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New Road Traffic Law Yields Improved Driving Culture, Safety On The Roads - Fashola
…As Governor renders account of stewardship to mark 2000 Days in Office

Nov 18, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Sunday rendered an account of stewardship to commemorate his 2000 days in the saddle of leadership in the State, stating that the State is experiencing more voluntary compliance with the Road Traffic Law and an improved driving culture on the roads.

The Governor who spoke during an interactive session held at the Blueroof Hall, LTV 8, Agidingbi, Ikeja where he gave a detailed account of his performance in all sectors said the improvement will lead to safety of life and property on the roads.

Governor Fashola who gave a detailed account of what has happened as it affects the transportation sector said government embarked upon various policies to manage traffic, save lives and manage the congestion of commuting within the state at rush hour.

He said the state also embarked upon lane marking, traffic light installations, the training of LASTMA and the Lagos Traffic Radio which was ultimately completed and put at the disposal of lagos residents.

Tracing the origin of the Road Traffic Law, the Governor said the amendment in the new law incorporates the remaining part of the Report of the Alhaji Musiliu Smith's Security Committee which was set up in 2007 and which had not been fully implemented.

"Many policies aimed at improving driving culture, regulating unauthorized vehicles and personnel, preventing drink driving and improving safety and protecting lives on our roads are contained in the law", the Governor added.

Providing details to show components of the improved driving culture, the Governor stated: "Between July, before the law came into force, and September 2012, of the 13,322 people attending our Drivers' Institute, 11,986 had good vision, while 1,346 representing about 10.1% had bad vision. These drivers with poor vision are dangers to themselves and to other road users and can make the difference between life and death. They have been referred for corrective action such as glasses to improve their vision and return them back to the road, safer, for themselves and other road users".

"Since August 2nd when the law came into force and end of September 2012, we noticed a 68.4% increase in attendance in the Drivers' Institute. This can only ultimately lead to more safe drivers and less accidents on our roads. Between the same period at the end of September 58,174 vehicles came in to obtain their Road Worthiness Certificates, a 20.9% increase from the period before the law. The consequences will be safer vehicles, less breakdowns and obstruction to traffic. We also notice a 48.4% increase in the issuance of Drivers' License which should suggest safer drivers and accident reduction".

The Governor also reported that the number of vehicles arrested for various violations has also dropped by 16.9% while arrests for driving against traffic decreased by 35.9% and BRT lane violations has decreased by 74.2% while from the 25 General hospitals, the reports of accidents of Okada dropped from 646 to 525 cases in September, an 18.73% reduction while deaths recorded between the same period dropped from 14 to 8, a 42.86% reduction just as Okadas robberies also dropped by 30 percent in September and 60 percent in October.

He said in terms of the impact of the law and advocacy on healthcare, the recent monitoring and evaluation assessment report reveals that 65% of people sampled after the law want to reduce alcohol intake as against 30% before; 93% now want to reduce drugs as against 71% before the law; 77% are now convinced that alcohol is a danger to them and their passengers if they drink and drive, as against 10% before the law; and only 4% now say they are still able to purchase alcohol within the motor park after the law, as against 58% before the law.

The Governor asserted that while the desire for public good and the protection of citizens is not limited, he acknowledged that because public officers are humans, they are limited and therefore not perfect. However, he noted that he does not believe that it is the desire of Lagosians to live in a State where people will act with impunity without regard to the safety of others all in the name of operating a transport model that is not consistent with Government models and plans.

"I also do not believe that it is the desire of the people of Lagos to surrender or continue to tolerate a transport business model that is unarguably injurious to the society only because it is profitable for some and because Government has not finished its work of improvement which in any event is a never ending obligation".

"I am happy also that the vision of my predecessors such as Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for an urban rail transport which was cruelly terminated is now alive again with the construction of the Blue Line from Eric Moore which has now reached Mile 2; and that our BRT expansion to Badagry and Ikorodu Town are progressing. Because of those modest progresses in our public transportation, I remain convinced that the legacy of public transportation that you and the next generation of Lagosians deserve is one that puts us on the global map of City-States for the right reasons and not one that condemns us to a dependency on the signs of poverty that we import from Asia".

Shedding light on the envisaged transportation model, the Governor said: "It is a system of buses and rail transport supported by ferries that will solve our problems; and I repeat my offer to those who insist on continuing in transport business that our doors are open to give franchises for bus routes and to assist in negotiating finance to acquire the buses".

Enumerating developments in the other sectors, the Governor said the administration has also awarded 185 inner city road contracts which he promised as well as the award of 1,404 housing units, the award of the Adiyan Phase II 70 Million Gallons per day water project and the construction of a 60km of pipeline network to be dedicated to such areas as Iju, Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye, Alimosho, Ojo and Ikeja among other places.

"We are also in the process of concluding plans to upgrade Ishasi Waterworks from 4mgd to 12mgd to service the Ijanikin, Badagry axis", he added.

"Also in the area of education, the Governor said the investment in infrastructure continues as the results and output encourages a continuation because it indicates that government is on the right path.

"You will re-call that when we commenced this reform in 2007 the average percentage pass of our students who obtained 5 credits with Mathematics and English in our public schools was 7%. In 2008 it went up to 11%, 18% in 2009, 21% in 2010, and we suffered a dip to 19% in 2011. I am happy to report that things have been restored again in the positive direction we are accustomed to with an average of 38.28% for the results of 2012", he stated.

He said during the last 100 days, the Technical Colleges graduated a total of 6000 students with a sizeable number of them being employed by private sector operators who are partnering with the State in designing their curriculum to meet industry needs, adding that Electrical Graduates amongst them have been deployed to the Lagos State Electricity Board and are now part of the army of young people helping to light up the State one street light pole at a time.

In the area of housing, the Governor said the state is currently constructing on 10 sites in Igando, Omole Phase I & Phase II, Sangotedo, Mushin, Ilupeju, Agbowa, Ogba Phase I & Phase II, Surulere and Igbogbo while the impact of these housing projects and the successful implementation of the budget are the 882 main contactors, 836 sub-contractors, 1,835 artisans, 1,940 laborers, 905 suppliers and 49 food vendors who are productively engaged and earning a living from these projects with a total of 6,450 people employed from the sector in less than one year.

The Governor said in the healthcare sector, work is rapidly coming to a completion at the Gbagada Heart and Kidney Centre, the Isolo General Hospital Mortuary and the Ayinke House while the community healthcare missions continue to take basic healthcare for diagnosis and cure to the people in their communities, screening and treating them in their thousands for diabetes, hypertension and cancer to mention a few.

He said in the last 100 days, the state launched its Mother and Child booklet that contains every information about diet behavior, clinical attendance and much more to ensure that pregnant women experience a safe pregnancy and a successful and safe delivery, adding that It will help optimize the investments made in the Maternal and Child Care Centres built in Ikorodu, Isolo, Ifako Ijaiye, Ajegunle and Gbaja, in addition to the yet to be commissioned ones in Alimosho and Amuwo Odofin.

"Our preventive health initiative at the grassroots level is taking shape in partnership with our Local Government Chairmen, to revitalize the primary healthcare system. While the renovation, equipment and staffing of the first set of model primary health care centres approach completion, we have successfully trained and graduated the first batch of 300 graduate volunteers who we converted to healthcare support".

On agriculture, the Governor said government continues to deepen its involvement as it is improving on rice cultivation, milling and bagging, poultry production and processing, fish and sea food production, education and provision of extension services to farmers while the farming population is growing.

He said the quest to create farms outside the State and deepen the food security initiatives is yielding results as the State has acquired 500 hectares of land in Ogun State, to grow rice to feed the mill in Imota.

In the areas of Sports and Tourism, the Governor said in October, the State hosted the 12th edition of the Governor's Tennis Cup which is the only International Tennis Federation sanctioned tournament in West Africa and on the heels of that, a private sector company has taken a very commendable advantage by launching an initiative called "Breaking the Mould", which brought the world famous Williams Sisters, Venus and Serena to Lagos.

Governor Fashola noted that the previous reputation of Lagos State as a State where people once believed that nothing will work must remind everyone that the road that have been walked to becoming a destination for tourism and business has been hard and grueling, charging: "We must keep our hands on the pump, to ensure that the good work continues and that we do not slide back to re-live the problems we have overcome".

He said the very graphic images of flooding across Nigeria that has spared Lagos, is testimony not of luck but of hard work, even though there are many who still dump refuse in the canals, and there are still more drainage channels to be built, warning that the sight of generators in New York, the sight of New Yorkers taking water from a fire hydrant, and with the possibility of thousands without gas and heating as a cold winter approaches, must be for Nigerians, very hard lessons about how easy it is for things to go bad.

"Your taxes and the investment in infrastructure, cleaning up, greening, street lighting and your overall commitment to rebuild Lagos is paying off. If you still have any doubt, look at the number of new hotels, restaurants and bars that are springing up. Ask them how much business they are now getting and how many more people they are employing", he said.

The Governor said in the next few days, the State will be hosting the 18th edition of the National Sports Festival and is expecting close to 20,000 visitors, urging the people to welcome them with the Lagos traditional hospitality and to see the economic side of their visit.

"With your support, by keeping the peace, attending the sports centres to cheer the athletes, providing assistance to our visitors, let us leave the most telling impression about our return to excellence on our visitors and deliver a sports festival to be remembered fondly for a long time to come. Treat them fairly and seize the opportunity for business as you provide services for them with costs that are fair and reflective of the season of friendship even as Christmas approaches", the Governor added.

The Governor, who described the 2000 days in office as a momentous milestone because it marked the 20th in the series of the 100 day account rendering Town Hall meetings, recalled that at the 1800 days gathering he highlighted some of the challenges being faced by the administration.

He said some of the issues include concluding funding for Mile 12- Ikorodu Road expansion and a court action that was delaying the commencement of 660 housing units in Agbowa, adding that since then, the government had since concluded the financing and awarded the construction contract for Mile 12-Ikorodu expansion and also commenced construction of the housing estate in Agbowa.

Governor Fashola who also gave a performance run down of the 2012 Budget said in the first quarter, it recorded 65percent, second quarter 84 percent and a third quarter performance of 65 percent with an aggregate performance of 72 percent.

Fielding questions from the audience during a question and answer session, Governor Fashola asserted that there are no abandoned projects in the State pointing out that the perception could have emanated from the fact that the system of project execution has since changed.

According to Governor Fashola who spoke in response to a question from Mr. Olayinka Osile, most contractors in tune with new technologies, prefer to cast their concrete structures for drainage elsewhere and bring them to the construction site adding that the fact that such contractors dug up the roads and left them for sometime did not mean the project has been abandoned.

He, however, explained that as an additional step, the Government has raised a project monitoring team that always goes round to inspect the projects to ensure that none of them is unduly delayed adding that such constant inspections have kept the contractors on their toes. Governor Fashola in response to another question explained that there is no local government in the State without the presence of the administration in terms of projects noting that in Ikeja, which the questioner spoke about, Government was executing several road and other projects in the area.

On the plan to introduce Chinese Language in Lagos public schools, Governor Fashola said it was largely because of the need to enhance the knowledge of pupils about a language that is fast gaining ascendancy due to the economic strength of Asia. He noted that increasing partnership between the State Government and the Chinese investor made the step imperative pointing out that Chinese investors are handling several major projects in the State including the Lekki Free Trade Zone and there was need to teach their language to upcoming generations of Lagosians in order to ensure equitable business partnership in future.

Governor Fashola, who said the Chinese Language has not been made compulsory in public school in the State, however, pointed out that the responsibility of teaching Nigerian languages to Nigerian children lay on the parents.

In response to another question alleging absence of government presence in Ikeja Local Government, Governor Fashola declared, "There is no Local Government in the State where Government is not executing one project or the other", adding, however, that the fact that more projects have been executed in one part of the State did not mean that other parts would not have their share of the same projects.

"It is work in progress; there will always be needs across the State and local governments. That is why government is continuity. If my predecessors, some of who are here today, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kalu, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had done all the work, I would not be here", the Governor explained.

The Governor explained that the plan of Government was to work progressively to complete all projects across the State adding, "We have not stopped work in any local government. Our Public Works Department is currently intervening day and night on 400 roads across the State".

He, however, appealed to the people to alert the Government on areas that require intervention pointing out that such information would enhance speedy intervention by Government agencies.

Responding to the question by Mr. Jide Idowu, a visually impaired broadcaster, Governor Fashola said the State Government would continue to give consideration to physically challenged people in the formulation and execution of policies and projects in the State adding, however, that such support and consideration would be better enhanced if the physically challenged themselves tell Government how best to be of help to them.

On the question of criticisms of the Lagos Road Traffic Law by the opposition party, Governor Fashola said, "Our policy is to do what the majority our people want. One thing you should realize is that when there is progress, not everybody is happy and when there is pain, not everybody is sad. If the opposition come up with a superior argument as to what should be done, we are ready to follow", adding that arguments and criticisms are the essential parts of democracy.

Earlier in an address of welcome, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Aderemi Ibirogba said in the last 2000 days, the administration has carved for itself an image of efficiency, commitment, humility and good governance through quality service to the people.

The event was attended by the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, former Governors, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (Rtd), Navy Commodore Ndubuisi Kanu (Rtd), members of the State Executive Council Senator representing Lagos West, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, the Deputy Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Hon Kolawole Taiwo, other members of the National Assembly from Lagos State, traditional rulers and members of the public who trooped out in large numbers.


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