Monday, July 13, 2009


I, my dad, and my brother took a drive around Ibadan yesterday. As has become my usual custom, I was observing happenings in my environment, and I noticed quite a few things I would like to relate with you here.

First of all, I did not know there were any working traffic lights in Ibadan until yesterday, funny enough – I counted just 6 of them, and they were as close to the State Secretariat as possible (any closer and they’d be right inside it). Anyway, I had the privilege of seeing my dad stop at a red light (for the first time in my life), and while going towards the Eleyele side of Ibadan – I noticed that every driver (including cyclers and even one biker) on the road obeyed the traffic lights. In some other country, that may not be worthy of mention, but in Ibadan - Oyo State - Nigeria, it really IS a miracle.

Now, this is the interesting part. On our way back from Eleyele, a police van overtook us in the roughest manner possible. As in, this driver was ROUGH! As we approached the traffic lights, my dad was like – “Just watch oh, that policeman will not stop at the red lights, and he is not on assignment or chasing a thief or something”. As sure as you are sitting there reading this, the police driver ran the red light. Well, to say the least - I was not surprised.

You know, I actually wished I had a license and I was the one doing the driving (plus I was alone in the car). I have no doubts what I would have done, even though I am not so sure I would do the same thing now - anyway. Want to hear it? Ok, I’ll tell you. I would have waited till the lights turned green, driven off after the van, caught up with it, and I would have told him in plain Yoruba not to run a red light next time. Lucky me - we eventually passed the van, and the driver was alone in it – which means I would have gotten away with it if I actually did it.

What insanity? Why should a police van (that is neither chasing a thief nor on assignment) run a red light? Why should the police be above ordinary traffic laws? By the way, I believe every primary school student is still taught that red means stop, yellow means proceed with caution, and green means drive (pardon my terms). Is it that the driver did not have basic primary education? Or has he forgotten so soon (at least he is below 65)?

Enough about that, and let’s talk something else.

You know how every road in Nigeria is either a state road or a federal road? Anyway,
all state roads are maintained by State road management agencies (in the case of Oyo State – OYSROMA), and all federal roads are maintained by the Federal road management agency (FERMA). Ok, in case you did not know, the headquarters of OYSROMA is situated somewhere on the way to Eleyele.

We sort of had a smooth ride from the Secretariat area, but then some of the roughest patches of road on that area are right in front of the OYSROMA HQ. It’s funny how the state road management agency cannot maintain a road right under its nose. What happens to roads hidden away in long ‘forgotten’ areas?

So, if you live in Ibadan, and you are wondering when they will finally fix your area’s access road, note that OYSROMA cannot maintain roads right in front of it – so your area might be in for a long wait!

I guess that will be all for today in the memories section, I’ll keep the rest until some other time.

Way forward! It still remains that change starts from me and you. If I get the opportunity to chase down an errant driver and tell him not to run a red light in the future, I will take it. Regardless of how he/she takes it, I will have said something in a respectful way, and I will have planted a seed in their mind. It still remains that if all I do is sit in my car and complain, the other person does not get someone to pinge his conscience, and he might do it another time.

It starts from us, and if you are still not sure whether you want to fight the good fight of change, think about this – my time will pass, and your time will pass; but the collective history of our times will remain.

Still thinking? What are you waiting for? Read more here.

If we work hard and take responsibility, we will have a chance for a better life. Barack Obama.

No comments:

Post a Comment