By: FEMI OWOEYE
When, last week, the Lagos State government ruled that it would no longer tolerate indiscriminate queues for fuel in Lagos, I thumped up, thinking Governor Ambode had decided to live up to first four letters of his name: “Ambo..”, which literally translates to “we are coming”.
Thursday, relevant government agencies, including DPR, LASTMA and the police swung into action, a scene that was reminiscent of the former governor Babatunde Fashola’s regime.
Friday, there were still queues as expected. But, as Lagos government had ruled, single lanes were maintained at all filling stations, where fuel was being dispensed. In fact, on my way from the National Arts Theatre, all of us traveling in my friend’s car, commended the governor’s action, though opinions were divided over sustainability of that orderliness, as reflected in the following conversation, which ensued during our journey from Iganmu to Ikeja:
My Friend: This is good, but unfortunately, the man can’t sustain it; he doesn’t have action like Fashola.”
Myself: Not in this case. I believe he was merely studying the environment before and now he is ready to prove the likes of you wrong.
My. Friend: I wish you were right. But give it some days, if fuel scarcity does not subside, you will see the lawlessness again. Are Okada riders not back at zones where they were banned from?
Myself: I believe this is different, because any motorist caught contravening the rule know he or she would be generating money for Lagos state in form of fine.
My Friend: I know what I’m talking about. Unlike Fashola’s government, problem with Ambode’s is lack of personal follow-up, as governor Fashola used to do, even going as far as riding on a power bike. I can bet it, LASTMA officials will abandon this action in matter of days.
I disagreed with my friend until I traveled round on Saturday. Black marketers were back on the roads. Unscrupulous motorists had resumed forming double lane queues, causing traffic gridlock. What baffled me most was the lawlessness being perpetrated at Mobil Filling station by the Airport Hotel, about a stone throw from Alausa, the seat of power.
The station did not only entertain double queues, there were vehicles attempting to enter via the exit gate, all of which
resulted in traffic gridlock. There were LASTMA officials at the Allen Roundabout. They knew what was going on. Even if they were not assigned to monitor petrol stations, is it not part of their training to call for reinforcement or alert appropriate authority whenever traffic illegality is being committed near their duty post?
I don’t blame them anyway. I blame the Lagos State governor. I am beginning to agree with my friend’s line of argument that governor Ambode, though has good intentions and programme, lacks follow-up ability like his predecessor.
I hope to be proved wrong this week.