It's absolutely right when you hear people tell you that you have not actually been to Lagos if you haven't rode on a Danfo, the four-wheeled yellow and black painted bus that serves as the major means of commuting around the city. The truth about this matter is riding on a Danfo affirms to the three distinctive features Lagos is known for; high commercial hub, traffic congestion, and Danfo.
The Centre of Excellence which is currently home to 23 million inhabitants with an estimated 86 people moving into Lagos every hour. In addition, Lagos contributes 30 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and the leading contributor to the non-oil sector GDP, according to Lagos State Government on Twitter.
Over the years, Danfos had been the major form of commercial commuting in Lagos. This isn't as a result of no private commercial transport system, but it's as a result of relentless effort made by Danfo drivers in making people get to their destination without delay. Although, majority of Danfos’ drivers are in haste to cover enough trips that will put money in their pockets at the expense of passengers. However, with the time I have spent in Lagos, I haven't seen any other driver that matches the zeal at which Danfo drivers execute their work besides the odds that plague them. Well! It might be said their zeal is spirited by ‘Holy Water’.
During the Annual Lecture of the Centre for values in Leadership held at Muson Centre in Onikan. Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state noted that "plans are afoot to remove yellow buses popularly known as Danfo from Lagos roads for a more efficient, well-structured and world class mass transportation system that would facilitate ease of movement within the city".
The excruciating experiences that come with riding on a Danfo have brought about the idea of banishing it. From reckless driving to poor maintenance, and those who live through ones' hard earned income with their kleptomaniac- fingers. Never forgetting those who has also turned Danfo into a market hub. In fact, riding on a Danfo is a place where people breathe through each others nose. This same eyesore experience pivoted the ban on Molue (an ancestor to Danfo )and saw the launch of BRT, a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities. It was believed that the launch of BRT will put a stop to this menace but the solution didn't change much. There is little or no difference between Molue of then and BRT of today these days. If you doubt me, ask Lagosians. It looks we are on the verge of repeating same old mistake.
In his words, Ambode stated that “When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses and see Okada and all kinds of tricycles and then we claim we are a mega city, that is not true and we must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running”. It's reasonable to say the commercial hearts of Nigeria which had since been enduring the eyesore experience that comes with commuting through Danfo is apparently getting a relief. But, it's pertinent to know banishing Danfos isn't a parameter for a mega city. Nevertheless, the upsurge consequence of such act should be considered. How do you provide for Danfo drivers who solemnly rely on Danfo for their livelihood? What provision would be made for an efficient, adequate and sustainable means of transportation for Lagosians? Does banishing Danfo centers Lagos as a Megacity when its fundamental problem is yet to be addressed?
Like Osarumen Osamuyi, head of production at Techcabal stated "it feels like Ambode wants to sweep anything that isn't "ultramodern" under the rug but not address the conditions that support them".
Dubia today is well celebrated for building and fixing their fundamental problem which is infrastructure.
The recurring population growth of the city, bad road network and traffic congestion is a want that needs to be addressed. Seemingly, strategic plans on fixing the fundamental problems that plague Lagosians should be put in place before anything else.
Photo credit: @NubiKay