MATTERS ARISING SERIES 1: OGSG Interim Transport Committee; Dissolution Overdue
Your Excellency, I am delighted to share the joy of the New Year celebration with you. May 2020 bring the good people of Ogun State great bounties, and be our best year yet!
Eighty (80) of every hundred (100) of Ogun people are aware, and agree that H.E Prince Dapo Abiodun MFR means well for the common man – a safe assumption. However, such believe appears to be on the downward spin, going by recent ratings of the pace of your administration, and incidences recorded under your watch. Here the Transport sector is a case study.
It is a popular belief that every seed of development sown by any government will germinate fruitfully, except that (or those) which take food and daily meal off the mouth of the common man. Hence, for an administration that based its campaign on a clarion call of BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER, it is very much instructive that the local economy (i.e peasants, artisans, transporters etc) is given utmost priority and sufficient lifelines, for obvious reasons (being the occupants of the political and economic base level). Whatever policy being formulated or implemented by government trickles down to the base level, hence, the people (who make up components of the local economy) are worst or best hit by calamities or benefits of policies of each administration, and certainly their usual channel of communication and reward of such is none other than activities and results of polls.
Shortly after your inauguration as the 5th Executive Governor of Ogun State, you set up various committees to look into activities and policies of the preceding administration, in different sectors. One of the various committees is the OGSG Interim Transport Committee, one headed by a certain lawyer and a couple of former Commissioners amongst others. It is noteworthy that amongst committees then set up (which include the TASCE Visitation Panel/Committee, OOUTH Visitation Panel/Committee, MAPOLY/MAUTECH Visitation Panel/Committee, Chieftaincy Review Committee etc), it is interesting that the Interim Transport Committee is perhaps the only one yet to officially wind up activities. Rather than give its concluding report and wind up, the Committee has repeatedly lobbied to ensure extension of its stay. This comes with a lot of implications on the local economy and the man on the street, hence deserves critical and timely consideration.
1. Committee Mandate and Tenure: In your official communication (as released by the CPS) in June 2019, the mandate vested on the Interim Transport Committee was quoted as thus; “… the mandate of the Road Transport Associations’ Interim committee is basically to review the operations of the unions and make recommendations on how the unions could be better organised to support the developmental agenda of the state.
The Interim Committee is expected to educate and create awareness amongst the stakeholders in the sector on the need to ensure peaceful conduct at all times and avoid any activities that could undermine peace, security and safety of life and property in the state.
The other terms of reference for the transport committee are to institute disciplinary procedures/actions against any conduct or behaviour that could undermine public peace and harness the revenue potential of the road transport for enhanced internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and identification and addressing of any issue(s) that may improve the overall performance of the transport sector in the State.”
In a very dramatic but commendable manner, the Interim Committee took firm hold of the Transport Sector and as well infused sanity into same sector, thus raising the revenue from the transport sector by about twenty percent (20%). Other achievements recorded by the committee include Prohibition of thoroughfare on roadside, enforcement of sanity in motor parks, seminar/lecture on Road Safety and Security amongst others. All clearly indicating good level of success in achieving the mandate vested in it. All of these successes have not come without the full cooperation of members and stakeholders of each of the various Transport Unions, despite the huge discomfort heaped on them by the committee and its existence.
However, six (6) months after its inauguration and full operations, it is clear the Interim Transport Committee has lived up to its expectations, hence the need for its dissolution, and power and rights be returned to respective Transport Unions.
Besides living up to its terms of reference, two (2) important members of same committee have been appointed Commissioner by Your Excellency, this include the Secretary of the Committee (Engr Tunji Akinosi). Hence, methinks it is best to sort out issues of the Transport sector once and for all
2. Economic Implications: Being a homogeneous sector, except Your Excellency considers otherwise, the transport sector and its unions had always been a very strong avenue successive administrations use to empower and provide ‘food for the boys’, party loyalists and professional transporters. However, the case appears absolutely opposite of the norm.
Unlike the usual wide base to slim top prism-like economy of the transport sector, the prolonged existence of the Interim Transport Committee has left the state and its people with a directly opposite situation, where the top is now so much wide with numerous deserving and undeserving beneficiaries, while the base level (the people and grassroot) has been unfairly trimmed so much slim and lean.
In plain terms, before now, the transport sector had common men and women in their hundreds and thousands earning their daily bread and living from ticket sales, task force etc, and this has proven to be a very effective means of keeping teeming youths off crime, which is one of the few reasons crime rate has long reduced in Ogun State. However, the existence of the Interim Transport Committee has shifted and redirected the benefits and gains of the transport sector to the few at the top of the chain, at the expense of the helpless loyalists down the political base. For who they are, these transporters and majority of members of the transport sector are same people who have several kids enrolled in public primary and secondary schools, make use of primary (public) health centers, patronize the various main and roadside markets, and are grossly dependent on the government, politics and their jobs with the transport unions. Kindly make due considerations in good time Your Excellency.
Your Excellency, the appointment of Caretaker/Transition Committee leadership for Local Governments is very commendable, and has come in good time. The joy and calm with which the list of LG Transition Committee nominees were received at the base level reflects the effectiveness and efficiency of the Governor’s Elders Council across each local government.
While basking in the euphoria of joy in the recently announced lists, the political base level shall remain yet restive till the benefits of the mandate vested in you trickles down to thousands of household in the East, West and Central of our dear Ogun State.
Prince (Pharm) Shofoyeke ‘Niyi
Sagamu, Ogun State.
Shofoyeke ‘Niyi is a former Students Union Government President of Olabisi Onabanjo University, a Pharmacist and Public Affairs Analyst.
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