Nigerians who transit through Apapa in Lagos State can now smile and this is because the state’s governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said he would end the protracted gridlock in the area of the state within the first 60 days of his administration.
He said not minding the politics involved, he would rid the area of all the trailers, whose operations were responsible for the intractable gridlock.
Sanwo-Olu said this on Saturday during an interactive session with his classmates at the Executive Master of Business Administration class, University of Lagos, 1998/2000 set.
The erstwhile classmates held a “Congratulatory Dinner Reception,” in Sanwo-Olu’s honour at Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi.
At the dinner, they presented to him a policy document designed by them, which contained their ideas and suggestions on some of what Sanwo-Olu could do in office to have a successful tenure.
They also asked him specific questions and his plans about them.
One of the questions was what he would do about the trailers causing the gridlock in Apapa.
Taking on the issue, Sanwo-Olu promised that within the first 60 days in office, he would rid Apapa of the trailers.
He said, “The Apapa trailer issue; it’s a campaign issue; it’s very serious. I’m going to take it very seriously. I believe that it is something that we are going to solve in the first 60 days of our government. Whatever is going to be required of us, we will take them out. There is a lot of politics being played around there. But no, it cannot be the way we’ll continue to live. We cannot continue to give excuses.”
The governor-elect, however, said as a long-term solution, his administration would develop the Badagry Port, to diffuse the pressure on the Apapa Port.
“Five or 10 years ago, if we had been forward-thinking, we would have also realised that the city had actually outgrown the Apapa Port. So, the long-term solution is to build another one. Our government, by the Grace of God, will start the Badagry Port. That is the long-term solution,” he said.
Responding to the concern about the recklessness of some of the Bus Rapid Transit bus drivers, Sanwo-Olu said his administration planned to employ graduates as drivers.
He said, “The BRT issue is something that has to do with culture. When we take over, by the Grace of God, we will advertise and see if we can employ some of our graduates as drivers.
“What I realised is that apart from the money we will be paying them, which is more than what they are paying an average graduate, we need to very quickly tell our people and encourage ourselves that there is dignity in work. We are going to be paying (them) between N80,000 and N100,000 to come and drive these buses because we expect a lot more decency.
“By the time we get the culture of the drivers’ right, the routes are coming up, by the time we finish the Abule-Egba/Iyana Ipaja/Ikeja route, it will boost the number of BRT (buses).”
Sanwo-Olu added that he dreamt of introducing technology to upgrade and model the BRT ticketing system after what is obtainable in the United Kingdom, without necessarily making the process cumbersome for the passengers.
As part of the solutions to gridlock around the city, he said his administration hoped to, by the middle of next year, complete the blue rail starting from Okokomaiko, through to Mile 2, Orile and Marina.
“The water will work, BRT buses will work and rail will work,” Sanwo-Olu said.