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Mea culpa…my fault – Part 2


Okada riders awaiting passengers at Marina in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Continued from yesterday

By the way, are okadas not vehicles? Is anybody blind to the number of okadas in the so-called okada free zones? Whatever happened to the laws requiring the wearing of the helmet for driver and pylon passengers on okadas? Okadas do not stop at traffic lights; they travel against the one-way system; they are on the Third Mainland Bridge, they stop whenever and wherever. I could go on. I am told that the okadas are driven by off duty policemen and soldiers to supplement their inadequate and infrequently paid salaries. Every day I see police, government official cars, immigration and customs officers, DSS, a host of other corps with sirens piercing the air as they drive against this very one way systems. But if you do not belong to this class, they impound your car, take you to court and auction off your car. What gives LAWSMA authority to auction your car because of a traffic violation which a lot of people violate without consequence?


In Kaduna, the Governor, another friend of mine, was reported to have given an order that a restaurant, having sex parties, be demolished. I am not sure which is the cause of the angst of the Governor – the nude/sex nature of the restaurant or the fact that these activities were against the COVID-19 guidelines. Even so, you could have arrested the culprits without destroying their property. Again in Minna and Kaduna a Senator walks into a sex shop and slaps receptionists – action unbecoming of a Senator. The examples are legion and would be tedious to replicate here. What is obvious state laws are made for the unprivileged?

As for driving against one way or changing driving routes – only a blind man would be made to see the multiple routes which drivers take on Carter Bridge. No one arrests anyone. One way traffic that has been disregarded exists in all the new major roads – especially (Orile – Mile Two) the upper Oshodi Expressway and the side roads are all no respecter of the one-way system. On the Lekki Express Road here, almost no one respects the traffic lights. As for the motorcycles, they move according to laws known only to themselves.


In Europe, even bicycle riders obey traffic laws. There is a minimum of sirens blaring through the roads. If you see one – it is an ambulance or a Police car on an emergency – no convoys with escorts blaring down the street. In Japan, our delegation convoy had one motorcycle and the traffic lights were so synchronized that so long as we moved at 30km/h, we did not stop from city centre till we got to the Imperial Palace.

In Benin, one Governor leaves a political party to join another party with absolute no regressions. Our constitution explicitly forbids any elected official from leaving a political party which elected him without resigning his seat. In applying this provision, the courts have been compliant and even complicit in taking the teeth out of this provision to the effect thereof. Whatever was intended by the constitution is now frustrated. Not that anyone I know could actually tell me the difference between PDP and APC notwithstanding!!!


Dr Cole, OFR, is former Nigerian ambassador to Brazil.


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