Kemmiiii's Blog

Ajasa’s Tales (5): Only In Nigeria!

Posted on: September 3, 2013

A local travelogue!

Since I came back from my European tour about 3 weeks ago, I’ve been rescheduling a trip to base, Ibadan, for reasons. I have had to make up for my absence to my patients and with my able assistant and colleague, Omodara being indisposed , it is double trouble! Secondly and more importantly, the first weekend, and indeed any weekend nowadays, of any month on Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a nightmare for nuisances in the name of religion. Redeemers start the crises on Fridays, Fire Fire people continue the furor the following Saturday morning! Nasfat unleash their’s irregularly as if to spring surprises! And God is watching patiently from above!
All of a sudden, the Jonathan Government, haven dealt a deadly blow to Babalakin and his Bi-Courtney, announced the turning of the sod of expansion of the 35 year old death trap. I could imagine the kind of traffic to be encountered with a major road work. Not knowing that I was deceiving myself.

I could have continued to play the postponement game but for the stature Chief (Dr) Benjamin Abimbola Adigun, the Baba Ijo of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Oluponna in the State of Osun, who invited me, a fellow Christ Youth Follower to his 80th Birthday Thanksgiving on Saturday, the 20th July 2013. He is a former ED of Agip and a foremost Actuary Guru taking seats on the boards of many Insurance and Finance companies! He deserves to be celebrated and off I went on Friday as advance party!

The weather was bright and reassuring when I left my “shop” only to find it drizzling on getting to Berger bridge. From there on, the rain was getting heavier with attendant increase in traffic. It was not heavy enough to hinder business at ‘kara’, the cattle market, constituting the first bottleneck at the ‘U’ turn. A dangerous spot that has recorded a good number of accidents!

Nothing has changed so far on the long bridge despite the palliative measures seen to be put up to free the bridge of flood. One wonders how come a bridge gets flooded! Does this in itself not mean danger to the strength and longevity of the bridge? With the rain coming down in torrents, the flood was unavoidable especially at the distal 300metres of the bridge. The slow moving 4-lane traffic had to merge into one! Shege! A ruthless malam driving a tanker, for whatever reason could not afford to queue behind the smaller vehicles, waded through the murky flood, splashing and spraying the screens of the lesser machines with impunity! We could only jeer at, abuse and curse the bastard as he sped past leaving many miserable.

Less than 2kilometers from the flood, this time, passing Prayer city, it was all dry and sunny! God is great! As I drove on I was watching out for Julius Berger’s men and earth-moving equipments. None was in sight! Can these people be serious at all? Are they yet to be mobilized despite the pomp and pageantry that attended the turning of the sod? I kept wondering.

To someone who has been on a highway in other climes where human lives are valued, ours are simply death traps! With unruly and crazy drivers, especially of commercial vehicles, speeding as if possessed by some blood thirsty demons, with no road signs nor speed limits nor caution, we are only surviving by the mercy and Grace of the Almighty God. I have been on Ohio Turnpike in the USA several times. Fantastic road that spans 200 miles! On it you can be viewing a 50 miles stretch and yet you are not allowed so speed beyond 70miles per hour(120k/hour) with all measures in place to enforce it. That is where there’s order!

I got to Sagamu intersection starving. Even if I wanted to resist it, that was too much not to pay homage at Ibukun Olu Canteen where hot pounded yam was waiting to be served from their kitchen, where the rhythmic sound of mortar and pestle left no one in doubt of the real thing.
Served with “egusi” soup and ‘ogunfe'(goat meat),It was a delightful meal for the day. A cold bottle of Heineken was just right to step it down and for the road!

Getting back on the expressway, I was still picking the stubborn ‘ogunfe’ strands from my ageing teeth when I saw the moderately decorated arena used for the turning of the sod, adjacent to the Abeokuta-Sagamu fly over. Nigeria and a culture of waste! Some millions of naira must have gone into preparing for the unnecessary, wasteful ceremony! I can understand Commissioning of a road project after completion! What if they don’t complete the project as many others? We are living witnesses to the colossal waste and embezzlement of public fund by Ogunlewe and Anenih through FERMA under Obasanjo, just a few years back, on this same road and the adjoining Sagamu-Benin expressway! It can happen only in Nigeria!

It is worrisome and sickening to learn that this expansion project will cost 168 billion naira, that is 1 billon per kilometer! Haba! This can only happen in Nigeria! The same country where there are 9 aircrafts in the Presidential Fleet and none as national carrier! Compared to the USA, which has the state of Texas alone almost the size of West Africa, and their most powerful president only has 2 planes serving him! It is only in Nigeria, where a half baked, semi illiterate wife(nothing first about her) of a lily-livered president will arrogate so much power to herself and call a whole state governor his son and also has the effrontery to take up arms against a world renowned academic and Nobel Laureate!
More intriguing is the Nigerian Democracy! All over the world, democracy is a game of numbers. It is only in Nigeria where a group of 16 claims victory and supremacy over a group of 19! As that is not enough, a group of 5 also claims Majority in a house of 18 members and brazenly attempted to impeach the Speaker! And of course, they got a raw deal for their impunity! Only here in Nigeria!

I was lost in thought and just driving until I got to Ogere trailer park! Another seat of absurdity! I have been driving on the American Highways in the last 16 years, I have not seen a single trailer park or rest area where there’s disorderliness! I ‘ve also been to other parts of the world and had a good feel of their highways too! It is only in Nigeria where parks are provided and trailer drivers arrogantly and flagrantly refuse to make use of the packs and the law enforcers are helpless!

The staggering cost of this project, I believe, must have been tagged to the exigency of the expansion this all important route that provides the link between Lagos and the hinterland and not the actual or a justifiable deal. I hope the cost includes putting in place measures to control the nuisances constituted by religious bodies and lawless trailer parks especially in Ogun state axis. This is the only way the road live up to being called an expressway which it was way back in the eighties.

These and other thoughts got me sick and tired as I drove on. I stopped to buy corn, a delicacy I cherish on such trips but could hardly eat as I ruminated over the type of country we’re in, the type of people we are and the level of injustice pervading the horizon unchallenged!
Are we going to continue like this? Wole Soyinka has lashed out again that the man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice!

At the Ibadan end of the highway, nothing spoke of the presence of RCC, the second contractor handling the Sagamu-Ibadan half of the highway, a firm known for ineptitude as demonstrated by the shoddy job it has been doing for ages on the second half of the dualisation of Ife-Ibadan road! ‘Ooni of the source’ is watching and I wonder whether the Olubuse has an atom of conscience seeing a company in which he has substantial interest endanger the lives of Nigerians including his own subjects, family and self!

All is not lost! I entered Ibadan to find a cleaner, more orderly city but still retaining its rusty roofs! Who ever thought Iwo road round about can wear its present look! Just as I congratulated Fashola when he cleaned, Oshodi, I will have to get across to my senior and brother, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi(SIAA) for a job well done!

Oluyole, here I come!

Ibadan, the home gallant and proud warriors! History has that of all Yoruba clans, Ibadan was the only one that survived and remained never vanquished during the Yoruba wars and hence the popular expression ‘Ogun o ko wa ri, omo Ibadan ki ‘se eru eni ko kan’.
Of importance to the world is the kind of leadership pattern that evolved from Ibadan. The Olubadan recognizes the achievement and contribution of individuals from various families and make them Mogajis to head their own family and rise through the ranks to the exalted position of the paramount ruler, the Olubadan of Ibadan land. This unique succession plan which can only be found in Rotary also reinforces the accomodating nature of the forefathers of Ibadan. Hardly can any son of Ibadan trace their origin four generations back without discovering that they actually hail from another town or village to settle in Ibadan for commerce or as warriors! For instance, the various families in Lalupon came from Ede, Iwo, Ejigbo and environs in the State of Osun as warriors during the Yoruba wars to fight on the side of Ibadan. They were settled in Lalupon by the then Basorun Ogunmola. This pattern can also be traced to the USA where you have Jews, Germans, Britons, French, Latinos and Africans!

I set out for Oluponna as early as 9.30 from my hotel room somewhere around Old Ife road. It was my first time in Oluponna and was shocked to find that there’s no boundary between it and Iwo. This rapid development can be associated with the transformation of the later into a University town. Bowen University, a product of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, serves a major landmark in finding your way to Oluponna. Directly opposite, you find all the major Bank branches.

Oluponna was agog to celebrate an illustrious son, perhaps first from the clan, who has done so much for the town bringing its name onto the world map. The reception for the event took place at the community centre built by the celebrant! The event, especially the church service attracted the high and mighty from the oil industry, acturies, finance world , politicians and Anglcan clergy. A high point of the event was recognition of dignitaries for thanksgiving. Another ugly side of Nigeria shot forth its head. Senator Omisore who came with a retinue of hangers on and security details and in an FGN registered vehicle almost caused a commotion as he strolled towards the altar and his supporters rose with those praise songs! Only in Nigeria can it happen! I recollected this guy won an election into the Senate while still being incarcerated for an alleged high profile murder case!

I left the party at 3 pm, even before the commencement of the reception program for fear of the much dreaded Lagos-Ibadan expressway on a day like Saturday! And guess what, I got to Lagos at 7.30 pm for a journey that shouldn’t have taken more than 2 hours! Fair enough you’ll say! And I will agree with you if it is only in Nigeria!

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2 Responses to "Ajasa’s Tales (5): Only In Nigeria!"

Nigerian roads are a death trap no doubt.

I spent 9 hours on the road from Benin to Lagos for a trip that wouldn’t last for more than 4 hours.

Only in Nigeria…

Hmmmm, for some weird reason this post was very thought-provoking for me. Great work

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