In the popular American fantasy series “The Witcher”, a particular quote “eyed” me and i found it very beneficial to the introduction of this article. It goes thus “there is no conjuring something from nothing, there is a give and a take”. Your humble minds may crave for the exact meaning but i urge you all enjoy the “literary cruise”. The intelligent Yoruba elders do say “The beat of Agidigbo is always proverbial but only the wise will dance to the beats”.
History of Transport unionism in Nigeria will be half baked without acknowledging the Influence of Ibadan city and most interestingly the “violence and political militancy” that came with it. In fact, it is regrettable narrative that “Ija Igboro”(native hooliganism) is part of unique symbols of Ibadan city. It will be very cute to say Transport unionism and politics in Oyo State enjoy the “most fruitful marriage” than any other state in Western Nigeria. Until 2011, nobody thought the “marriage” could be invaded in a much easier manner. In 2011 National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) “the dreaded wife” of Oyo State politics was banned and limitedly demystified, the demystification was limited because the ban was later uplifted and the transport system was not totally “flushed”. In 2019, Governor Seyi Makinde was ushered in and he smartly saw the need to halt the activities of The Transport Union considering the coincidental complex leadership lacuna in the Union and the hot political climate. The Governor sustained the peace, displayed his firmness but did he see any “paradise” in that Sector?
Frankly, Oyo State had the best opportunity of revolutionizing it’s transport sector, formalizing the sector and permanently flushing the sector off regular hooliganism. The State had the opportunity to display the “pioneer status” of Oyo State by showing the world a unique transport sector organised, smart and free from habitual violence. According to an investigative report on Lagos State Transport sector by Premium times, it was discovered that considering the numbers of buses ranked to be highest by National Bereau of Statistics (150,000) and 100,000 motorcycles and tricycles. The commercial heartbeat of Nigeria known to be Lagos sits on 200million Naira daily revenues from transport levies. Despite the inaccurate statistics, rough estimation of 200billion Naira was concluded as potential annual income from the transport sector, over 40% of the total annual revenue of Lagos State. Comparing Oyo State with Lagos State can never be unreasonable as we are even expected to “host” motorcycles from Lagos State due to the most recent ban. Oyo State is being “eyed” by a multi-billion Naira sector and it’s aspiration for more revenues will be more plausible if the “paradise” in Transport Sector is seen. But is the paradise seen by the Oyo State ruling class?.
With the introduction of Park Management Committee to be headed by a dreaded “Product” of violent Transport Union is not a “cute decision” in anyway. Beyond the leadership controversy of the Park Management Committee which will serve as “Chief Consultant” to the Government on Transport Sector and “Chief Monitor” of newly introduced 200Naira transport levies to be collected on behalf of the Government, it is very vivid even to the blind that this is more of “veiled reward mechanism” to political loyalists.
Conclusively, if the “paradise” in the Trransport Sector had been seen, we will be teaching other states in Nigeria how transport dues can be electronically collected like it operates in Kigali and Nairobi, these two cities in East Africa have Populations similar to ours and majestic history of our kind, electronic ticketing through “Digital Matatus project” in Nairobi, Kenya and the very successful “Tap and Go” cards in Kigali, Rwanda. The paradise is lost “for now” in Oyo State Transport Sector as we have lost the opportunities to formalise the sector, isolate it from shady contributors and even actualise the most deserved revenue projection, i am not expecting any meaningful revenue generation. We lost the opportunity to create a Transport Sector with no or less political stains.