Travels in safe terrain is joyful. It is an eye opener and educates without instructors. Travels do away with daily fixations. It challenges sliding thoughts that limits factual knowledge.
Travel throws dignified ignorance into incinerating dump, leaving the ashes permanently. Indeed, ignorance that denies one of varieties of life goodness is quickly rested without a word. Travels make the
feel, the touch, the performance different.
As one leaves the city and its disturbing spectacles,one is forced to a triple view – the road stretch and the two sides of the road. While vehicles speed, roll and sometimes stop because of potholes, our thoughts narrow down to road uncertainties. Some would quietly pray for journey mercies while others sing “You Are Great” and “Shout Hallelujah.”
In the face of bellicose drivers of all hues competing, trailer drivers mostly impose a limit to ones stretch of thoughts by the way they move. Even so, green forest, lush fields, some mowed, irresistibly tune the mind to imaginations different from the one the city instigates.
Many things would not go unnoticed. We are from Lagos on East bound journey. You are sure to see overloaded Bedford trucks with timbers overlapping vehicle size. They speed dangerously. Someone in the bus would ask: Do the Forest Guards see them? Why do they choose to look at the other side? Why do the officers with wine colored tops prefer to stop other vehicles instead of the overloaded ones? We don’t have the answer.
We must cross many rivers before the Cross Rivers!
Rivers are the dotting lines in the south near the Atlantic. Ogun rivers confront you in the west before Osse Rivers in Ondo and Edo states. As you drive, bridge mounts compel extreme care in order not to loose control. Ovia river seems to present the worst nightmare for articulated vehicles, a Waterloo of a sort. Accidents at that spot are given ethereal verses by locals.
From Benin you pass the “Seven Rivers and Seven Grassland to Ogiso Palace.” It is a common sign post in the fables and oral history of the people – west of the Niger. In reality, these are the seven undulating terrain with rivers from Benin to Agbor.
Then, the big one, maker of Nigeria – the Niger. We call it Oshimili. It is said that “you can’t finish swimming in Oshimili and water in a wash hand pan drowns you!” This a high impact statement of courage.
The environmental scan continues. What do you see? The way houses are built. The streets and sewage channels. Are these signs of modern world? Are the communities receding to antiquity? What is the dominant mode of transportation? Are automobiles, motorbikes -Okada the deal? Why are the streets filled with youths trekking as if they are being driven by war? How are they dressed? What landmark development is on-going? These scans build up to enrichment that travel provides.
As we travel through the roads, recurring vistas are Okada and tricycles. Okada transportation seems to be every where. Those who operate it are mostly youths. Many of them look comfortable with it!
Then the question:
What career threshold does Okada business hold for youths? For those who are actively engaged in it, how can they transit? In manpower planning you think about the future. Beyond quality productive lives, what kind of dominant structure is in the making as all societies move? Is banning and phasing out of Okada from city centers dealing with the major issue? Where will these riders transit in the economy? Will Tricycle- Keke deal with the transition challenge? What can be the long term solution? To obviate a generation or generations that may not transit to something better or higher as they move to the high point of life – 50s and 60s: What can be done?
These are big questions. If you have a passion for youth development you must have a word. What do say?