We had every reason to doubt Governor Ambode and his grand plans about phasing out the Lagos signature buses popularly known as ‘danfo’. As much as we understand his obsession with turning Lagos into a megacity, we are certain clamping down on the buses is not where to start.
In February 2017 when the governor himself first mentioned the ban on danfo buses, he said, “When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses and see Okada and all kinds of tricycles and then we claim we are a mega city, that is not true and we must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running“.
Of all the factors that make waking up in Lagos an occasionally sad experience, maybe danfos should not be the first for Governor Ambode. Beyond the governor’s emotions, questions were raised on how he intended to settle the thousands of bus drivers and their assistants (conductors) who would be thrown to the streets with nothing.
But in May, Governor Ambode showed up again with answers to some of those questions. He said, “The Governor is not interested in driving all the new buses. It is the same bus drivers, the technicians, the mechanics that will also still be employed and trained to use these new buses. Instead of job losses, we are going to employ more people for the greater number of the buses and it will make the city more beautiful and more comfortable for all our workers.”
With that, he sort of calmed nerves and raised hopes. But it was silence again until today when news began to make rounds again about an actual time frame for the phasing out exercise.
While the governor received students from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the US, he harped on the plan. Ambode said, “Right now, we are cleaning out all the yellow buses you see in the state. As we proceed in the next six months and a span of three years, we are introducing 5,000 new buses of European standard to actually clean up the city, because, if you want to grow the economy of Lagos, transportation is key and then it’s a major infrastructure for tourism itself.”
Keywords: six months, three years, 5,000, new buses of European standard
We’ll hold on to these receipts for now.