by Alexander O. Onukwue
The people of Lagos Island are not going to allow the Saturday floods dull their day. Pictures of the flood feature lots of stuck cars and sad faces, but inventions and innovations are popping up.
There’s a man somewhere kayaking easily on same road that a bus is struggling to pass. Other forms of aqua-vehicles have been patched up with wood, and if you were not conscious, you would confuse a picture of Admiraly way in Lekki for an island in the Italian city of Venice.
These innovations help in the short term (when the ropes used to join the pieces of wood eventually give way), being stop-gaps for making through the temporary floods. But when dry land is restored, why is nothing ever done by the same innovative citizens to fix the roads? Why don’t we have pictures and videos on a regular day of ordinary people within a given locality – say Lekki – coming out to fix their roads or build a drainage to forestall the occurrence of future floods?
The answer is simple: nobody wants to go to jail.
Part of the conversations on social media about the floods have reflected the need for alternatives to depend on Government for good roads and drainages, but some users have raised the alarm that that is not even a possibility.
An Instagram account @tobiholloway said: “If you know the way government works, even if you have the money, you can be sued for fixing the road. You will need permission that will never come”.
Another user who goes by @sweetcyntia1 relates the story of a woman “who spent some days behind bars for fixing the road in front of her petrol station. She had to close the business because the road was not customer friendly”.
From the two accounts, the message to anyone who wants to take up the task of fixing any road or drainage on an individual capacity is damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The Government collects taxes to fix these utilities but does not do it. Citizens who wish to fix it while still paying their taxes risk being held in prison for usurping the Government’s duty. Should they then not pay the tax so they know they are getting no value but not spending for it?
As you think about that, the VAIDS people are waiting for nine months to expire.