On Monday Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said he plans to banish the yellow Lagos mini buses popularly called danfo by the end of this year because they are “not acceptable and befitting for a mega-city”. Do you think this is a step in the right direction?
There are quite a number of factors that make Lagos the standout state in Nigeria. Surprisingly, the widely criticized trademark yellow commuter bus popularly called “danfo”is one of the peculiarities of Nigeria’s and Africa’s fastest growing city. But what happens when these buses are no more? Will it still feel like Lagos?
Now this is the raw deal, the golden boy of Lagos roads may soon lose its status if the words of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode are to be taken seriously. There is no doubt that danfo has a major stake in the chaotic traffic congestion that plagues the city of hustlers but it does also serve as respite to many. So you may be right to term it a necessary evil. But on a second thought, isn’t that just the lie we tell ourselves?
The sprawling metropolis of Lagos which is working tirelessly to attain mega-city status cannot reach such lofty heights with those yellow commuter buses still taking center stage. So how best can the government of the day solve a critical part of the issue that form the core of the mega-city clamour.
According to Governor Ambode, there is no way a mega-city can thrive with those yellow buses still plying Lagos roads relentlessly and recklessly like a ship without a rudder. There is no gainsaying that danfo buses do constitute nuisances on our road many times. In fact, the manner of disorderliness that plagues our road when these yellow buses come out en masse on full throttle can be likened to the mass protest that rocked the nation after the annulment of the 1993 presidential election by the then head of state of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
Moreso, danfo buses do act lawless on our roads and they’ve been responsible for a couple of ghastly accidents directly or indirectly especially when they are under attack from their greatest nemesis, Agberos and LASTMA officials. Of a truth, its replacement with modern public transportation system will solve a barrage of problems danfo buses pose on our roads but won’t it elicit new challenges for the masses?
What will become of the agberos and their chairmen who the drivers and conductors of these danfo buses pay homage to? Will the drivers and conductors of the danfo buses be put in charge of the modern public transportation that should supposedly replace the yellow buses? Won’t we be witnessing the same attitude from the drivers of the new buses as it was for them while spearheading the movement of the danfo buses if they happen to be put in charge of them too?
All these questions have to be deliberately answered before that idea can be accepted by a good majority of Lagosians, or is it just me speaking for myself?
That notwithstanding, it is high time we call a spade a spade. Most danfo drivers are unaware of highway codes, therefore a lot of sensitization need to be done if they are to remain pilots of the modern public transport system. In fact they really have to be born anew, so it won’t appear the modern transport service is just a repackaged danfo transport system controlled by the Ambode led Lagos state Government.
Also, the population in the city of excellence assumes astronomical heights where the demands of over 21 million people outweigh the supplies. The resultant effect of such population explosion is infrastructural decay, traffic congestion and ultimately, an arena where only the fittest survives. It is what you would call ‘fait accompli’. These yellow buses compound the woes of road users, however they have come to the rescue of many Lagosians at different periods especially when early birds have to leave home in other to beat traffic.
In addition, the dare devil activities of some if not many drivers and conductors of danfo buses make their presence on our roads distasteful to the powers that be and the highly placed people in our society, no doubt. Albeit, it still seems to be the most preferred form of travel for many workers.
Nonetheless, if we were to be honest with ourselves, you will agree with me that the menace of the Lagos danfo buses overrides the good they’ve done to Lagosians, especially the poor masses. Remember the days of old when ‘MOLUE’ was the most popular transport service in a city that once prided itself as the capital of the most populous black nation in the world. I’m sure most of us benefited immensely from the benevolence and doggedness of the dreaded Molue, and I’m certain we all do have our fair share of bad experiences in and out of Molue too. The sight of those gigantic buses alone can make ones heart leap out of position. Surprisingly Molues have not gone out of extinction still, however it’s only a matter of time as the same fate now awaits danfo buses.
Lagos danfo buses have a penchant for contravening traffic. You will find them on BRT lanes strictly meant for BRT buses and even on lawns and walkways designed for pedestrians and leisure seekers. With danfo buses, no one is safe, not even when you are in a ferry on the Atlantic ocean. A danfo could just skid off third mainland bridge and join you on the ocean, probably in its quest to beat traffic.
Danfo buses are famous for carrying more than the designated capacity of passengers, driving against traffic and if they had the chance they will stop to pick passengers right at the middle of Lagos-Ibadan expressway or on your street, it just depends on the kind of ‘weed’ the driver is smoking at that particular point in time. That is the level of impunity these danfo buses exercise on our roads and not just a mega city status should lead to their banishment.
I stand to be corrected though, but regardless don’t you think we can do without danfo buses in Lagos? While we wait till Ambode’s threat is carried out, it won’t be such a bad idea to imagine a Lasgidi without its trademark danfo buses.
Have your say…