncaring souls seeking the good of ourselves rather than the good of the community.
Journeying from the FCT to the ancient city years ago was a delight. The journey then on an average would total about 6 hours devoid of terrible traffic jams and potholes.
Fast-forward to 2018, the expressway from the southern region leading to the nation’s capital is riddled with massive potholes, trailers in their numbers, earth roads and uneven dualization.
In other developing countries, the safety of road users is taken closely into consideration. Whereas the safety of lives and convenience of travelers on Nigerian roads have since taken the back bench.
As we ply these roads, some of us have to engage in prayer sessions before embarking on the journey as fear overwhelms us. Due to existing uncertainties in line with security and more, we have no other choice than to call on the “Nigerian God” who is always and ever present in our time of Nigerian need. We obviously need him to protect us on our roads, because we don’t trust our own Ministry of Works and road makers in providing a decent road infrastructure.
We are all religious in Nigeria whenever we speak about “basic infrastructure.” Nevertheless, we soldier on to our destination, bearing the pains in our minds with our lips parting with the words “E go better, Naija.” Upon a successful arrival at your destination, our family and friends are quick to appreciate the Nigeria God again for granting you journey mercies. In their words “Eya, thank God for journey mercies.”
I can’t remember any of my friends singing, “Thank God for journey mercies,” while I spent some time in the western world. They were only eager to engage in conversations relaying your experience. Road trips overseas are enjoyable and not a bore. One can sleep without fear or engage in anointing bouts before embarking on a journey.
Our English counterparts enjoy a bus termed “the sleeper bus.” The bus is made very comfortable for long journeys. I doubt if 90% of us can boldly travel at night on a 3-hour journey. No guts, right? Most parts of our roads were commissioned without streetlights and road signages.
We sure do need a change in Nigeria!
Most of my friends and colleagues prefer traveling by air, as they deem our roads stressful, unsafe and a death trap. Air traveling in Nigeria is another interesting subject. Let’s be kind to ourselves today by not touching the mathematics. The equation in that sector may just fail us. Air travelers; how market?
For me, air travel shortens my “me and my experience time” as sights on the roads tells me a story. I am able to share in the experiences of communities as I travel through different states in the nation.
In all of this chaos and hopelessness, we are concerned if the norm will remain deathtraps as expressways. We surely do need a change, so road travelling becomes less of a challenge, but rather an enjoyable activity and experience. Things can work with the right structure and system in place.
We hope that the Nigeria of our dreams as it relates to basic infrastructure will come to fruition in no time; a Nigeria where the transport companies will be effectively regulated to observe the tenets of road travel: convenience and overall customer satisfaction. We hope for a Nigeria where families will enjoy traveling together and with the entry of more tourists who are certain of their security.
If you recently engaged on a road trip in Nigeria, please share your experiences in the comments section.
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