The heading of his piece could as well be traveling to the East, but I
conveniently avoided it because I do not know the road situation beyond
Owerri. My trip ended at Owerri and I use it as a signpost for this
piece. Normally, road travel is a fitting option of movement in a land
where air travel is perilous and hazardous. Traveling by road in the
days of the yore offered a convenient and comforting experience although
there were fewer vehicles then. Then, the activities of armed robbers
and hoodlums were not as pronounced as now. Even houses and other places
of abode then required no perimeter fence.
I almost did not travel to the east, not least when I can’t consider
air option. This is because I love air travel the way bats love day
light. Here are some hints when traveling by road to the countryside.
Service the car day before to avoid mechanical breakdown en-route
because breakdowns invites hoodlums and kidnappers of all hues. Check
out the break system, tires, plugs and change engine oil and oil
filters. Check the wipers also because of the rains. Leave early to be
able to and arrive early too. For anybody to travel to the East, your
car must be in good condition. Be versed with the black spots along the
road and they include the lonely stretch between Okada and Benin, Benin
Bypass and some areas between Ore and Ijebu Ode.
Other things to worry about are traffic gridlocks and snarls occurring
first in Kara near Berger or abattoir outward journey from Lagos; Lagos
-Ibadan road due to the endless and annoying and snail speed road work
in the area; Benin Bypass and Asaba before Niger Bridge. The last one is
the most terrific as vehicles snake though several kilometers before the
bridge due to a tiny pothole that can be filled by the local government.
These days road travel looks like taking a trip to hell. If not worse.
I thought it only happened in distant lands, but I dare say that it is
here with us. Struggling victims of road accidents clobbered to death
while having their personal belongings looted by people that were
supposed to assist them. These vultures even scour the pockets of the
dead in search of money, phones and other valuables. Some even steal
belts, shoes, watches and clothes.
Kidnapping and or herdsmen is one of the highest threats a traveler
could face in the modern-day Nigeria. These days, travelers no longer do
road stops to relieve their bowl because all manner of urchins dot the
travel route and lie in wait intent in plying their ugly trade.
The hazard of road trip quadruples whenever it rains as the roads
become very bad and dangerous and travelers are wedged at a spot
endlessly. Besides, not every driver sees clearly when it rains. Road
are slippery and worn out tires cannot grip the road surface. The
activities of heavy-duty vehicles add to the misfortune as they block
and occupy the road while meandering to avoid the craters that dot the
Contractors should be properly sanctioned, each time a bad job is done.
Their names and addresses should be boldly written on the milestone
along the road announcing who and when the road was constructed and how
long it is supposed to last.
The essence of governance is to provide welfare and make life easier to
the governed and that includes good road network. People should be able
get to their destinations safe and faster. Road travelling should be a
pleasant and enjoyable experience, not a trip to Golgotha. We do not
deserve the humiliating and harrowing experience that is obtainable now
especially for folks commuting from Lagos to any part of Eastern
Nigeria. We the people deserve a better deal to say the least. May we
not enter an aircraft piloted by a trainee who ran away from the
training school. May this never be our epitaph. It shall be well with
all of us!
Mike ONWUKWE is SCP/SAPP Certified and can be reached via