It was a Friday. A family event was taking place that evening. I asked for permission to close an hour earlier to be able to participate in the event. 5:00pm, I drove out of my office on Awolowo road, Ikoyi. I should be home in two hours, I said to myself.
The traffic on third mainland bridge snaked all the way from the beginning to the tail end and I began to wonder if I would still make the journey in two hours. 7:00pm, I arrived at Bolade in Oshodi. I did a mental calculation. In an hour, I should get to Iyana-Ipaja.
8:00pm, I was still at Bolade. 9:00pm came and met me right on the same spot at Bolade, Oshodi. It had rained earlier that day and for those who understand Lagos; rain and Lagos roads are like sworn enemies. I was extremely tired and my feet were hurting. Driving a manual car in traffic a’int attractive. Movement was at snail speed and I kept switching off and switching on the engine to ease the stress on my feet.
In my tired state and my feet on the brake pedal, I lost traction and bumped into the car ahead of me. Oh Lord, not now; I thought. A man stepped out of the car. He looked at me and bent to look at his bumper. I tried to signal an apology to him but the man just turned and went back to sit in his car. I guess he was too tired to get into an argument. I immediately switched off the engine to avoid a recurrence.
“Hello ma’am, you look extremely tired. Can I join you and keep you company?” A guy who had been standing at the bus-stop with other passengers as they awaited a bus asked. I looked at him; a total stranger but at that point I needed company to stay awake.
I unlocked the passenger door and he eased into the car. He introduced himself and started talking about the traffic situation and various issues. I listened and his conversation kept me awake.
At about 10:30pm, some army men emerged from God knows where and decided to help our situation. They began to pass traffic and as we moved forward, we realized that some cars going towards Oshodi had decided to face oncoming traffic; thereby causing the total lock down.
As usual in Lagos traffic, immediately the army men passed their vehicle out of the traffic, they zoomed off leaving the rest of us to our fate. Moving ahead became a survival of the fittest game. Thankfully, I scaled through without a scratch. I got to the GRA Ikeja junction and we saw traffic still ahead of us. At this time of the night, I thought as I shook my head. I wondered if I should go ahead or make a detour. My new found friend asked what my intention was. After 3 hours on one spot, I was not ready for another long wait.
I turned into GRA Ikeja and manuveured my way through to Oba Akran through Mobolaji Bank Anthony way. It was a smooth drive and I was glad I took that decision. Driving out of Oba Akran, I decided to pass the inner Dopemu road parallel to the Lagos-Abeokuta express way. As we went on, we could see the tail lights of cars in slow movement on the express way. I smiled as I congratulated myself on the smart move. I dropped off my new found friend at his bus-stop which was on my way home and he was full of thanks. I was more thankful because his conversation actually helped me stay awake on the steering.
I arrived home at a quarter to midnight. The celebrator for whom I had closed from the office one hour earlier was already sleeping peacefully in bed.
Do you have any experiences with Lagos traffic or any other state? Please share with us in the comments section.