It was a sunny day in Uyo. The sun blazed as if it was about to explode. The lights had just indicated RED, every engine stopped. Hawkers—boys, girls, men women ran to the now-on-rest engines, each of them displaying their goods. One of the women had a child on her back as she displayed her oranges to passengers of a bus. That’s the way it would be.
Uyo is a city lying 5.0333° N, 7.9167° E. It is a city in south-eastern Nigeria and is the capital of Akwa Ibom State, a major oil producing state of Nigeria. The population of Uyo, according to the 2006 Nigerian Census which comprises Uyo and Itu, is 436,606.
Uyo is a fast-growing city, as the city has witnessed massive infrastructural growth in the past nine years. It has an intensive network of divided highways, such as the IBB Way, Atiku Abubakar Avenue, Udo Udoma Avenue, Nsikak Eduok Avenue, and Edet Akpan Avenue which is an eight-lane superhighway and currently the widest road in the Uyo metropolis.
Other Major Roads includes Abak Road, Oron Road, Nwaniba Road, Ikot Ekpene Road and Barracks Road. This roads have witnessed large numbers traffic as Civil Servants, Business Men and Women and others commute it on daily basis. Most of this Major roads have traffic lights positioned strategically,to help control traffic thereby engendering free flow. At this traffic lights are hawkers and traders who are poised to make a living from this new business opportunity.
On this sunny Thursday Afternoon, the tricycle I boarded on my way had come to a halt when the light showed RED. One of the women had a child on her back as she displayed her oranges to passengers of a bus. She sold lots of oranges from that point of sale.
Some group of men and women were on uniform, they were supposedly volunteering and begging for alms in behalf of a unnamed boy whose figure was disgusting because of an inflammation. Gosh.
Another was running to a Man who drove a Ford Explorer Jeep. He held belts, eye glasses and necklaces, bracelets. The Man whined down his glasses to hoard price.
The noise that filled the T-junction drew attention to another hawker who stood by the pedestrian pathway with a microphone in his hand advertising poison for rats and insecticides for ants and mosquitoes chanting in Annang “ibok ekpu, ibok ekpu awöd ekpu, ekpu inò, awöd mfem, awöd abong”
Another woman was singing with a tambourine in her hands, this one begging from alms because she is supposedly blind. She was guided to each Car and tricycle by a young boy, who wore an unclean top-ragged. She sang her song with an igbo accent. As to her condition, we cannot say.
Others were selling goods ranging from bags, marker board, plastics, and Call Credits.
Not left out were young boys of age between 9—12, who had already used 50cl bottles filled with clean water on one hand and a soapy foam on the other hand, washing Windscreens of vehicles and tricycles. After each service of washing for their traffic-held clients, they would be waged with #20 if a tricycle or #50/100 if an automobile.
Police men in their vans were positioned to book offenders of traffic laws.
Another group of heavy duty men were dressed in their traditional orange Polo, with inscriptions: Uyo Tricycle Tax Force. Before long, they started checking on Tricycle Rider to ensure that the daily tickets were bought by each and everyone of them. Unlucky, one of the Tricycle operators had failed to get ticketed. That was the end of the day for him. His keys were forcefully collected and all passengers ordered to get down.
Within few minutes all this took place. The light now turned Green and everyone struggled to get past it safely before it reverts to RED.
A man in a black Mercedes-Benz e250 sped off just after the lights had indicated RED again. He was was heading South of Abak Road, the Police, whose vehicle was steaming rushed in on him and got him arrested.
I watched closely from the Tricycle I was in on my way back from school. This is the way it would be.
This is the Life at the Traffic Lights in Uyo.
I will love you to share your experience, thank You,
Edidiong Ekong is a Website Developer , Creative Designer and a Social Media Strategist.
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