They appeared to have just closed from work. The 5ft4 lady standing in the middle of the three friends, holding her handbag on its sling in between her legs, looked left and then painstakingly looked right, mimicking the demeanor of ladies in the corporate world.
It seemed as though the slightly out of shape male, wearing a black face cap and dressed like a creative designer alongside the fair big body lady standing to the far left, were in a thought synchronisation of sort, as all three simultaneously took their first step and crossed the service lane, immediately strolling across the near empty Yaba bound half of Ikorodu expressway, Lagos. Now standing on the centre median, in preparation to cross the Ikeja bound half of the expressway, they took a long gaze at the heavy-moving traffic pouring past from their right and they probably expected it will be a long wait.
As he looked towards the onrushing flood of headlights, from his body language, “I hope no one sees me” is the thought I would guess was on the mind of the creative designer dress-alike, when he swaggishly pulled the face cap he was wearing lower over his face on the well lit Ikorodu expressway.
I, on the other hand, had taken a routine stroll from my home, which, by the way, is less than two minutes walk to the shoulder of the Yaba bound Ikorodu express servicelane where I stood, observing the three educated road crossers.
A little less than 350 meters to my right stood the Obanikoro pedestrian bridge. Think of Usain Bolt’s 9secs 100m dash x 400m = 36secs. So for the average walker, from the point at which the 3 friends crossed, it’s less than some 5 minutes walk to the bridge.
Out of nowhere, I saw a man with light build sharply jog across the service lane, then crossed to the expressway median where the three friends had now been waiting for roughly 2 minutes.
The fair big body lady looked in his direction, as the man stepped atop the median. He stood less than 6 meters away from she and her company. The curvy lady returned her gaze quickly towards the traffic direction and you could tell, from body language, she cared less about anyone driving past and recognising her.
The way she boldly looked to the oncoming flood of headlights suggested a lady confident in her powers. On a different day and in a different setting, a motorist would have slowed down for her to safely cross over, pedestrian crossing or none.
This Man though did not slowdown.
Moving towards the friends, he seemed to be making some hurried calculations as he took his left foot off the median and landed it on the expressway. It couldn’t have been up to 3 secs after crossing the Ikeja bound Ikorodu expressway that the next wave of traffic tore past behind the man.
It’s well past 3 minutes now and the friends are still on the median, waiting. The 5ft4 lady broke away from her company and headed toward the point at which the man with light build had just crossed from. Whatever luck was left in that spot, I would suppose, she hoped to enjoy same.
I turned and started walking home, hands in pocket, thinking about the roadcrosser’s I just observed and many other roadcrossers across the State.
- Lagos state has tried with building bridges and sensitizing people about its benefits, to sink it into the consciousness of residents to embrace using them. Still, one is dismayed to see all categories of people from pregnant women, to fathers holding little kids, youths returning from church or mosques and even people with disabilities etc, all crossing the expressway especially right under pedestrian bridges! On the flipside of the situation, one understands that distance between pedestrian bridges can dissuade even the most educated pedestrians. I.e. hundreds of people who have to cross the road strip between Anthony bustop, where a pedestrian bridge is located and Obanikoro, where the pedestrian bridge after it is sited, they have to walk one mile, more or less. Yet, distance shouldn’t be an excuse for risking one’s life when the bridge is right over our heads or a few 100 yards away from us. It also means that the state government must not relent efforts in expanding bridge infrastructures so as to enable/enforce more commitment from Lagosians to cultivate using them.
- Importance of self leadership and taking initiative. There are some risk not worth taking in life and crossing expressways is one of those. If you must cross them at all, be sharp. Even then, things can still awfully go wrong: a small miscalculation can lead to life-long regrets. Leadership starts with self-governance and being able to discern what risks are worth taking or not is key to developing our leadership capabilities. What type of risks are you willing to take as an individual? Are you the type who would cross the express without thinking twice but when it comes to investments, you tend to be over cautious and risk averse? In the end, The Principle of the Lid states: we can only rise as high in life as our leadership capabilities permit. Think about that the next time you choose to cross the expressway.