Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, had told Lagosians that he would “name and shame” people (saboteurs) who would work against the success recorded by the new call-up system introduced on February 27, by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to control truck movement in Apapa.
It was a moral commitment the governor made to Lagosians in the belief that the gridlock would not come back any time soon.
The governor, who spoke against the backdrop of the return of sanity in Apapa within the first three days of the implementation of the call-up system, disclosed that what Apapa residents, businesses, and indeed, Lagosians as a whole were enjoying was the product of many months of behind-the-scenes efforts.
“All of you had woken up on Saturday to see sanity as we started what we promised our citizens. We gave a commitment that we will do everything possible to solve the gridlock problem of Apapa,” the governor enthused at the commissioning of Lekki 1 and 2 Abraham Adesanya Roundabouts in Lekki.
“I am facing the camera now and saying that we will not stop at anything to ensure that anybody that tries to retract and take us back to where we are coming from on the gridlock on Apapa, we will do everything that we have to fight those people.
“We will name and shame them, we will bring out their names, be it a corporate organisation, company, police officer, Lagos State officer, be it a union; we will bring them to the public court for them to see that we are serious. We cannot condone the recklessness and carelessness that our citizens have gone through,” Sanwo-Olu told Lagosians.
The implementation of the call-up system in the last one month has shown that the governor over trusted the situation on ground. It is very clear now that the call-up system has failed. The present chaos on the roads, particularly on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway shows there is no system in place.
A couple of weeks ago, the question people were asking was whether the system had collapsed. Again, they were asking if the state government and NPA were overwhelmed by the resurgence of the trucks.
Today, the question is whether Governor Sanwo-Olu has not seen or heard enough from the Task Team for him to name and shame those behind the collapse of the call- system and the forceful return of the gridlock on roads and bridges leading to Apapa.
To ensure a seamless implementation of the call-up system, Lagos had set up a special traffic team headed by the special adviser to the governor on transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka. Other members include the senior special assistant to the governor on Central Business Districts (CBD), Sola Giwa, senior special assistant on political security intelligence, Ayodeji Laurent, Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu and general manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Olajide Oduyoye.
Whether it is on the Ijora-Apapa Bridge where trucks are parked in two lanes covering the entire Apapa in-bound lane, or the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway where trucks are snaking their way from the Oshodi end and also from Lagos Badagry Expressway, the collapse of the call-up system seems visible, as motorists are stuck in traffic for several hours.
Ernest Chukwu, a car dealer at Berger Yard, who spoke with our correspondent who went to assess the situation there, said “Doesn’t the government know that their call-up is no longer working?
Earlier in an interview, Ayo Vaughan, chairman, Apapa GRA residents association declared that the call-up system was not working.
“Perhaps it worked in the first five days of its introduction, but as it is now, the system is not working; it has failed woefully,” he said.
He noted that there were people who were benefiting from the chaos that the call-up system had come to end, pointing out that those people were still around fighting to ensure that the system does not work.
“This is where I blame Lagos State government and NPA for not having a good plan for such people who can be found even within their ranks. Government should fish out those people and deal with them. That is why there is government. For the governor to say he would name and shame means those saboteurs are known. He does not have to take one year to name and shame them,” he said.