Most Nigerians are all too familiar with this circumstance. Once more, you’re stuck in a snarl of highway traffic. There are numerous idle vehicles all around you. You are frustrated and wondering, “How did you get here?”
It wasn’t a mistake. You have no option but to spend additional hours in traffic as routes get blocked since rallies are being done = political gladiators hold countless walks here and there to demonstrate support for their principals.
For Nigerians, especially those who live in Lagos, mobility is a daily concern. Many Lagosians must combine different modes of transportation, such as the Metro, danfo, and semi-private microbuses, to get around the city’s sprawling urban area and nearly 20 million residents. All of this is made worse by the recent political marches and car rallies that impede transportation in this developing megacity and other regions of the nation. Moreover, with two months to the polls, political parties are intensifying their campaigns in states with large election turnouts – Lagos, Kano, Rivers, and Oyo.
Chinedu is aware of the difficulties with public transportation in Lagos during the election. In election cycles, this 55-year-old spends more time in traffic from his house to the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, where he works. He added as he waited for a bus at an unidentified stop along his usual travel route, “I used to take two to three buses to get to the airport. However, they may not show up if the roads are congested due to rallies. When the bus was delayed, Chinedu said, “I’d take a taxi-hailing service to a neighbouring landmark and take a shuttle bus from there to the airport, but it is more expensive.” Chinedu continued. Experiences like Chinedu’s are typical in Lagos at this time.
Political rallies and freedom of association
Justice Daniel Osiagor sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos, had ordered the Labour Party and its supporters not to assemble at the Lekki toll gate for its #Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally on October 1, 2022. However, they may pass through the location to access Falomo Bridge and another area. The Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of the Lagos State Police were instructed to guarantee that the directive was followed. Convergence at the Lekki tollgate would have caused traffic on the highway, making it difficult for people to commute.
Democratic rights, such as the right to assemble freely, are subject to limitations. For instance, a loudspeaker public rally is not permitted in front of a hospital.
Political gatherings that are slated to occur in commercial areas or on public streets should be under supervision. Party offices can be placed in commercial areas, where they can host press conferences or small gatherings of party members. However, how realistic does a sizable gathering sound in front of the party office in the busy central business district?
The comfort and rights of other people must be maintained and guaranteed in our pursuit of unrestrained political expression.