YBTC News-Every society has a unit that made up each branch. The government at all levels, therefore, needs to put every unit into consideration in its vision and development plans. What this means is that every class, lower, the middle or upper class should be included and put into consideration in every serious government development agenda.
However, this universal belief of all-inclusiveness appears to be lacking in the “Greater Lagos” vision that Lagos state government has been advocating since the inauguration of the present administration. There is a number of reasons that resonate that the policies of the present administration will not make life better for the common man but expand the wealth entity of the haves.
These policies can be observed in the government’s dealing with investors. These are people that will employ persons from the lower class and uplift their status to the middle class. But government policies are driving toward the edge of giving licenses to investors, operate for a short period of time and deny them the space to operate by making laws that will hinder their operation in a short period of time.
Meanwhile, the money these people used for investment has not been realized when reason along. What this means is that these investors will lose trust in any government that deny them the space to operate after collecting billions of naira before starting their operation. They will also entrench their employees who are striving to survive daily and also send messages to future investors who are willing to explore the future opportunities we have in our dear country for investors.
Government Policy on Transportation as A Case Study
The recent law of the Lagos state government that banned the activities of motorcycles and tricycles in some areas of the state is a reflection of the lack of trust on the part of the government to investors and its people. This is because this government gave licenses to some motorcycles just last year to operate in the state and it is not up to a year, the same government has denied them the space to operate by making new laws.
Lagos state is one of the states in Nigeria that crave for direct investment. Unfortunately, the state government has recently displayed its lack of sincerity in its “Greater Lagos” vision by imposing a ban on a franchised transport system where users can actually estimate the fares even before leaving their homes. The government has, therefore, tells investors that coming to Lagos is a 50/50 risk, you can start operating today and the government will change its policies tomorrow in which you may be the major victim.
Also, the government has exemplified to the people that its focus is to make life comfortable for the haves while the haves-not have no space in the “Greater Lagos” agenda. This is because the larger percentage of these franchised motorcycles companies’ employees are the haves-not who are trying to occupy the middle class, thus, they have been entrenched.
Aside from that, many Lagosians who use these platforms have been taken back and subjected to the system they are just moving away from. This is the type of transportation system where no one can actually estimate the cost of transportation. What determines transport fare in this system is the influence of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) popularly known as “Agbero”.
The Influence of the Agberos
The Agbero in Lagos has become an institution that makes life difficult for the people and that the government appears to be strengthening the Agbero institution. They dictate the prices of transportation at their own discretion and collect the unnecessary amount of money from commercial bus drivers.
The government, on the other hand, is not doing anything to reduce the strength of this institution. Lagosians feel their strength is reduced when Babatunde Fashola’s administration introduced and maintained a transport system for his eight years. Unfortunately, the transport system was disrupted by Fashola’s successor, Akunwunmi Ambode.
Ambode claimed to rebrand and reintroduce the transport system which means that Lagosians have to start again. Sadly, the rebranding and reintroduction could not reach a reasonable height before the expiration of his administration.
The introduction of these franchised motorcycles actually challenged the activities of the Agbero. This means that the best business environment is where there is room for strong competition. While the banning of these franchised motorcycle operators can be seen as a system of monopolizing the transport system under the institution of the Agberos.
Shortcomings of Government’s Alternatives
Truly, the state government has said that it has provided alternatives by providing more bus and ferry boats. However, considering the Lagos population, transportation should not be only provided by the government and not by one means. Besides, the number of buses provided by the government is not enough. There is a need to bring in more franchised companies to complement the government’s efforts.
For instance, the ban of tricycles in some routes in Lagos is more detrimental to human movement in Lagos. These tricycles ply some areas that government busses cannot reach such as Ikeja under-bridge to Allen Avenue and other areas in the state like that.
The introduction of minibusses known as “Korepa” in areas like these is not encouraging because these Korepes are directly under the Agberos. Thus, this is like taking Lagosians back to what they feel is reducing in strength and strengthening the Agberos institutions.
Therefore, the Lagos state government should try and consider all things to make its policies and visions more inclusive of all human units of society. The transportation system in Lagos is a big industry that should not be under one institution, there should be more franchised and register companies. The government needs to focus on creating a workable environment for investors rather than competing with investors such as upgrading our roads.
This will enhance the security measure of the government once duly registered and properly monitored. It is also essential for the government to know that cutting off the head is not the solution to headaches. All means of transportation are subjected to accidents and can be used to carry out crimes. The popular government’s BRTs are responsible for some accidents in the state just as the motorcycles are.
Thus, the government should regulate the activities of the tricycles and motorcycles rather than banning them. Franchised companies should give adequate training and orientations to their employees especially on speed limits and other traffic rules. All these means of transportation have greater impacts on the daily life of the people. The government, therefore, should rise to its responsibility of providing adequate security for the people as criminals will find other means of committing crimes if motorcycles are banned.