Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Law & Order

Yesterday was a public holiday and the streets of Lagos seem to have a sense of sanity. The roads were free of its usual traffic jam and it looked peaceful. Looking from the 9th floor of a building where I went to work, it seemed almost surreal. Falomo round-about looked really sane, like a place where "law & order" was in place. I wonder sometimes if those two words mean anything to the average Lagosian ( those who live and work in Lagos). I've come to conclude that it doesn't and this is very saddening. It is especially so because now attempts are being made to bring some sanity in to the system, but Lagosian's doggedly kick against "order", its amazing. You walk into a bank where there should be a queue and you see like 6 people huddled in front of the counter stretching out their hands with their cheques and passbooks and all to the cashier and one just wonders how the lady/man is supposed to grow extra hands to collect from all the customers. What we dont seem to realise is that if everyone stays on the queue , everyone will be attended to.
Look for instance the people that drive against traffic a.k.a One-way, they run away from their own muddled-up side of the road and end up muddling up the other side. The police and the all other men-in-arms are even "guiltiest" of this. I sit on my side of the road wondering, when this madness would end, offcourse brought out of my reverie by the honking of a motorbike (okada) beside me.
I approach the red light and I see Lagosians flout every form of law and order there is. Last week thursday when I got off work,i plugged my handsfree into my phone, strapped my self into the seat and gunned the engine. The ride was a rather smooth one without the usual craziness of traffic on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street.As i approached an intersection, I slowed down at the traffic light, and waited for it to give me the Go! I turned left on my cue and next thing i knew, a commercial bus ran smack into me. For a second I had an out-of-body experience. You know one of those where you are seeing the unfolding events like you are actually not there. The guy ran the red light and there it was, an "accident" which resulted from disobeying simple traffic rules,no one takes cognizance of the fact that traffic lights are installed for the safety of the fellow road user.So, the guy incurrs the debt of fixing the car and I get the inconvenience of not having a car for over a week.
Sometimes when we refuse to follow rules, we end up causing more harm than good, not only to ourselves but to others too.
When the traffic management officials are not there, chaos rules supreme. Sanity and flies right out the window and road users become maniacs, each trying to push his way through like the rest of you have come to the road to stay put.
Take trash for instance, people toss trash out of windows like there is some invisble waste bin there just waiting top take it in, dropping plastic bags on the floor and ...wait for it.. wait for it.... digging through the deep crevices of ur throat to spit out the thickest possible phlegm you can find and ..'splat'.. on the side of the road!!! ARRRGHHHHH it just makes me cringe.
Rules, law, orders, those things are handed down to us by others for effective running of society, so why do we not follow laid down rules? ( and I say 'we' because I too am prone to disorderliness every now and then) I do not believe that we should rightly hold the totem of " rules are meant to be broken" like it's life support, rather we should all strive to do our bit, in making things work.
So next time you are on a queue, hold out till it gets to your turn, and dont shout at the cashier, or throw trash on the road. Let's make our society a better place to live in and for our children to grow up in.

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