Commissioner for Transport in Lagos State, Mr Kayode Opeifa, Chairman National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede, All Progressives Cogress (APC), Governorship Candidate Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor Lagos State , Mr Babatude Raji Fashola and Deputy Governor Lagos State Mr Adejoke Orelope –Adefulire at the Town Hall Meeting Organized by Lagos State Government for the stakeholders in the state’s transport sector.
All the registered unions in the transportation sector in Lagos State on Tuesday, 13th January, 2015, expressed support for a continuity of the lofty programmes of the Babatunde Fashola led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration just as the Governor formally handed over the governorship candidate of the APC, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to the unions and associations in the sector.
The handing over and endorsement of a continuity by the APC formed the high points of the First Quarter 2015 Interactive Town Hall Meeting hosted by the state Governor with all the registered unions and organizations in the transportation sector which took place at the Blue Roof Hall, LTV Ground, Agidingbi.
The unions and their leaders present at the interactive session included: the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr Tajudeen Agbede; Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Olaleye Amusan; Motorcycle Owners Association of Lagos State, (MOALS), Comrade Tijani Pekis; Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN), Comrade Joseph Odusanya; Lagos State Taxi Drivers and Cab Operators Association of Nigeria (LSTDCOA), Prince Tajudeen Adetoro; Union of Tipper and Quarry Employers of Nigeria(UTOEN) Alhaji Salisu Adebayo; Modern Taxi Cab Operators, Mr Ajakaiye; Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Chief Jacob Fayeun; and Motormechs Technicians Association of Nigeria (MOMTAN).
Speaking at the event, the state Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr Tajudeen Agbede expressed the support of the Union for the candidate of the APC in the forthcoming elections.
He added that the apprehensions of the leaders of the transport Union about the ability of the APC to get a suitable replacement for Babatunde Fashola has been addressed by the emergence of Akinwunmi Ambode in the primaries and the cooperation between him and the outgoing Governor.
He maintained that the Union has seen signs of unity and continuity between the duo and expects that the same level of support enjoyed from the Fashola administration would also be continued when Ambode emerges as the Governor -elect.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Olaleye Amusan expressed deep appreciation to the Governor for the wonderful support and recognition the union received during his terms of office and expressed the hope that the same would continue under the administration of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The Chairman of the Motorcycle Owners Association of Lagos State, (MOALS), Comrade Tijani Pekis while speaking, commended the state government for the measures put in place to reduce deaths and accidents through Okadas.
The Chairman of the Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN), Comrade Joseph Odusanya who also spoke, expressed the appreciation of the association to the state government for facilitating the unification of the various factions in the association.
The Governor in his address, said the people must never make the mistake of voting for any Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2015 general elections because the party has not done anything for the people of Lagos.
He said the Subsidy Reinvestment Fund (SURE-P) which is meant for Lagos is being used by the ruling party at the centre to buy Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the state, warning that the residents must be vigilant.
The Governor who had earlier asked the members of the audience to indicate if indeed they were happy with the present APC government in the state and would want a continuity which was responded to with an affirmative answer said since it was by popular affirmation that the people wanted a continuity; such an agreement should not be broken.
He added the present administration has been very supportive of the people and has ensured that it delivered on all its commitments including the repair works on the connecting joints of the Eko Bridge which is a Federal Government owned structure.
He stated that similar repair works have been carried out on the Alhaji Masha Bridge and the Apapa Bridge such that the faulty expansion joints that have been responsible for damaging shock absorbers of vehicles were replaced.
He explained that residents of areas like Agiliti, Mile 12 to Ikorodu area and the Lagos Badagry Expressway which is being expanded are all enjoying a new lease of life because of the revitalization of the roads by the state government.
Governor Fashola said that rather than improving the lot of operators of the transportation sector, the PDP led Federal Government decided to increase tariff on imported vehicles by 35 percent thus making it more expensive to import vehicles for transportation purposes.
He said the new tariff on imported vehicles was billed to take effect in January this year but that the Federal Government had to beat a retreat in order to deceive Nigerians about its real intentions by pushing the take off it till after the elections in June.
He added that the PDP administration is one which thrives in unfulfilled promises, adding that four years ago when President Goodluck Jonathan came to campaign in Lagos, he promised to reconstruct the Lagos Airport Road , but that four years after, there is no sign to that effect.
He reiterated his appeal to all residents of the state who are above 18 years to go and collect their PVCs which would be available for collection at the various Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Local Government offices till January 31st.
He said voting is an inalienable right of every Nigerian citizen of voting age and must not be surrendered to anybody and not even any government, adding that the PDP plans to disrupt the election but that Nigerians would not allow that.
While responding to an issue raised on building of mechanic villages in the state, the Governor said the State Government has already held a meeting with the Chairman of the NURTW where he asked all the stakeholders to come up with building plans for the intended places.
He said up till now the Union has not gotten back to the State Government on the list, giving a commitment that when such a compilation is sent in, work will start on it and that the ones that could not be completed now would be handed over to Akinwunmi Ambode to complete.
In his address, the APC governorship candidate, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said the emphasis of the incoming administration would be on technical and vocational education and developing the capacity of artisans.
He added that the administration would work assiduously to produce well qualified mechanics, plumbers and technicians to stave off loss of job openings to immigrants from neighbouring West African States.
He gave a commitment that if elected, he will add value to what the Fashola administration has done and ensure completion of all road transport projects and ensure their appropriate usage.
He stated that his administration would also provide more motor parks in the state and also put in place a small scale entrepreneurship finance scheme to assist operators in the transportation sector.
The event was attended by members of the State Executive Council including the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire; the Secretary to the State Government and running mate to the gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Dr (Mrs) Ranti Adebule; state Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr. Cornelius Ojelabi; Special Adviser on Commerce and Industry to the Governor, Mr Seye Oladejo; and several members of the different associations and groups in the transportation sector in the state.