As a Nigerian who resides in Lagos, I marvel while unraveling the justification for the deployment of SURE-P Task Force in Lagos. While I debunked the APC claims that the Task Force Members are hoodlums, I have not been able to comprehend the rationale behind the establishment of the Task Force.
I did pass through the seven-up axis of Lagos, popularly known as motorways/toll gate near the FRSC yard approaching Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, where the recruitment exercise for the task force took place. I realized that most of the individuals employed are young male and female who are either jobless or under-employed before now. Kudos to the Federal Government for having a plan to engage the teeming unemployed youth in the country through the SURE-P. However, this intervention should have taken a far reaching approach without any political undertone, by either engaging these youth on a long-term initiative, as I see in the nearest future the abandonment of the SURE-P Task Force if not immediately after the 2014 general elections. The foreseeable claim for this abandonment may be hinged on insufficient funds or closure of the entire SURE-P.
The success of the activities of LASTMA in Lagos should not over-exaggerated, while this initiative have brought about reasonable decorum in terms of reckless driving, disobeying traffic rules and traffic gridlocks on major roads in Lagos. However, the level of bribery in the system is alarming, thanks to some Nigerians who were able to video cover the height of this criminal act by the unscrupulous elements in the system. The Lagos State Government on its part have tried as much as possible to curtail this menace, but the bad heads amongst the LASTMA officials still thrive in the business
Generally speaking in my own opinion and to a reasonable extent the LASTMA initiative is working in Lagos. The recent intervention of the Federal Government in managing federal roads in Lagos will be applauded if not for the dilapidated state of the federal government owned roads. I wonder why a reasonable government will decide to man the roads that it has abandoned for a very long time. It would have been another story if the manning of these roads is accompanied by reconstruction/rehabilitation exercise
It is high time that the Federal Government stops playing politricks at the expense of the masses. I recalled that the last visit of the Vice President to Lagos was an eyesore, where all major roads around Ikoyi were locked down just because of a man who was elected to represent our interest. We cannot continue to be prisoners even in our own homes. In any ideal society the Vice President would have come and gone without people noticing.
Winning Lagos by any political party should not be a do-or-die affair, Lagosians are elites we know what we want and who we want, all the show of shame between LASTMA and SURE-P task force will take us nowhere. The funds being invested in this charade should be channeled for a just course that will better the lives of Nigerians. These youths employed as SURE-P task force can be given soft skills and loan to start a small business venture that may end up recruiting one or more persons with attendant multiplier effects. Empowering youths is not rocket science. If the federal government is idea drained it should engage the services of good Nigerians who can take this nation forward.
Just few days of the activities of the SURE-P task force in Lagos, we have witnessed unprecedented traffic gridlocks around Lagos, the activities of the said task force is an impediment and have a negative impact on Lagosians. If this is what the federal government calls intervention then Nigeria is in serious mess. As no reasonable government will intentionally wreck havoc on its innocent citizens. We therefore call on the federal government to withdraw the activities of the task force in Lagos. Lagos is not a testing ground as far as traffic control is concerned, as a little impediment on the road will affect a lot of activities and movement of people and goods.
If the federal government have a better plan for Lagos and Nigeria at large in terms of transportation system, it should be to rehabilitate/expand our roads, construct new and alternative routes, revive our rail system and make effective use of our water ways. These SURE-P task force officials can then be deployed to these new found ventures that will be a long-term project. It is high time Nigerian politicians stop playing politics of self interest and greed, where they are only concerned about personal interest and not the interest of the masses.
God Bless Nigeria!!!
(A socio-economic commentator and analyst)