The big difference a small bus-stop makes

I left my office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, by about quarter to 6:00 p.m., on Thursday, 23rd August and by 6:00 p.m., I was already at the base of the bridge at Iyana-Oworo. I was pleasantly surprised again that we could descend the Third Mainland bridge at such a record time. When this started a couple of weeks back, I thought it was a fluke. But, it has happened over and over again.

Ayo my musician/driver and I started analysing the new phenomenon on the Third Mainland bridge traffic. We initially thought it might also be due to the fact that children were on holiday. But the truth is: how many children live and school on the Mainland and the Island? It finally dawned on us that it must be the bus stop at the base of the bridge.

This definitely makes sense, with about four lanes of different categories of vehicles veering off to discharge passengers, thus leaving the road free for free flowing vehicular movement. I began to wonder why no one ever thought of it. Of course, it is common in Nigeria to refer to so many places on the road as bus stops without actually making allowances for the bus to stop.

In many cases where there are allowances, the vehicles did not use them. Some brazen drivers even discharged passengers on express roads. In fact, it is assumed that bus stops are for commercial vehicles only by many of us. Thus, discharging passengers along the road became the norm. It did not stop there, of course our LATSMA officials and police are on hand to ensure compliance. I am very delighted to see many of this kind of developments going on all over Lagos State.

I see a lot of pedestrian bridges springing up at Berger, Anthony Oke, Mile 12 and so on as well. I was quite happy to see the construction for traffic diversion at Berger bus stop too. Ayo tells me about the massive construction going on in Abule-Egba area. I am really happy and grateful. This is surely an answer to my prayers. You would wonder why I prayed. Well, after we were robbed of our victory at the polls in my home state of Ekiti and the signs of impunity began to emerge, I prayed that the setback we were experiencing in Ekiti after four years of progress under Governor Kayode Fayemi would not befall Lagos.

After all, Lagos is my second home. I prayed earnestly that Lagos will remain under the leadership of a progressive governor having seen the gains we made starting with Senator Bola Tinubu and through the Babatunde Fashola years. I must admit that I was initially put off by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode when it seemed as though he wasn’t going to continue to build on the sterling legacies of his predecessors. I felt they had laid such a solid foundation for him that all he needed was to build on it. I am glad to say that he’s doing just that now.

With the street lights coming up, new and expanded bus stops, pedestrian bridges and roads, progress is for sure. With a free flow of traffic, commerce will improve in Lagos. The quality of life will improve. Our vehicles will last longer. Our environment will suffer less pollution. Thieves will find it more difficult to operate. The benefits are countless. The important thing is that if we all try to contribute in small ways to add value to our daily existence in our small areas of influence, life will be so much better for all of us.

The change we need starts with each one contributing what will make life easier for everyone. Life is much better lived when it embraces consideration for others. Little things make a difference. I will never forget the difference in traffic flow we experienced with that little diversion under the bridge in between Muson Centre and The Nigerian Army Officers Mess in the TafawaBalewa Square area leading to Ikoyi /Victoria Island during the time of Fashola. How can I forget Allen Avenue traffic until it was demarcated during the time of Tinubu? The point I am making is, let this little value additions continue, they add up. No city or country can be built in a day. The important thing is that we must keep building and making progress. Brick by brick a house is built.

Traffic reduction with expanded or new bus stops would not have been noticeable with roads riddled with potholes. Somebody took time to fix the roads before this intervention could be meaningful. We need to have leaders who understand the meaning of continuity in governance. It is not about personal achievements, it is about progressive legacies. It is not about personal empires it is about building our commonwealth for generations yet unborn. It is about all of us.

The beautiful thing is that we Nigerians are very easy to please, especially when our leaders understand that little things make a big difference. Posperity will be forever grateful to Governor Ambode if he could rid the Lagos metropolis totally of traffic gridlock. The little bus stop at Iyana-Oworo has definitely made a big difference. Progress makes for peace and prosperity. Let the progress continue, the best is yet to come.


Ajayi, a medical doctor, wrote from Ikoyi.