By Tony Iyare
Resolving to visit Agbara, located along the Lagos-Badagry expressway corridor, which has now become hellish for residents and commuters was a hard nut for me. A senior friend, Group Captain John Oladipo Ojikutu (rtd), former commandant of the Airforce wing at the Lagos Airport, had extended invitation for a Wedding Thanksgiving yesterday morning at Christ the King Catholic Church, OPIC Estate. I had missed his 70th Birthday two years ago owing to the bad road and didn’t feel it was polite to again miss this one.
For days, I ruminated over the sad experience of commuting in that axis. I had barely recovered from the nightmare of traveling for about six hours between my abode in New Okooba and Badagry for a conference in 2017. Our revered senior professional colleague, Mr Lade Bonuola (Ladbone) also recently recounted his more than seven hour snail drive from The Guardian office at Rutam House, Isolo to his home at OPIC Estate, Agbara. The unsavory accounts of several others had also sent shivers down my spine.
So tragic that we allowed both the Lagos-Badagry expressway and Atan road off the Ota-Idiroko expressway, both vital links to Agbara to go into shreds. The Ota/Agbara axis is home to about 500 companies that generate huge revenue to Ogun State. Unfortunately, we prefer to play chess over a significant economic lifeline just the same way we’ve made mincemeat of the access roads to Apapa, which houses two of Africa’s largest ports. Before these vital roads became comatose, I could hop to Agbara from my home in less than an hour, to visit many friends, relatives and fun places in Badagry. Not anymore.
But this time I opted to go to Agbara irrespective of what obstacles may befall my trip. My travails on my onward journey on Boxing Day and return on Sunday was akin to passing through a war zone. It’s a reflection of how governance has receded in the daily lives of the citizenry.
It was however really refreshing that I did and I used one stone to kill several birds. Apart from felicitating with the Ojikutu family on the wedding of their son, I also visited the home of Ladbone and two of my comrades, Prof Tunde Fatunde and Prof Sylvester Odion Akhaine, whose home I passed the night. Save for tangential talk about our families and the broken international gateways to the historic Badagry town, our discourse at every point centered on deep thoughts about the future of Nigeria, our dear country as we sipped our wine and munched our snacks.
Photo: Sylvester, Ladbone and I