Fashola Commissions Second Drivers’ Institute In Oshodi
• Re-trained drivers thank LASG
Aug 27, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday commissioned the Lagos State Drivers’ Institute in Oshodi with an appeal to the Organized Private Sector to invest in the traffic sector in order to keep the State moving.
The Ikeja Centre of the Lagos State Drivers’ Institute located in Oshodi brings to two such an institute to be commissioned in one week by the Governor; the first being the Ikorodu Centre which was commissioned on Monday.
In his address at the ceremony which took place at the premises of the Institute located next to the LASTMA Yard in Oshodi, Governor Fashola said in commissioning the Institutes, his administration has reached a critical stage of its Traffic Sector Reform.
He declared, “We have reached what we believe is a critical stage of our Traffic Sector Reform. We appeal to members of the public, especially the Organized Private Sector, to seize the opportunity that exists in this sector to invest in it”, adding that the State Government will continue to unlock the gridlocks and keep Lagos moving.
The Governor, who reiterated his administration’s commitment to efficient traffic management in the State, said the State Government has purchased 25 new towing trucks to help in responding more efficiently to traffic breakdowns caused by some aging and not-well serviced vehicles which create traffic jams on the State’s roads.
He said pursuant to the same objective, the State Government has also acquired a crushing machine which will help to pick up abandoned, burnt and rickety vehicles off the roads and immediately crush and take them away from the roads, pointing out that this was in realization that traffic congestion in the city is attributable to vehicular breakdowns.
Recalling that his party, the Action Congress, had made a commitment during the electioneering campaigns that it has the best programmes with which to tackle the transportation problem in the State, Governor Fashola declared, “Since you massively voted us in, it has been one success story after the other in the transportation sector.
“Against all odds, we started the BRT and even the cynics have come out to say that it is working. But, even if they don’t say so, those who value good things already know that. Ghanaians have been here, the Chinese have been here, the Egyptians have been here as well as others to study the BRT model and the World Bank has recommended it as a model of transportation for the whole of the African continent”, the Governor said.
The Governor commended the members of the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) for their commitment in the discharge of their duties of traffic management in the State which he described as a herculean task.
“If you have any doubt in your mind about what it takes to keep Lagos moving, let me remind all of us that measures like the Park and Ride and others have been tried when I was a kid to address the Lagos Traffic and they have failed. LASTMA has survived in the last eight to ten years and it is still growing bigger”, the Governor said.
According to him, “Lagos has grown; our city has grown, from two million in the 1970s to five million in the 1990s and now we are 18 million. All these people have to move on a daily basis in search of food, water or Education or healthcare and as that number increases, the size of the State has not increased”.
Promising that his administration will continue to invest in the training of the members of LASTMA, Governor Fashola said “We will continue to invest in sharpening their skills and increasing their awareness of current transportation management methods across the world.
On the objectives of the Drivers’ Institute, Governor Fashola said, “The whole objective is that transport management and efficiency is a collaborative effort. It does not start and end with traffic wardens alone. It does not start and end with traffic lights alone. It also has a lot to do with road users, pedestrians and particularly motorists”.
“First of all, we emphasize the fact that motor vehicle is not a toy. It is a machine and like every other machine, like a camera, a mobile phone and all other machines made by man, you require to be trained in order to know how to use it and that is what the institute is all about”, Governor Fashola said adding that the ones for Epe and Badagry would be handed over for public use sometime in September this year.
The Governor said the reason the Epe and Badagry Drivers’ Institutes have not been handed over was because the State Government is still recruiting the complement of staff that will manage them, adding that traffic instructors, optometrists and other specialists would be needed as staff in order for the institutes to deliver on their objectives.
In an interview with journalists, some of the beneficiaries thanked the State Government and Governor Fashola for the initiative saying they have gained a lot from the training as their driving knowledge has been greatly improved.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Isaac Ojo, a Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), said as a result of the training he received from the Institute, his whole attitude to driving has changed, adding, “I now know how to caution myself and be focused while driving. I now know how to overtake”, adding that these are some of the things that one learns from the programme.
In his reaction to the training, another beneficiary, Mr. Oyekunle Aleshinloye from the Public Service Office (PSO) Lagos State, said he has been expecting this type of programme because of the recklessness of many drivers on the roads. According to him, this type of programme should be a national one involving the Federal Government, adding that this would greatly reduce the number of accidents on Nigerian roads.
He advised other drivers who have not undergone the training to endeavour to undertake the training saying it has also enhanced the dignity of drivers. He said they have been thought to respect other road users and also not to kill domestic animals crossing the road if they can avoid them.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation Mr. Kayode Opeifa said the commissioning of the Drivers’ Institute and the launch of the Brailer Crusher are in response to the growing bad traffic culture, unprofessionalism in the driving profession and for the security and safety on the State’s roads.
“This institute will re-train professional and commercial drivers in the art of vehicle driving maintenance, management, customer service relations, ethics and how to be road-user friendly among others. You are all aware that the present generation of vehicles have been designed by manufacturers with high level of artificial intelligence, therefore, we are providing professional commercial drivers with the capacity to upgrade their driving skills and knowledge of road traffic rules and regulations that will enhance public safety and reduce road traffic accidents”, he said.
Also present at the ceremony were the Commissioner for Transportation, Professor Bamidele Badejo, Chairman Action Congress in Lagos State, Otunba Henry Oladele Ajomale, Chairman National Union of Road Transport Workers, Alhaji Rafiu Olohunwa, other members of the State Executive Council, Traditional Rulers and top officials of the Lagos State Drivers’ Institute, among other dignitaries.