Anyone seeing the North American emergency response system to automobile accidents for the first time can not but marvel at the level of preparedness for such emergencies. In almost any given accident, a firetruck, a police car and an ambulance would always be seen. These three departments combine to respond to a distress call of an accident. It is surely a tradition borne from history, knowing very well that people who suffer an accident often get hurt and so need an ambulance; there is the possibility of fire and so a firetruck is there on standby; and of course the police is there to regulate law and order and wrap up the closing of the accident scene. Amazing system, borne from history.
Now such a system does not come cheap and only a naive person would canvass for such, at least for now, in the present day developing countries like Nigeria where it is at yet difficult to get an emergency response of even the police at crime scenes. What is affordable however is the emulation of the logic that has led to the formulation of such response to existent problems in the North American society.
My interest while ruminating on this efficient emergency response is not quite about accident scenes as such. It is rather a question as to why many problems have plagued us for decades in Nigeria and we are still leaving with them. Our fathers lived with them, we the children have lived with them for decades, and we are passing them on to the younger generation. No solution, no apparent, calculated ways forward save for some grotesque dancing forward and backward. Why does it need to take us so long? Someone said our democracy is still very young. I say “is that why we should still be living in darkness after 50 years? Is that why our young ones are out of school and studies for a whole two months due to lecturers’ industrial strike? Is that why roads, for instance the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, are repeatedly awarded for repairs for the past 40 years and only getting worse, claiming hundreds of lives yearly? Is that why the 8th producer of petroleum worldwide had to sell its only national air carrier, has no decent rail system and absolutely no underground traffic system?” Come on guys, let us not deceive ourselves. We have wasted and have been wasted for years, our successive governments have not learnt from the myriads of problems that the country has faced, they have not formed formidable responses to them. It would therefore seem there is a beacon shinning bright, desperately calling to the younger generation to stand up and call for an end to this paranoia, whatever sacrifice it takes.
Even as I write the leaders of the people are re-positioning for power in 2015, considering those ridiculous strategies like rotation of power or zoning. Of course if things go the same way, names that we have always heard from as far back as 1965 shall still be calling the shots, they will waste the next four years in the life of the people, and we shall simply grin-on like Fela’s suffering-and-smiling subjects .
My position again is: we may not be able to afford the response of the firetruck, a police car and an ambulance to every single scene of an accident. But to be plagued by challenges for over 50 years without meaningful change is absolutely ridiculous. If it is not, I do not know any other thing that is. Our country needs an emergency response now.
On a lighter note, who goes first at the intersection 🙂 ?