By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and former Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, Professor Bamidele Badejo has attributed bad leadership as a major factor affecting national transport policy, which he said forms the cardinal challenge facing the country’s transport sector in the last 100 years of her existence.
Badejo affirmed this at the inaugural lecture titled: Transporting the Future Today: Portrait of Nigeria which he delivered at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, noting that the sector had witnessed missed opportunities.
“Transport is potentially engine of growth and development that can add stimulus to the Nigerian economy. Nigeria has not innovated nor invented the right approach towards tapping the full benefits of the transport sector,” he maintained.
According to him, there is a nexus between a visionary leadership and comprehensive national transport policy as the roadmap to salvaging Nigeria from the current dysfunction of the transport sector. Nigeria cannot make progress without improved transportation system. Also, the sector cannot advance without a well-planned public transportation system.
Badejo explained that “in the last 25 years, the warning has insistently been given of the dilemma Nigeria is likely to face if mobility and accessibility questions are not sincerely, constructively and pragmatically addressed.”
The lecturer pointed out that between 40 and 80 per cent wages “are currently spent on transportation of which the road mode is the dominant. Again, 50-60 per cent cost of freight is consumed by transportation.”
He said as Nigeria would be deciding political leadership in 2015, transport “must be one of the key issues of the electorate’s demands. The paradigm must change to accord it with the national aspiration demanding a better country.”
Badejo continued: “We canvassed that transport, and in this context, efficient and effective national transportation agenda, must become one of the issues that the electorate should demand from the country’s political leadership in the next election.”
He explained that Nigeria’s transport and mobility quagmire “must be effectively settled. At macro or micro societal level and even not excluding individual family existence, mobility has truly become a herculean need.”
Given the deplorable state of public transportation system in the country, the don asked: “To what extent can we say that those bestowed with leadership and governance have evolved credible mechanisms -enduring policy, programmes and projects – to resolve the multifarious challenges?”
As a result, Badejo reeled out some recommendations, which he said were critical to resolving crises of public transportation in the country, thereby citing the compelling need for the Nigerian governments “to conduct an inventory or survey of all existing constituent parts of the public transport system along with the evaluation of the potentials.”
He explained that such an evaluation “is to determine what is available, establish the areas of their weakness and strengths, their potentials and prospects in designing a coherent, coordinated and comprehensive strategic development plan.”