Is there any governance in this part of Lagos? Can we call this road? These were the questions asked rhetorically by Matthew Ayodele, a retired soldier, on Sunday, June 21, after his Toyota Venza car got stuck in one of the several gullies that dot sections of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
Ayodele was driving toward the former Volkswagen Motors bus stop from Iyana-Iba when his car sank into the ditch which was concealed by murky waters.
According to the retired army officer, his journey that Sunday from Agbara had been relatively smooth following the recent intervention of the Federal Government, from Agbara to Igbo Elerin. But that was where it all ended.
The stretch of Igbo Elerin to Volkswagen has become a nightmare for motorists, as this section has completely collapsed. The condition of the road has been made worse by the continuing rains. The gullies have become deeper, enough to swallow a saloon car.
Particularly troubling, according to Ayodele, is the stretch from Lagos State University (LASU) to Iyana Iba and Volkswagen. This has triggered unprecedented hardship on commuters and motorists who ply the international route.
It has resulted in disruption of vehicular movement, to the extent that motorists now spend upward of two hours between Igbo Elerin and Volkswagen. This short journey should ordinary not take more than 10 minutes.
In the bid to help themselves out of what has become a big mess on the road, motorists have resorted to driving against traffic flow (one-way). The result is total breakdown of law and order, as LASTMA officers posted to that axis to control traffic have become helpless.
At Volkswagen bus stop, men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are cashing in on the situation to make brisk ‘business’. Every motorist driving one-way must ‘drop’. But as the distraught motorists struggle to pass; they are heard muttering words to capture their frustrations with a system that has refused to work for them.
The Lagos State government under the administration of Babatunde Fashola (now minister of works and housing) started reconstruction works on the road in 2008. The former four-lane expressway was redesigned to ten lanes with provision for light rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the middle.
But ten years after the flag off of the reconstruction works, stretching over three different administrations, the road remains a nightmare for motorists, commuters and residents of Nigeria’s largest commercial city.