The journey from Lekki to Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi was longer than expected; even as a JJC (Johnny Just Come – new in the area), I knew the distance should not be so far especially as both locations are on the island but the traffic that Saturday morning was out of this world. “Oga, abeg how much longer before we reach where we dey go” I asked the taxi driver. He chuckled and gently responded; “the place no far like that oh but na this Lekki traffic wey come block us, every weekend na owambe for Lagos”. I looked out of the window to see what was really causing the traffic, I was thinking maybe a car broke down on one lane but to my amazement everything was fine, just too many cars on the road at the same time and 3 out of 5 cars had men/women in their complete aso-ebi regalia headed to one occasion or the other. I left Lekki at 12 noon and got to Ikoyi at 2:42pm, with that experience, I made up my mind that I’ll never live in Lagos. This happened in 2009 when I came for a training in Lagos; I couldn’t wait for the 5 weeks to elapse so I can return to serene & calm Abuja. 2010, I found myself in a faraway country and 4 years later I was back to Abuja. One thing led to the other and the company that offered chances of employment only had vacancies in Lagos, that’s how I found myself moving from Abuja to reside fully in Lagos… Chaiiii, who did I wrong? This same Lagos I swore never to come back to, diaris God sha.
I had lived in Lagos for barely 3 months when a friend came to pick me to show me around, but he wanted to quickly drop his clothes at a laundry in Ikoyi. We left from Victoria Island and it took us less than 25 minutes to get to Ikoyi on a Saturday through Falomo bridge; the shocker came when he said we were going towards Lekki and he drove through the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge.
Me: Wait, wait, wait… Sola, when did this happen?
Sola: when did what happen?
Me: this… (pointing at the bridge)
Sola: you mean you’ve never used Ikoyi bridge?
Me: when na, when did I come to Lagos? (still admiring the beautiful structure)
The Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge, constructed by Julius Berger Nigeria is the first cable-stayed bridge to be built in Nigeria. It was conceived one year into the Fashola administration in 2008 and commissioned 5 years later on the 29th of May 2013. Not only was there Lekki-Ikoyi bridge when I came back to Lagos, there was also the Lekki Concession Company Limited (LCC) whose pioneering project is designed to deliver essential road infrastructure and services along the Lekki Peninsular of Lagos. Last time I was in Lagos, there were only 2 round-abouts; and after that was a long straight road with no median strips (paved area that divides a highway so that traffic going in one direction is kept separate from traffic going in the opposite direction). But when I came back, the Lekki-Epe expressway looked different; there are now 5 round-abouts with smooth roads, median strips and street lights. Development slowly crept in while I was away.
4 years ago, I swore never to live in Lagos because of the crazy experience I had; I could only see Lagos for what it was at that point with no projections into the future or ever believing that the government was cooking something to salvage the sick situation. While on the bridge I admired the phenomenal piece of architecture and wondered the planning & strategies that would have happened before implementation. Many people would have cursed and abused Lagos State government (like I did) without knowing there was a vision but it was still on-going. Some people saw it happen but still deny that there are changes occurring in Nigeria.
Have you ever considered what the next five years of your life will be? If you are a man or woman with a vision, then I guess you have plans towards executing that 5 years plan. How will you feel if you were judged as a failure because you haven’t achieved your long term goals? Imagine you lost your dream job because the interviewer did not see your 5 years projected potentials? Why do we see Nigeria only from a “NOW” point of view? We are myopic with our judgement and have no patience to watch projects get concluded or at least believe in a better future for Nigeria? No. 1 in the picture above is the VISION stage, No. 2 is the IMPLEMENTATION stage and No. 3 is the REALITY. Don’t give up on Nigeria in the vision or implementation stage. You don’t know what the next five years will unfold, and the next five after that. Just as we make plans as individuals to execute our long term goals, I strongly believe the government is also making plans in all 36 states in Nigeria to make this country a better place. We are a work in progress, gradually things we never imagined will spring up and we will have the NIGERIA OF OUR DREAMS. What would you want to see in Nigeria in 5 years? Share your thoughts.