20th March, 2011
As the campaign train for his re-election continues to move around the State, no fewer than 500, 000 Lagos transport operators Saturday marched through the streets of the Metropolis in demonstration of their support for a second tenure of the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN).
The over three and a half hour march which began from the Tafawa Balewa Square in Central Lagos and terminated at the Lagos House, Ikeja, was the climax of one week of activities by the various transport unions under the auspices of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Chapter, to drum up support for a second term for the Governor.
Addressing the thousands of transporters at the open grounds of the Government House, Alausa, Governor Fashola said the transformations undertaken by his administration in the Transport Sector was aimed at not only creating an enabling environment for transporters but also to create jobs in the sector.
The Governor recalled that at the inception of his administration in 2007, the transporters stood by the Government and pledged to work with it, expressing joy that four years later, the administration has recorded tremendous achievements in the sector.
Governor Fashola, who commended the operators for their love for his administration declared, â€œThe event of today is a manifestation of the love which you have for our Government and the people of Lagos. We thank God that today; many achievements have been recorded in the Transport Sector in the Stateâ€. â€œI promise you that more transformations are on the way. The Taxi Cab Scheme has made it possible for people call taxies to come and pick them from their homes. It is an indication that Government has succeededâ€, the Governor said.
Recalling that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Scheme was heavily criticized at inception, Governor Fashola noted with joy that â€œtoday, the BRT has not only become a model in Nigeria but in the whole of the African Continentâ€.
He also recalled that out of concern for the livelihood and safety of commercial motorcycle riders in the State, his administration did not ban the operation but only restricted them to some roads and issued them with crash helmets and other safety gadgets.
â€œUnlike the PDP controlled governments in Abuja and Port Harcourt, we did not ban you. Our major concern was your safety and livelihood. That is why we gave you crash helmets. We will give you moreâ€, the Governor said thanking the Okada operators for their understanding and cooperation with his administration.
Governor Fashola said his administration built a total of 147 roads in less than four years with 60 more at various stages of completion while another 44 roads are ongoing.
He said Government was equally developing other modes of transportation such as the Light Rail System and water transportation pointing out that all these meant expansion of the transport sector and more jobs for the people. â€œIt is only a Government that is thinking, planning and working for the people that can give you chance for survivalâ€, he said. â€œI am always with you on May 1 every year back to back even though that day is my wedding anniversary. I have told my wife to give me that anniversary day for you so that I can be with you. It is only a Government that cares that can do that for the peopleâ€, Governor Fashola said.
Urging the transporters to ensure that their votes go to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at all the elective levels during the general elections, Governor Fashola declared, â€œYou must vote massively for the ACN as you did in 2007. Your votes for ACN will guarantee the continuation of this transformation and a better rewarding future for youâ€. â€œLagos is the place to be. This is the place you run to for security; we have given you free education and quality healthcare delivery. This is the only State that has built accident ward and put in place mobile ambulance because we know that there will be accidents sometimes and the need to save livesâ€, the Governor said.
He commended the transporters for the orderly manner they had comported themselves throughout the march pointing out that even the Police commended them for the peaceful rally.
The State Chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni, said the transport unions came to thank the Governor for the good work he has done in the Transport Sector in the State and to assure him of their votes in the coming elections.
He declared, â€œAll the various transport unions are here today to thank you for what you have done for us and to tell you that you are still the right man for the job. You can see what we have on our vests, â€œThe Right Man 4 D jobâ€, â€œLagos deserves Fashola, Fashola Deserves Lagosâ€, and Eyes of Lagosâ€.In his own remarks, Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners, Mr. Yinka Quadri, said his association participated in the rally as a way to show their support for the Governor and all the good works he has done and prayed that God would see him through in his second term to accomplish more for Lagos State and Nigeria. Also in his remarks, Chairman of the Lagos State Taxi Driversâ€™ Cooperative Society, Dr. Lateef Oseni said the Society had in the last one week engaged in various activities, including a rally in Yaba on Wednesday where over 250, 000 members met to endorse the Governor for a second term. The march, which started at about 11.00 am, took the marchers through Bamgbose, Campbell, Tinubu Square and Nnamdi Azikiwe streets in Central Lagos, Carter Bridge, Iddo, Oyingbo, Apapa Road, Funso Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road Old Lagos Secretariat Road, Police College, Ikeja, Awolowo Road and terminated at the Lagos House, Alausa at 3.30 p.m. Other unions represented in the march included Motorcycle Owners and Riders Society MOARS), Ajeigboro and Tipper Drivers Association, National Association of Mechanics and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) among others.