Here at the Mobility blog, we have been conducting a national survey of mobile subscribers for some months now. We had covered some cities in

Lagos to Zaria by road, with 2 phones and 3 SIMs – Part 1

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Here at the Mobility blog, we have been conducting a national survey of mobile subscribers for some months now. We had covered some cities in the West of Nigeria. We also had Abuja covered.

We recently made a contact in Zaria, and then decided to get there to set things in motion. Being the adventurous person that I am, I thought it would be fun to drive all the way with Dayo. We would go via Abuja. I had been to Abuja twice before this time, once by coach, and the other by air.

My wife gasped, choked and spluttered at the news of the road trip. My staff protested. I persisted.

First up, and probably most important gadget for a road trip is – wrong – a car. Yep; its mobile; isn’t it? My vehicle is a 1.4 cc engine Hyundai Accent 2008 model with a mileage of just 35,000 kilometres on it since its purchase 3 years ago.

Next was my Nokia N8 which served as a mobile phone and exclusive camera all through the trip. With the N8 around, there was simply no point attempting to take pictures with any other device. It also served as a backup web browser at various times.

I had a backup device, the E7. Its primary duty was to serve as a mobile PC to get our work done on the move.

I also had a portable loudspeaker for enjoying great quality music in our hotel rooms.

Those were the gadgets that I packed along, though Dayo had his own small list.

In the following parts of this series, I will share with you how Nokia Maps helped (or hindered) us in navigating hundreds of kilometres across Nigeria. I will also share our experiences with the various mobile networks, as well as pictures we took here and there.

Have you taken a cross-country trip of this sort before? What were your experiences with mobile networks like? What gagdets did you put to use and how did you use them?


  1. Can’t wait to read this, and about how good Nokia map is. The thought of losing my Nokia map and Garmin maps makes me wanna keep my E71 forever. I just hope Nokia maps is included in Nokia’s WP7 devices else it would be a no-no for me

  2. Nope, never made that length of journey by road. The best I have done terretrially is Lagos to Abuja. and Lagos to Enugu. For lengthier journeys, flight would seem like a safer bet for me.

    Not sure it is advisable driving so many kilomtetres on Nigerian roads. The fear of Boko Haram is also the quintessence of wisdom o!

    But then, what is life without the occasional rush af adrenaline and exhiliration?

  3. @Yomi, I think your trip is a good idea. Not only for this blog for your whole perception of Nigeria. I have gone to Lagos from Maiduguri before by bus. It’s a roughly 17 hour journey. I have also done a Maiduguri to Umuahia journey more than once. Those trips have not only helped me get out of my locality but also changed my perception of Nigeria. Despite our myriads of problems, I am now a firm believer in Nigerian people.

  4. Brilliant Idea. Eager to see and read more.

    My longest journey by road was Lagos to Abuja but the most recent I had was Lagos to Ilesha.

  5. Yeah, I made some trips… Lagos to Abakaliki, Calabar to Lagos, Ibadan to Enugu bla bla bla but there were all the same when it comes to connectivity, sonetimes your phone dies, resurrects, don’t bother listenning to radio. internet radio is a no go also online videos.

  6. Longest journey i ever made by road: Sapele to Kaduna. Good road network after crossing to the upper side of the niger river. Good networks too. Very stable when available. MTN coverage was the best then (i mean road coverage back on 2007).

    I wouldn’t think of such a journey now. Not with boko haram up north and ransom kidnappers down south.

  7. good idea. going by road will give you guys an indept knowledge of coverage areas as at today. not just for networks, but also for available maps, google, nokia, Garmin, sygic e.t.c. enough data to gather. I will suggest that you add in-car charger to your gadgets. have a safe trip bro.

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