The selective ban of tricycles and motorcycles in Lagos State is a policy which could have been praised by all, only if the Lagos State Government had not been impulsive in its implementation.
With the consequence of such impetuous policy implementation being slammed on the masses, Lagosians are within their rights to lash out at the Sanwo-Olu administration for adding to their woes, their rage and bitterness utterly justified; a government is expected to improve the quality of life and standard of living of its people not the opposite.
Six years ago, the Fashola administration enacted a law that will see the regulation of motorcycles and to an extent the prohibition of the same on certain areas of the state. The policy was not implemented to the letter for reasons which can be summarized as inadequate provision of alternatives.
I believe without doubt that the all activities relating to the policy from 6 years ago were meticulously documented as required of a key government arm. Why then were they not reviewed and lessons taken from it. I am of the opinion that this present administration found no reason to visit a similar case from 6 years ago because if they had done so, they would have seen what needed to be done first, before implementing this, and if they had visited the past, then without doubt, they intentionally subjected the masses to unwarranted suffering, hardship and financial loss.
The okada ban is a policy every right thinking Lagosian should embrace because it paves the way for a better Lagos – the dream of every well meaning Lagosian. The absence of motorcycles and tricycles on the areas marked by the state government has brought sanity to those areas. The roads appear safer and flow of traffic is near perfect unlike times when even traffic wardens are helpless as okada and keke riders mar their efforts with reckless driving that further paint the disorderliness of Lagos roads in bright colours. Areas like Surulere that is known for the heavy presence of disorderly keke and okada riders now look like a private estate void of chaotic keke riders and cluttered okada riders with each adding more flavour of disorderliness as they fight for passengers.
However, what should have brought joy to the hearts of ears that hear it has now become a pain in the foot of those who have to trek long distances because an alternative was not provided. Before implementing a policy like this which has a huge impact on the masses, proper planning should have been made. Adequate alternatives should have been provided and communicated ahead of time so nobody has to suffer for a change in government policy.
Every challenge is by virtue an opportunity to develop and create something new. The government should have had a meeting with regulated stakeholders in the affected sector, informing them of the proposed change and giving them some time to adjust their operations. After all, they invested in the state and they generate revenue for the state as well as creating job opportunities in the state. Implementing policies without considering those that have made investments would only scare potential investors away.
If the government sees that it cannot provide adequate alternatives, it could have allowed the available alternatives run alongside the one it intends to change and over time when the alternative becomes adequate, announcing the ban or restriction will cause no harm either to the operators or to those using their services because they would have been informed ahead of time.
It is important for the government to rethink its policy and implementation strategy in a way that provides better alternatives for all. All policies solve problems, but of what good is a policy that solves a problem by creating more problems?