As Lagosians await the delivery of the gigantic Oshodi interchange project expected to change the landscape of the mega-city and transform it into a smart city, motorists are having a rough ride to the Murtala Mohammed International from the Toyota bus-stop end of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
This is not linked to the ongoing road reconstruction on the axis but the blame for the nightmarish experience is a huge pothole at the foot of the bridge leading to the airport, which is expanding by the daily and causing severe logjam stretching for a long distance.
While road users agonise navigating through the bad spot, it is a different case for some youngmen, who have seen bad roads as a means of livelihood and survival.
The hustlers at the Toyota bus-stop is led by a dark complexioned man kitted in multi-coloured sweater, shorts, gloves, head warmer and socks, who is simply identified as Osuofia Eze. He is usually seen at peak periods in the early hours of the day and evenings with his friends making money by helping motorists whose vehicles are stuck in the potholes.
Eze, a trader at the Ladipo auto spare-parts market, who is in his early 20s, told The Guardian that since the government has seen the youths as being lazy, there was need for them to think out of the box to survive. According to him, the country is in need of fast thinking youths like him, who will maximize the opportunities that abound around them.
“This road is long overdue for rehabilitation and it is worsened by the rainy season that has started, which is why our services are needed to ease traffic and not make a bad situation worse. There are very many bad spots on this Apapa-Oshodi expressway that once you enter your car gets stuck and cannot come out without a push. So, all I do is to assist and in return get paid. I have a few friends who stand by waiting for my call to assist, I negotiate with the clients, collect the money and share with my friends at the end of the day,” he told The Guardian.
He continued: “In fact, I don’t want them to repair this road anymore as God continues to give us rain. Please tell President Buhari and Governor Ambode that I am okay with the condition of this road because a rehabilitation of this road will lead to the halt of my income. It is not greed or stealing, I am not lazy, it is survival and hustling.”
When asked how much he makes daily, he said: “Sometimes, we make over N5,000 without expenses. The charges vary from the kind of vehicles. We charge N200 for yellow painted buses and N500 or N1,000 for private vehicles. It is really a good business compared to the kind of stress we have to go through inside the market daily before we could realize such a huge amount daily.”