It is one of the highlights of a four-year effort to transform Lagos. The awe-inspiring structure of steel and glass, rose from the rubble, gleaming and straddling highway, adding a spectacular perspective to the otherwise jaded skyline. The Oshodi Transport Interchange, the latest in the series of the monumental structures that grace public spaces in an evolving Lagos, is its own league.
In the runup to the celebration of the Lagos at 50 epoch, the city has been witnessing the appearance of a slew of roundabouts, laybys, walkways, bridges and bus stops. In the matrix of artistic and avant-garde projects spawned in the past four years, the Oshodi Interchange stands out as a construction magnum opus.
From the beginning of its construction to its completion (soon), the structure has perpetually wowed the public. In the first few months of its construction, the steel contraption jutting into the sky was astounding to the multitude that daily passed through the axis––not many could comprehend what was coming to Oshodi; now, in its state of near completion, the edifice leaves many in raw awe; their wonderment, rooted in the magnitude of transformation––both aesthetic and utility––that has become of the Oshodi of old.
A few years back, Oshodi used to be a vortex of untamable traffic, a metaphor for Lagos’ burgeoning population, a stark reminder of the need for a comprehensive transport system that meets the demand of the city’s over 20 million citizens, a nightmare for those caught in the web of its underbelly. In its dark, dangerous, nerve-wracking heyday, Oshodi was an apt byword for traffic chaos and confusion.
The Oshodi Transport Interchange is not a standalone project. Rather it is part of the Bus Reform Initiative of the administration of Governor Akinwumi Ambode. New bus terminals daily spring up in the city, bringing order and beauty to the landscape of Lagos. Of them all, the Oshodi interchange is the biggest and the most iconic so far. The reason behind the government constructions of terminals– Ikeja Bus Terminal, Berger Bus Terminal, Yaba Bus Terminal, Oyigbo Bus Terminal and Race Cross Bus Terminal–was the desire to make Lagos function like other megacities in the developed world.
Governor Ambode himself has also affirmed as much. “If I say Lagos is going to be globally competitive, I must do things that work towards Lagos being competitive,” he says, “so that it becomes the best destination that anybody would like to visit, nobody who is a tourist in Lagos would enter danfo; it is not going to happen. So, we need to intervene and make the system work the way we really want it to work.”
Terminal Three of the facility became functional on May 2, 2019, after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned it on May 1. Terminal One and Two are billed to become operational by the end of the month. Terminal Three can handle 4, 000 passengers at a go. At full capacity, the interchange is expected to process an estimated three million passengers per day. While terminal One handles inter-city transportation, Terminal Two focuses exclusively on the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT scheme, and services commuters from Oshodi to Abule Egba, Okokomaiko, LASU and other far-flung areas. The third terminal is for buses plying between Oshodi and the Islands––Ikoyi Victoria, Lagos––and places adjacent to the routes, like Surulere and Ikorodu. Collectively, the three terminals will serve 1,000 modern buses.
This West Africa’s busiest Transport Interchange is constructed purely by Planet Project Limited, an indigenous construction firm.
It has been a long effort to tame and transform Oshodi. Eventually, it has been achieved.