Let Us Change Our Dirty Old Habits On The Road

by Ahmad Isyaku-Katsina

It is greatly saddening seeing how some Nigerians that have been yelling and agitating for ‘change’ in the country fail to look at themselves and make a change first. This raises the question whether some of this people are ready to mend their ways or waiting for the government to bring change to them. Change is supposed to start at many levels like political, economic , spiritual , moral , patriotic and intellectual life. But it is very unfortunate that today we forget our responsibilities as agents of change. Some of us reduced the change to only political and economic levels, which they see as only government’s responsibility. We are not doing our part well and we forget our duties and responsibilities at all these levels as citizens of Nigeria. Change should start with you and me before staring at the government to make any difference.

Everyday we spend a great deal of time watching the news or surfing the Internet to know how the new government is dealing with the corrupt public servants at the top,  those who stole our billion of nairas, or law offenders of one sort or another that walked away with impunity during the former government’s tenure. We lament the former government’s misdeed and corruption and the lawlessness of the time. We also talk about the corruption, the problems and the difficulties we went through because of the former government’s irresponsible attitude. While talking about all these issues we also thank God for bringing the saviour of our nation, President Muhammadu Buhari. We commend the efforts of this hero for his zero tolerance against corruption and lawlessness. 29th of May this year was a memorable day in Nigeria – the new dawn of our nation. We woke up the next day in the cool hours of the morning and felt the presence of law and order returned , as well as the glory of our dear nation recovered.

Today, we are happy that ‘stealing is corruption’ and ‘nobody is above the law’, but I was quite surprised at my unfortunate experiences that some people that agitated for change have not changed their ways yet or relapsed into their old ways. Ironically, some of this people can not even obey simple traffic laws that are meant to save lives and ensure safety for our well-being.

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding my bike when I was stopped at an intersection by a traffic signal. I waited patiently for the green light to give me a command to go. I had my eyes fixed at the traffic light counting down seconds, staring up at the numbers – 05, 04, 03, 02 then I checked my way to see if it is clear in reservation before I drove across, but all of a sudden, I saw a thing in a flash of speed passed across the road in front of me. I could not believed what I saw. Here is what happened in a clear flashback: no sooner had the green light showed than a fast moving car from the other road by my right showed up at a breakneck speed – running a red light across the road. I was terribly shocked. The people by the roadside gasped in disbelief and shock. ‘Oh, that’s terrible!’ someone said, ‘It’s APC’s car’. I looked at the road to the left – to see whether if I could see the evidence for myself but the vehicle seemed to have disappeared in a maddening speed. I could have been killed if I did not wait for a while. It was God’s grace that saved me. The driver was flirting with death. ‘If Mr President or the governor saw this man, they would disassociate themselves from him and condemn his reckless act. In fact, he will even go to jail for this if he kills someone’, I thought aloud. If you are driving in our towns you know what I mean. You might have experienced something like this or similar instances of traffic violations like, speeding, running a stop sign, distracted driving, and reckless driving such as racing another vehicle , etc.

So if people can not tear themselves away from their old habits of breaking laws, especially violating simple traffic laws that would save life, what change are they expecting to happen? Change means that you and I start to change our ways. The government can not cure all the ills of our country, especially our bad attitudes if we are not ready to change. Of course it is traffic police and Road Safety officers who should intensify their efforts in order restore sanity on our roads but we need to have self-discipline. If public office looters kill the economy and Boko Haram kills lives, speeding also kills and so do the other offences that we think are minor . Since It’s a change that we want , let us mend our ways. Obeying traffic rules and regulations are one of the duties and attitude of a good Nigerian citizen.