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Why bad roads are necessary in Nigeria
By ChukwudiAnagbogu

Nigerians have been exposed to all aspects of misrule, that nothing comes to them as a new thing. Is it epileptic power supply or corruption, or unemployment? We are used to that. But that doesn't mean we are now allergic to the good things of life. We love good things, that's why we keep on hoping for the best, even when it seems far-fetched. Our roads have become so bad that car manufacturers now make certain vehicles "for Nigerian roads." What makes a road Nigerian if I may ask? Your guess is as good as mine.

A lot of innocent lives have been lost on our roads due to their poor state. These deaths would have been avoided if our roads were good. But, just as bad roads lead to avoidable accidents, a lot of lives have probably been saved due to the same reason. Bad roads do not lead to accidents. It is the inability of drivers to adapt to the bad nature of the roads. Travelling by road in Nigeria needs a high dose of patience, mental alertness and expertise to make a safe trip. Many drivers lack these traits,and many of the vehicles are not "bad road" worthy. Drivers, thinking they are plying the highways in the U.S accelerate without caution, bumping into pot holes with reckless abandon. Bad roads will surely slow down your journey, but rest assured that some careless drivers would be forced to drive carefully, at least to reduce the level of damage on their vehicles!  Slow and steady they say, wins the race. A lot of fatal accidents these days occur on roads in good condition. A careful and well trained driver will always navigate through bad roads unscathed. There is no need for government to go ahead with the introduction of speed limit devices, since the horrible nature of our roads has already done the job.

A lot of people, mainly children make ends meet by selling on the highways. There business is made possible by the pot holes on our roads which makes it inevitable for vehicles to slow down, allowing these people to make quick money. Passengers also have the opportunity to help themselves with quick snacks and water, to keep body and soul together, while continuing with their tortuous journey. Each time i travel to Enugu, i always look forward to "okpa ninth mile" and fried breadfruit at Ezeagu. You can only get these if you travel through the "hell on earth" Enugu-onitsha expressway. Travel through the relatively motorable old road,and you will starve till you get to the nearest pot hole. Employment is created.

Have you ever noticed that most tarred roads are more dangerous than the bad ones.  When you ply through the Milky hill enroute Enugu, you need to be at your extreme best, to successfully drive through those dangerous bends. Even if you are careful, a dangerous and drunk driver may just run into you from nowhere!

So many people have jettisoned night traveling for fear of robbery attacks, which thrive mainly on bad roads. Robbers smack their lips each time they occupy such roads, as there is no escape route for road users. You must slow down else you somersault. It is never ideal to travel at night, except when inevitable.

If all roads were tarred, no politician would lie of an intention to construct one million kilometers of roads within a week in office. A lot of strategic bad roads have become campaign tools for politicians, who always think all Nigerians were fools. We have given up on the construction of such roads.

Among the beneficiaries of the bad nature of our roads are the policeman and road safety officials,especially the latter. They mount road blocks near pot holes in order to "apprehend" recalcitrant motorists. But experience has shown that many motorists prefer to have damaged bumpers and broken bottom plates and radiators than to stop for check.

Despite the above, we still need good roads. But since our 'leaders' have decided to send innocent citizens to their early graves while they fly in private jets, we have decided to make the best of the difficult situation. The very few that are motorable should be dualized, to minimize head-on collisions.


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