Former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, while in office, directed that no road should be closed for any social event so that other road users can have free access. That continued to large extent till the end of his administration. Is the situation the same now?
Recently, one Bashir, a Lagos resident claimed he lost his eight-day-old son after being allegedly trapped in a traffic jam caused by a stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressive Congress, APC in Lagos state held at the party secretariat, Acme road, Ogba. The Mother and some family members were taking the boy to the hospital when they were held up in the traffic. The meeting caused traffic on major roads around the APC state headquarters.
It was gathered that Bashir earlier took his child to one hospital but he was later referred to another hospital. A journey that could have taken about 15 minutes took him close to two and half hours and the child died in the process.
APC Lagos State Chairman, Henry Ajomale was the guest of popular public commentator, Jimi Disu in his Jimi Disu Discourse monitored on Lagos Talk91.3; Morning Digest last week. Jimi said that there was neither letter of apology from the party nor the a visit by the governor to the bereaved family. “If it were to be a time of election, I know they will do otherwise. I wish them luck, but the law of nature says ‘what goes around comes around’.
Those who made their contributions during the phone-in lamented the pains, commuters around the Acme road went through, blaming the situation on the party.
The discussion between the presenter of the Programme and the Party chairman, Henry Ajomale went thus:
Jimi: Good afternoon sir, did you hear about the child that died in traffic…
Ajomale: Which child?
Jimi: The child was said to have died in traffic caused by APC stakeholders’ meeting.
Ajomale: Let me first of all apologise if it is true that the child died as a result of the traffic, but also, the traffic in Lagos is not just today’s thing. We did everything we could to engage the police, the traffic management personnel to direct traffic so as not to obstruct other road users. But I also don’t know where it happened. There are so many exit points around where our secretariat is located, so, you could avoid coming to Acme road. Even on Acme, there are so many exit roads you can take without necessarily coming to the party secretariat. But if it happened, I am sorry about that. We are not aware that any life was lost.
Jimi: With due respect sir, this was in the media and people have been talking about what they suffered, spending hours in traffic that day. If the APC that runs the government cannot control traffic at the venue of a meeting . . .
Ajomale: You cannot blame us for that…
Jimi: No!, I blame you sir.
Ajomale: When the Redeemed Christian Church is having a conference in far away Ogun State, the traffic in Lagos is always paralysed. So, what we are saying is that we have so many exit points and over 50 traffic wardens in that area alone. Don’t be an apostle of doom….
Jimi: I am not an apostle of doom…
Ajomale: You said a life was lost, we must be able to concentrate on that and not use that as a sentiment and play on the life lost. Every life is very important to us. So I disagree with you….
Jimi: I like to be addressed with a bit of respect
Ajomale: You have to respect me too, even in age, I am not your mate.
Jimi: Your party held a meeting, around where the…
Ajomale: What do you expect us to do, having put in place the services of Police, traffic officials, so you don’t want us to hold any meeting at all in Lagos, where the party is based.?
Jimi: You can have your meeting if…
Ajomale: I am telling you we took every precaution to ensure free flow of traffic. So it happened, don’t let us play on the life of human being. For Christ sake don’t play politics with this.
Jimi: Another statement we don’t want to hear . . ..
Ajomale: If you don’t want to hear it, why do you invite me here? There is no reason you should
Jimi: But you came late, I invited you to come at 1 pm
Ajomale: No, You invited me for 3 pm.
Jimi: I could not have invited you for 3 pm
Ajomale: I was here a quarter to three with the view that the interview was scheduled for 3pm
Jimi: We agreed for 1:30 pm
Ajomale: I am not a man who misses time. I am always on time. That is why I came here 15 minutes before the time.
Jimi: I called your number several times but you didn’t pick
Ajomale: I also returned your call but you didn’t pick as well.
Jimi: Chairman sir, this is not personal, Any message to the family of the late boy
Ajomale: The father of the child has not even reported to us, but what I am saying is that every life is very important to us. Again, if the child died as a result of the traffic caused by our meeting, I am sorry about that. I am apologising on behalf of the party. I was not aware of the incident. We were inside and didn’t know what was going on outside. We have the traffic warden who were supposed to be controlling the traffic