World renowned London-based magazine, The Economist, says Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, doesn’t appear to have the solution to the traffic robberies and gridlock, currently prevalent in the state.
The Economist says Ambode has continued to give a litany of excuses, rather than build on the achievements of his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola.
The magazine reports that while Fashola enforced strict traffic laws and empowered the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Ambode chose to relax these laws, and their enforcement.
The Economist’s report on Ambode, reads: “Lagos is a hub for investors in Africa – it is a bigger economy in its own right than most countries on the continent, so this is of serious concern.
“The state’s former governor, Babatunde Fashola, who left office after elections in March, was lauded for improving traffic and security.
“He curbed dangerous motorbike taxis and brought local ‘area boys’ (street children), under control. Cars were terrified into order by a state traffic agency, LASTMA, whose bribe-hungry officers flagged down offending drivers.
“His successor, Akinwunmi Ambode, is full of excuses, but few solutions, for the worsening gridlock. Traffic is always bad during the rains, he says. Nigerians are migrating to Lagos en masse in search of work in a worsening economy, his office adds. Yet the root of the problem is in policy: Mr. Ambode cut the powers of traffic controllers by banning them from impounding cars. In retaliation, officers have refused to enforce the rules.”
“Reform in a culture riddled with corruption is never easy. Mr. Ambode’s office says the measure was intended to create a more “civil society”. Less fastidious types think it amounts to weakness, and would prefer that he focused on public transport instead.
“The biggest concern is that the gridlock is a sign of a breakdown in relations between security forces, government agencies and the new governor. If that is the case, there could be worse to come. That is bad news not only for Lagosians, but all Nigerians too.”