5th July, 2011
If anybody who wishes to know how deep, unserious and myopic the Federal Government has sunk into in the past 12 years in matters of governance and service delivery, he should please visit the entire stretch of the Mile 2- Apapa expressway from Berger Cement bus stop to Creek Road Apapa. I have seen failure of governance in every facet of our national life in the past 12 years but the state of Berger-Apapa via Tin Can Island road is worrisome, very disturbing and unacceptable.
I had gone to the First Gate Festac on Saturday July 2, 2011 to help the son of a cousin of mine to inspect a car he wanted to buy. Business finished, I tried to go back to Surulere through Mile 2 to Ijeshatedo but I met a serious traffic jam at Mile 2. I continued to Berger Cement bus stop to make a turn but the story was the same. I now decided to go through Apapa-Western Avenue to get home. That was where my trouble started. I was on that road for more than four hours until it became impossible for me to continue at some point in front of Tin Can Island gate. I got off the vehicle, picked an Okada to Apapa to catch a taxi to Surulere.
While we were in the traffic jam, I took time out to take a mental note of the Thomas Hobbes State of Nature called Tin Can Island expressway. A combination of the bad roads, thousands of trailers and petrol tankers, human and other vehicular traffic, traders, hawkers, street urchins, etc. fused together to create a picture of hell on earth at Tin Can Island. It pains me to no end to see a place where Federal Government is making billions everyday in total chaos. While inside the car I looked through the window to notice that the drains have been converted to toilet by thousands of men and women who have no business being in that zone if we are a serious people. Emergency car dealers display their vehicles on the collapsed road without caring a hoot. For the trailers and the petrol tanker drivers, â€˜anywhere you see, you parkâ€™ is the rule. I have seen confusion, disorder and recklessness somewhere else but the situation on Berger-Apapa road stunned me into disbelief. How do those who work at Tin Can Island come to work and how do they go home every day? Do they worry about the poor state of that road at all? What about the petrol dealers and their tank farms? How do they feel about the condition of that road? What about the Federal Ministry of Works? What about the claim we hear every day that â€˜this one is a federal road and that this one is a state roadâ€™?
All over the world, roads leading to such a seaport can be 10-lane express or more on both sides, but here we are still saddled with the two lane expressway built almost 40 years ago. I am sure nobody envisaged that importers of petroleum products will one day come to Tin Can Island to build Tank farms. I am sure that what we see there was not in the original plan of the builders. Berger-Tin Can Island has failed and something drastic must be done now.
First we must have the courage and the political will to clear the Augean stable there-the roadside traders, the car dealers, the mechanics, the illegal buildings, the abandoned vehicles, hawkers, etc. If the Federal Government cannot do it please ask Governor Fashola to help. We need to recover that very important road and create order on that corridor to look like what we see abroad.
Finally, I make bold to say that I am ashamed of Federal Ministry of Works, the managers of Tin Can Island Port, the oil magnates on that corridor, the Banks, Customs, Clearing and forwarding companies, truck owners, the police etc. It is a collective failure of governance. It is bad attitude to governance. It is clear demonstration of irresponsible leadership. It is inhuman, it is absurd, it is a disgrace, and it is heart sore, mind sore, eye sore, head sore, ear sore, mouth sore, nose sore.
â€¢Joe Igbokwe wrote in from Lagos