By Bisi Omoyemi
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, has been in power in Lagos State for so long time, it seems like eternity. Obviously, this has led to the belief of most of its ardent supporters to think beyond doubts that it cannot lose an election. They forget that the party won elections to get power and that elections have to be contested periodically and won to stay in power. That, according to experts on politics, is the arrogance of power that is going to be the undoing of the party in the coming elections in the state.
The signs are there for all to see except the party’s members. First it is difficult for APC members in Lagos State to stand criticism of any kind of the party and its government. Even when non-partisan members of the public expressed sympathy for their governor who lost the primary, APC members toed only the party line and decision and simply chorused that the unfortunate governor deserved his fate. They insist he was put there by the party in the first instance and must never argue with the party.
When one complains about the excesses of public agency like LASTMA and how its officials have been terrribly comprised particularly in the area of free flow of traffic and other traffic related issues, they turn a deaf ear and say they are government agents and should be allowed to function.
Such disdain for constructive criticism in a democratic setting is common with supporters of the APC in Lagos State. The obstinacy to admit failure of performance of the party in governance is unbelievable. a mere mention of congestion on the bridges and how trailers and heavy duty vehicles have taken over pratically almost all the bridges in the metropolis, the response one gets is that this is not peculiar to Lagos and that trailers constitute nuisance on federal roads and there is nothing that the State government can do about it. If reminded that it was better under Babatunde Fashola, former governor of the state also on the APC platform in a Peoples Democratic Party-controlled federal government, they tell you the situation is not the same. If one follows up with a reminder that under an APC-controlled government at the centre, Lagosians waste useful hours that would have been spent on businesses and other productive ventures that would have great impact on the economic on the roads daily, they are deaf to such complains.
The worst complaint APC members don’t want to hear on the Lagos traffic congestion on and of the three Lagos bridges is that the Vice- President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo came to Lagos to tackle the traffic congestion on the Apapa-Badagry Expressway all to no avail. There was temporary relief and movement for two days and the situation got worse. What could be worse than the recent explosion of a petrol tanker on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Ojo where two persons lost their lives and property worth millions of naira destroyed as a result of bad road? Why do people’s lives have to be sacrificed because of politics? Is this also a fall-out of the “self-proclaimed owners” of Lagos? Who is thinking of the suffering masses of Lagos?
Yet, the APC is seeking the election of a new candidate in the face of the very traumatic traffic situation in the state. The traffic gridlock on Lagos roads has made daily commuting a psychological nightmare for all who work in the state and this group of persons constitute the electorate.
As Jimi Agbaje said recently, “This (traffic) issue is not a political matter because everyone is affected including state businesses. If nothing is done to find urgent solution, it may cripple the state in terms of movement and commercial activities.”
Of course, the electorate in Lagos know they have a choice in seeking redress for their woes. The persistent traffic gridlock on the roads is not only detrimental to businesses but to their health.
That for now is the PDP’s candidate, Jimi Agbaje who has all the humility and understanding to make life better for Lagosians by resolving the perennial traffic congestion posed by trailers and heavy vehicles on our roads and bridges. “What we’re experiencing right now is a perfect storm: poorly maintained infrastructure evident in the increase of potholes dotting all across the city as well as the nuisance caused by trucks and trailers on our roads and bridges,” said Agbaje. Continuing , he said, “In my opinion, this terrible state of traffic is clearly a result of the fall-out between the “self-acclaimed owners” and the current Governor of Lagos – who now seems to lack the authority to mandate the required agencies to fix the roads and manage traffic. Since these so-called owners do not regard the governor, they should at least think about us, Lagosians, who suffer on the roads daily.
The solution to the traffic issue is one that requires a multi-modal approach involving a full- scale rehabilitation and expansion of our road infrastructure; better use of transit routes in ways that encourage less use of cars, and an increased usage of our waterways.”
But this is a problem that Lagos APC’s arrogance of power has refused to see and solve. With the guber polls just weeks away, Lagosians should vote wisely.