From queuing for fuel to queuing on the bridge – The Ojota debacle

Frustration; disgruntlement and discontentment – This is the general mood of hundreds of Nigerians who have been queuing for at least an hour since Monday, April 11 – to use the Ojota pedestrian bridge.

In a bid to enforce usage of the pedestrian bridge and curb commuters’ knack for running across the expressway, the state’s agency against indiscipline stationed task force officers within the Ojota area of Lagos.

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One thing KAI apparently did not put into consideration is the multitude of people who ply the Ojota axis.

Upon a visit, hundreds of people can be seen standing in line – some patiently, some impatiently – to get on the bridge and cross to the other side to make their commute to their respective destination.

A YNaija correspondent who visited the bridge on Tuesday spoke to some of the citizens who were waiting for their turn to hop on the bridge to rub shoulders and hips while they exchange the morning’s bad breath and body odour.

A woman, who identified herself as Victoria said: ‘I will not say anything but change. This is change now. We are seeing change’ before she turned to argue with another woman who wanted to allow a stranger into her spot on the queue.

The commuters were evidently frustrated and disappointed as they stood in line – sighing, hissing and blaming ‘change’ for their woes.

A female student, who refused to say her name lamented that even the queue to buy tickets for BRT fares were not half as long as the one at the bridge but she was confident in the ability of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to sort out the issue.

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Another pedestrian, Mayowa corroborated what the female student said.

“All these people shouting change here and there, Ambode is doing the right thing but Nigerians are not patient at all. Is it right to cross the express? But they are insulting the government for telling them to do what is right. Imagine!”

“I’m sure Governor Ambode will find a solution to this problem soon. Remember when he became governor and it looked like Lagos will destroy, but he tried his best and Lagos is great again.”

Seun, who had a long day at work and just wanted to get home, said ‘my house is just on the other side. Just like 5 minutes and I’m home but I’ve been here for more than 40 minutes.’

He was visibly frustrated as he quipped – ‘its just not fair.’

While the plan of the government to ensure commuters use the bridge instead of crossing the express road is justified, the sheer lack of research and shabby execution of the plan vis a vis what negative effects it would have on the populace paints it in a very bad light.

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The YNaija correspondent also observed about 300 people on the bridge at the same time while hundreds waited for their turn.

Perhaps, the government should have carried out a survey of the number of people who would be using the pedestrian bridge at the same time, before cutting off access to the expressway.

Also, seeing that an estimated 300 people were on the bridge at any given time, did the government take into consideration the durability of the bridge?

Can it take so many people at once for so long before buckling under the weight? God forbid any tragedy occurs from the government trying to enforce a justified cause.

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