If Mr. Wasiu Olaitan had kept his tradition of not going out to work on Thursdays, perhaps he would have been in the comfort of his home today – hale and hearty. A 41-year-old commercial bus driver, who augments his daily income by operating as a vulcaniser by the side, the father of three invests much of his energy and time into productive activities that would help put food on the table for his family. Abandoning his native Ile-Ife, an ancient town in Osun State boasting of a rich culture and tradition, several years ago in favour of Lagos where his search for a better life has continued, Alawasi, as he is fondly called by those close to him, has not really had it easy over time. Though managing to build a small house in the Ibafo area of Ogun State to shelter his family, the middle-aged man has continued to contend with all manner of struggles in his quest for a major breakthrough in life.
On Thursday afternoon, while ferrying passengers in his 18-seater bus from Lagos to the Mowe/Ibafo area of neighbouring Ogun, a bigger worry was added to Olaitan’s growing list. A speeding tanker laden with around 33, 000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit – one of the deadliest and easily combustible liquids in the world – that had lost control suddenly fell a few metres away from Otedola Bridge, a popular axis along the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, spilling its content all over the place and bursting into flames shortly afterwards. The 41-year-old whose commercial bus was directly behind the ill-fated tanker, the moment brought a glimpse of perhaps what the end of the world would look like.