The protest had been brewing for some time. Many vehicle owners had no idea something of that magnitude was in the making. They did not know that the notion, which states that misery loves company, had since expanded to include other categories. Vehicles that had been suffering bodily harm and injury, for years, had begun to share their tales of woes. As they moved about in the city, they shared their feelings on the worrying conditions of the roads.
Whenever a relative arrived from overseas and had it first baptism on the roads, the decibels of complains grew. Of course the decibels had been hovering around the limits for years considering the constant influx of vehicles from other climes. Vehicles that have never driven on roads of the kind they find in the city. Even accidented vehicles prefer their former abodes where they were spared further torture after their accidents. Here they are quickly cobbled together, and not given any chance to fully recover before they are driven out over those roads that easily aggravate the pains in their joints.
The vehicles continued to weigh their options to see which would have the biggest impact on the road administrators and managers. Already they had a comprehensive report on the leading complaints, especially from those who voiced their frustrations as they made their daily commute. Frustrations that were amplified whenever they heard some drivers talk about ‘where the rubber meets the road.’
When D-Day arrived, many of the vehicles plying the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, one of the most notorious of the roads, waited for the signal. Word had gone round that at the slightest display of callousness from any driver, the shutdown would be activated. All vehicles were to shut down immediately. Let the mechanics bring it on. The vehicles will be ready. If only drivers could hear, they would have known that the Berliet area of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, is one of the areas with the loudest complaints from the vehicles.
A certain driver who was doing his best to avoid some of the many potholes, which appeared like they were specially designed to make deep cuts and wounds on tyres, missed one of the holes hidden under a puddle. The next thing there was a loud bang followed by the sound of air escaping from the tyre. The driver came out of the car and out of frustration, slammed his right foot into the tyre. That was it! Other vehicles could not take it anymore. Why slam your feet into the face of the wounded? How inconsiderate could these humans get! The murmuring quickly spread among the vehicles on the road. In a matter of seconds there was a massive shut down. All vehicles on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, and adjoining roads shut down. No vehicle moved. Most drivers quickly reached for their cell-phones and began dialling their mechanics. Many of the bus-drivers and conductors who have had one engineering training or another, whipped open the hood of their engines to see what was amiss.
A few discerning drivers looked away from their phones after a brief moment, and saw the long line of vehicles. Something kicked in. This was not normal. And they suspended every other thought and worry. Many began to panic when they saw control slipping away from their grip. They considered what measures to apply to get back control but control had since left.
I learnt a very big lesson that day. The power of control is one that is given, and can be taken away. It is important what use control is put before it slips away, as it surely would when the time comes.