Every working day, Kate Gabriel a, civil servant and mother of 3 commutes from Masaka, on the outskirt of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to the Federal Secretariat located in the Central Business District Abuja.
To arrive at her office early, Gabriel must wake up at about 4.50 am to prepare for work. She must leave home before 5.30 am in order to beat the Mararraba-Nyanya-Kugbo-AYA traffic snail that the users of the road endure on daily basis.
As a housewife and working class woman, this is not an easy task but Gabriel has to endure it in order to avoid severe verbal reprimand from her boss or even a query.
This situation is not obtainable in Abuja alone. It is replicated in virtually every major city in Nigeria, although the difference is the severity of the traffic snarl.
In the case of Mararraba-Nyanya-Kugbo-AYA traffic jam, several hours are lost as commuters spend several hours, in some instances, more than three hours’ for a trip that otherwise would not last more than 30 minutes.
Though there are other human factors such as impatient drivers or accidents, more often than not, this traffic jam is caused by failed portions of the road, particularly, in the Masaka, Nyanya (building materials), and Mararaba, (Sharp Corner Bus stop) segments of the federal road.
According to Statista, a data bank, as at 2018, with 36 ,000 kilometres of road Federal Government has built crisscrossing the length and breadth of the nation, Nigeria has one of the largest road networks in Africa.
Nigeria’s estimated 200 million people bring heavy pressure on road infrastructure and humans and millions of tons of goods are transported via road.
This is compounded by the fact that the railway and aviation sub-sectors that ought to take off part of the pressure are not fully developed yet.
Maintaining this large road network poses a massive headache to government, and that led to the creation of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, (FERMA) as an agency of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
However, while FERMA says it is doing its best to fix the bad portions of federal roads, many Nigerians complain that its efforts is not good enough and has resulted in the frustrating situation many road users, such as Gabriel experience on a daily basis.
However, one man has chosen to make a difference by dedicating his time and resources toward patching up the failed portions of roads in Abuja in order to ameliorate the plight of commuters.
On a daily basis, except Sundays, Mr Daniel Davoe can be seen on different portion of this road. Armed with his shovel, Davoe goes to road reconstruction sites to load excavated tar, and stones which he transports to failed portions and use to repairs those segments to contribute his quota towards relieving the agony road users in Abuja go through.
He said in an interview that he is inspired by the desire to make changes and contribute his quota towards finding a solution the challenge faced by the road uses.
According to him, he can be an agent of change and a source of succor to the road users, no matter how temporary, pending the time a permanent solution would be provided by the government.
For his efforts he receives no payments excepts show of appreciation and joyful disposition of road users who are delighted by his efforts.
‘’I have been doing this charity work for more than 20 years now, and I don’t have any regrets.
“Rather, I am happy that I can put joy on the faces of fellow Nigerians when they move freely on the road unhindered by hold ups occasions by large gullies on the roads while we wait on the government to execute more holistic repairs.
“Sometimes I wake up as early as 4 am from my house at Jikwoyi along Kurudu Road, Abuja for the road that I have selected to work on.
“Sometimes I work in Mararaba, Masaka, Jikwoyi, Karu, Durunmi, Gwagwalada; depending on any road in FCT that requires my intervention.
“It is my prayer that other Nigerians will join me in this enterprise. I have appealed to them but no one seems to be interested in undertaking this assignment. Maybe it is because it is an unpaid and thankless job”, he said.
Davoe’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by some of the road users and they are grateful.
“The last time he repaid the Sharp Corner segment of the road, I was very happy because his effort reduced the time I spent on the road every morning by more than two hours”, say Mr Kenneth Okafor, a civil servant residing in Ado.
A similar view is shared by Ms Joy Bulus who runs an eatery at Area 1, as she is grateful to Davoe for complementing government’s efforts to ensure that Abuja residents move around with less difficulty.
“How I wish many of us will emulate him in providing answers to our collective problems.” she said.
Observers say though Davoe’s efforts seem to be a drop in the ocean, more could be achieved if a lot of Nigerians applied his pragmatic solution to some of our daily challenges as a nation.
CREDITED: Uche Anunne, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)