The Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos is a road that leads to the two most viable ports in the country; however the road has brought unending tales of woe to motorists and commuters. Millions of Lagos residents and others who ply their trade on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway have classified the road as the highway to hell. Journeying along the road especially from Second Rainbow Bus Stop through Mile-2 to Tin Can and Apapa ports is death-defying, but those who work or live around this environment have to find a way to survive the ordeals of the highway.
Each day, the gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Road stretches for many kilometres, spilling into other roads and creating monumental traffic challenges for residents and other motorists and commuters. The situation on the Mile 2- Apapa axis of the route has become a national embarrassment. However, those who have their jobs, businesses and houses around this location have found ways to make the journey through Apapa less awful.
There are certain items as well as qualities that these commuters have embraced in order to fully equip themselves as they ply the life-threatening route daily.
- Nose Guard
The dust and carbon produced by the vehicles especially rickety trucks help in making the environment more horrendous. A trip to Oshodi- Apapa route, especially from the Mile Two axis and you will find most motorcyclists putting on nose masks. This helps in reducing the intake of carbon, dust and also dissipates the odour from the smelly parts of the road such as the Tin Can axis.
- Sun Glasses
Sun glasses are a form of protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting the eyes. Since passage through the Apapa road via cars or buses are very difficult and time consuming, the fastest means is via motor-bikes; sun glasses become handy because your eyes would have to be protected from sand, dust, carbon and the sun. This is the reason most motorcyclists along that route are seen putting on sun glasses.
- The Right Attire
They haphazard state of the road is such that it now determines what kind of attire is ideal especially for those who will have to bike through the gridlocks. It would be a mistake to wear a white cotton attire on a day you are sure to bike through the Apapa road because the dust and carbon from vehicles would have fully settled on your clothes by the time you arrive your destination. Owing and wearing brown-coloured attires would be appropriate if you do ply this route by motorbikes frequently, however putting on silk materials is also preferable to cotton.
- Faith and Courage
I am tempted to rush to my bible to quote from Hebrew 11 (the chapter famously referred to as the Bible’s Hall of Faith), but for the purpose of this discourse I would rather simply define faith as having confidence in the unseen God. Faith is the opposite of fear. Fear is putting your gaze on the negatives such as accidents, while faith is trusting God and acting, talking and living like you do. It takes a great deal of faith and courage to wake up every morning knowing that you are set on a voyage through a life-threatening road, yet you remain unperturbed.
Surulere– is a popular Yoruba saying which says that patience is a good virtue. It would be difficult to find someone in Lagos who hasn’t heard of “Surulere”. It is a popular place in Lagos, musicians have made wonderful songs with the adage and most people understand the meaning. Nevertheless, patience is one virtue that is so uncommon in Lagos especially on the roads, the Oshodi- Apapa traffic is one which puts the patience and endurance of motorists and commuters is put to test. Patience is indeed a requisite virtue to successful navigate through Apapa roads.
While we await the realization of a new port order and effective intermodalism to lessen the traffic on the Oshodi- Apapa road, we encourage the commuters of this route to learn how to conveniently ply the road.
By Kenneth Jukpor