Ikotun road traffic situation
Ikotun road traffic situation

Road commuters and drivers speak out on the need to install traffic lights at the Ikotun Roundabout, Oja, and College Bus stop areas of the road.

Kesandu Egburonu

Once a person gets into a vehicle – whether it is a rickety bus popularly called ‘danfo’, a luxury Mercedes Benz car, or a cramped up tricycle, that person most likely does that with the aim of not only getting to a particular location but also getting there in time. Driving can be so much fun for both the driver and occupants. Fun when the road is smooth and free of traffic and boring when the journey is mostly spent in a traffic jam.

Plying Ikotun Road, especially when navigating past the roundabout or through the Oja area of the boisterous town, can definitely not be regarded as “fun” simply because of the constant traffic jam being experienced on the axis. The jam also extends to College Bus stop – the junctions that lead to the Governor’s Road area. So, at times, one could encounter three separate traffic jams in these three proximate spots.

Some simply blame the impatient attitude of road users, more especially drivers and riders, for the constant traffic jams in the 3 spots, insisting that if road users were more patient, the road traffic would never be a constant feature.

“Nigerians are one of the most impatient people in the world”, Mrs. Gladys, a road user who resides on the Governor’s Road area of the town said. “When it comes to this issue of traffic, you will see that it is us that are the causes”, she continued. “Nobody is ready to wait for another person to pass. Everyone wants to move at the same time and so nobody moves.”

Barricades at the College Bus stop in Ikotun
Barricades at the College Bus stop in Ikotun

While the lady’s opinion above has some merit, the presence of road traffic officials – Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and the police traffic warders– in controlling the traffic congestion in these areas and their limited success in the task, makes the root cause of the traffic jam less about impatience and more about systemic failure. Government intervention, whether in installing traffic lights or building bridges, is therefore necessary to remedy the situation.

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A tricycle rider, who gave his name as Moses, is of the opinion that the road urgently needs bridges in those frequently-congested spots. “To reduce this traffic, there is need for a bridge in this Ikotun here (roundabout) and that Oja. If there is no bridge, the traffic can never stop; it will continue for ages. So, only a bridge can solve the traffic here and that is what we experience here on a daily basis”, he said.

Just as the first argument has its merit, the second also has its own merits, but then again, a look at the size of the narrow road could force a second thought on the construction of bridges in those spots. And as suggestions kept pouring in, a more realisable solution came in when a bus driver known as Moruf advocated for the installation of traffic lights in those spots.

“I don’t usually pass that side; my route is Ikotun- IyanaIpaja, but my house is at Abaranje. I just think that if the government people can put all these traffic lights in these places, the traffic will stop, I am telling you. Just put traffic lights and put officials to look at it and control it; you will see that the hold-up we disappear; I am telling you,” the driver said with a sense of certainty.

Currently, there are neither traffic lights nor bridges at the three points on the road, but rather a barricade has been put up at the College Bus Stop junction leading to Governor’s Road, with drivers having to drive all the way to Paradise Bus Stop before making the turn back again. While the barricades have indeed reduced the traffic jam there on the short term, a long-term solution is needed. This is because if the option adopted at College Bus Stop junction was replicated across other points on the road, the hardship to drivers and other commuters would indeed be extremely increased.

Regular Oja Traffic Jam
Regular Oja Traffic Jam

The time to act is now, and this article could not have come at a more opportune time than now that the new Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sonwo-Olu, freshly assumed office.

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The message is clear: install traffic lights or build bridges at these points of the road or both. Whatever needs to be done, needs to be expedited, either for the sake of school children who are always stuck in needless traffic while travelling short distances to their schools, commuters who bear the risk of losing valuable time that could have been better expended, or commercial drivers who lose money they could have otherwise gained had it not been for needless traffic.

Ikotun residents are also Lagosians and they should definitely enjoy some of the many road construction projects being executed in other areas of the state. It is their constitutional right to demand traffic lights and bridges and it is also the reason a great number of them thronged en masse to their polling units to cast their votes for the Governor, as well as for other elected public office holders in the state.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, please hear the cries of these commuters. Please hear the cries of school children and wails of your people, the same people you mean to serve.