Actions without consequences encourage more of the same

May Debo’s soul rest in peace.

I have never been to heaven so can’t really say that someone whose life’s aspirations dashed right before their eyes without a moment warning and from a completely preventable cause would have a restful soul.

May the family of Debo Ladoja be granted with strengths to deal with their loss.  Auto accidents in Nigeria is a plague that would never go away unless we collectively find ways of addressing the root of the problem – make reckless drivers face the full consequences of their actions. Well, that sounds like a good idea but we need to start with issuing driver’s licence to the people who can demonstrate driving competency on the roads in the first place.

Whenever there is a report of yet another fatality on our roads – which is everyday and everywhere we show empathy and offer our condolences, most of the road fatalities go unreported, I guess we are tired of reporting ‘bad news’ so we talked about it briefly and moved on.

My cousin was involved in a terrible car accident a few years back, her left knee was crushed so spent months at Lagos, LUTH. According to her, it was not her driver’s fault, the other driver appeared to be under influence of drugs. I pitied her as now she has a mark to remember the accident for as long as she lives – one leg shorter than the other. She is very lucky to have survived. Her driver was fine, one passenger died. So I asked “Does Tunde have a driver’s license?” “He is a final year medical student at OAU” Wumi said with no slight thought to what she said.

I deliberately didn’t ask if Tunde was a ‘good driver’ I know some kids who grew up with family cars started driving very young and many responsible parents would insist their children do practical test so as to get their licence, this usually included driving on Highway so a bit of familiarity there to prepare one for future emergencies. In Tunde’s case, no licence and does not drive often but knew what the peddles do and have experience of driving in his local town but the accident happened on Ibadan – Lagos Highway where his driving competency was faced with real life challenge – he failed. It was a case closed and the family of the lady who died was made to thank God as that was how God wanted it.

We love giving testimonies during Sunday services, a fantastic idea as it allows us to count our blessings and appreciate being alive to witness all the wonders around us. However, maybe we should be paying a bit more attention to the stories and learn from them especially things that no one should ever be thankful for!

Baba Tope was a truck driver for a big business man in my local town. He was trusted with picking up orders and delivery of goods. Travels a lot throughout the country. Whenever he was around, always had a near death driving testimony to give. Among his many testimonies, was him seeing herd of cows on the road and was left with no option but to drive through them – this was all in Baba Tope’s head. In reality, he drove through screaming market women in a local Ondo street market. The women spotted his recklessness quick enough so they ran for their lives – leaving their goods behind. He eventually stopped when he hit a tree. He was arrested, boss, the big man got involved – the verdict? No one dies, what’s the wahala?

Baba Tope was a drunk, everyone around my church knows this but unofficially agree that, that is very common with truck drivers. The day of that particular accident, Baba Tope was not supposed to be close to any road giving the level of his intoxication let alone be behind a steering wheel.

I remember Baba Tope’s story because it did not end well. By now you can guess how it all end – He left a young wife and three children behind. He was a good guy and very funny, well, drunk – driving aside.

He would be alive today if our so many laws that were meant to protect us were duly implemented.

I was impatient at the lights once, went through amber turning red – was caught, got fined (enough to pay for a nice handbag, ouch!) got 3 points that lasted 4 whole years on my UK licence and best part of a day to sort it all out and four years to regret one second offence – lesson learned.