You Won’t Believe This!

by Opeyemi Ajayi

Lagos, Nigeria is a very funny place to live in. When we discuss about the craziness of Lagos, those who never experienced it think we are exaggerating.

Lagos has a total population of 15m people. 7 out of every 10 graduate across Nigeria intend to reside in Lagos.

As of today, there are 75,000 unregulated commercial transport vehicles in Lagos, the most popular is called, “Molue”. They are big buses that you jump to enter and jump to come down again. The drivers hardly waste time, they are always on the move, and passengers are always extra ready to rush in or rush out.

12m Lagosians ply the public transport service in Lagos. 10m out of these people move around through Molue. Others move either through their own personal vehicles, hire taxis or better still through Okada’s. The main problem is that the buses are not regulated, they hardly follow road codes. The conductors are abusive; the buses are dirty and old. Sometimes you even pay while standing up in a moving bus. However, Lagosians are enjoying themselves. Late Afro beat maestro once said “we are suffering and smiling”. Lagosians don’t complain, we are used to the process.

Few weeks ago, the government of Lagos came up with a brand new transport policy called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

One thing about transportation in Lagos is that, there is no alternative for the common man. Okada’s are more expensive, hiring a taxi is not an option for the common man; however the big boys on V.I. hire helicopters around. No train as we see in developed nations with such population. Another thing about Lagos is the fact that, everything is available for those ready to pay, no free lunch in Lagos, every thing goes with financial obligation.

The new transport idea in Lagos is very excellent, it raised my hope again that things can work when we make them work, this is not a failed nation after all, I’m glad I’m a Nigerian!

The government in collaboration with some banks and entrepreneurs brought in 126 brand new mega buses for Lagosians, the buses move from Mile12 to CMS, Mushin to CMS and vice versa. Roads have been demarcated for the new buses alone, private car owners don’t struggle the roads with the new buses. They are called BRT lane, as a public transport policy.

According to reports, Lagos branch of NURTW employed 600 people to man the buses while the government has also employed 400 traffic control & enforcement officers to enforce compliance with the new lanes.

Unlike the normal Molue that we are used to, the drivers and conductors are well dressed, well cultured, neat and different from our Molue drivers.

What surprised me most is that Lagosians now queue up for buses! At every BRT bus stop, people queue to enter the buses. One bus is expected to be at every BRT bus stop every 5 minutes, and they are on the road from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This is a brilliant idea in Nigeria, which means we now have people who can think and solve problems at the helm of affairs, things are getting better here.

The fear so far is the ability to sustain the project. For those with this fear the government of Lagos explained that it is a project financed by banks, powered by entrepreneurs, no kobo of government is involved in the project, they only provided enabling environment for the success of the project.

Kudos to the government of Lagos State, we appreciate their effort.

Quite a number of other states have also embarked on projects that is making the society a better place to live in, no more holidays here, things are happening, Nigeria is getting better for those who have eyes though there are still millions of gallons of oceans to cross. A recent visit to some states in Nigeria showed that the government is no longer sleeping but for those who are not doing things that will develop the country, God will judge them.

Transportation in Lagos is another example of the business opportunity in Nigeria for those interested in investing in Nigeria, this is a blessed nation.

Opportunities abound in Nigeria for those interested to invest, Nigeria is a goldmine for those who can see it, the natural resources are not being explored yet, the intellectual resource is second to none.

Those entrepreneurs came up with new buses within Lagos; they will recoup their investment in less than 24 months according to the business plan. You can come up with rail transportation in Lagos or any other big city in Nigeria, the market is there.

I’m proud to announce that I’m a Nigerian because things are getting better here.

Nigeria will very soon become the most powerful nation on earth.

God bless you!

God bless Nigeria!

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muyiwa oyedemi April 3, 2008 - 12:57 pm

Great article.I’m glad that there is a national awakening. Nigerians are now more aware than ever to solve the problems they are facing. I am on that train of revolution and to everybody, I’d like to say “talk is not the only thing that is cheap, criticism is also non-expensive”. Let us all be solution providers in our respective fields of endeavour.

Reply April 2, 2008 - 2:20 pm

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic this is almost too good to be true. We will wait and see.

Shemeta Jones Abolarinwa April 2, 2008 - 2:01 pm

Good Article but talk is cheap. Let wait and see results in years to come. The problem we have in Nigeria is a poor maintenance culture. Something brand new comes up but maintaining it is always a problem. Let us wait and see if the goverment substains this new transportation. We will be lucky if it can be substained for at least two years.

ADEBAYO April 2, 2008 - 12:49 pm

I am glad to see the lively optimism you have shown in writing- I trust this is the story in LAG- I am hopeful that verily things will turn around and some things are turning around, as democracy essentially is trying to get a good hold thorough the land courts.


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