Let’s Be Honest, Lagos is NOT Working

Allow me rant a little.

VI - Ikeja
VI – Ikeja

Today it took me about 3 hours to complete the barely 25km journey from Ikeja to Victoria Island.

“Why didn’t you leave earlier? ” would be the typical response. But why the fuck should one leave earlier than 9am for a 12 noon appointment at a place that should not take 30 minutes to get to.

Of course those Nigerians that optimize for the substandard  would point out the traffic in other cities like New York without explain that the public transport alternative is available and quite predictable. You have an option. In Lagos, everyone is meted the same punishment.

In London, you go,”we’ll meet at 1 pm”. In Lagos, you go “we’ll meet around 1-2 by God’s grace.” a one hour range needs the intercession on the creator.

The reason for this absolute fuckery that kills hours for millions of Lagosians daily is because of the absolute absence of any resemblance of a city plan that takes into cognizance the need for business districts.

Why I’m doubly pissed is that the opportunity to avert this was as recent as this past decade. The Mainland – Island traffic horror had always been known. As at the year 2000, the area after Oniru towards Epe was practically virgin. But rather than plan for the expansion of the VI – Ajah axis the Lagos State Government was napping, or rather spending billions and a decade focused on creating a business out of tollgates on the less than 15 km of road.

Now we have the whole of Lagos coming to Victoria Island to work at by the same time and leaving at the same time by 4pm. to spend another minimum of 2 hours on the road (as for those living more than 20 km from VI, I sorry for them)

Lagos requires leaving home at 5am to get to work 20 km away, early. Leave home 5 am, get to work before 6am. Leave at 6am, get to work after 9am! And this aplies to those coming to VI from Ikeja or Ajah. The Ajah – VI axis is more ridiculous. Only two lanes on each side and just a single access (Fun anecdote. Once there was a protest on that road because of an accident and there was NO WAY for people living in Ajah to get to work that day. Madness!!!)

Town Planning in 5 Seconds.
Town Planning in 5 Seconds.

A simple development of the shoreline (in black) and creating a new business district (orange rectangle) out it the area around the Lagos Business School would have eased of the pressure on Victoria Island and would have rapidly developed the Epe area as a residential zone which would key into the Lekki Free Trade Zone plan and the 4th mainland Bridge (in red).

Of course someone somewhere would be very excited to explain why the above is not really possible.

If Ambode wants to really solve this, he should live in Ajah for a 3 month period and go to work in Lagos Island form there everyday. Of course with no sirens.

Of course the above would mean politicians prioritizing the needs of citizens.



PS: forgive typos and errors. No be that one dey worry me now. 

  • abiola22

    Couldn’t agree more. But alas it takes “prioritizing the needs of citizens” and a clear and selfless vision to get such projects started, let alone achieve.

  • disqus_0vHajkCRll


    this is insightful. however, waiting for government to do stuff may take a long time. Before then the private sector may do so, with digital stuff as well as physical stuff. The traffic situation is horrific, but there has to be this app helping to improve stuff, while there is the physical action too (little by little) towards percentage drop in traffic lag.

    Wishing that as you have this traffic design, you could direct it more in ways that start-ups could improve traffic digitally and physically in the city — and probably profitably.

    Here is one thinking for someplace else for the future:


    • Thanks for your comment.

      These things are not new to those in office. Lagos has a master plan. Same with Nigeria as a country. What has always been the issue is finding those with the political will and interest to do what is right.

      As for ideas, those in authority have access to them plenti!

      Thanks for the link. I will check it out