Opinion: Reawakening the transport sector in Kogi State – Mike Abu

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He takes a look at the efforts made in the 65% subsidy on transport fare in Kogi State by the Captain Idris Wada’s administration. It has been established worldwide that transportation is the conveyor belt of any nation’s economy and the driving force of social interactions. Nigerians and in particular, the citizens of Kogi State no doubt depend on transportation to reach or meet there need for daily existence.

Gov Idris Wada launches Lokoja Bus Unit Service
Gov Idris Wada launches Lokoja Bus Unit Service

It is in view of its importance, that Kogi State Government under the leadership of Capt Idris Wada has always evolve policies to regulate the sector and where necessary intervene to ease the mobility of the society and lessen the hardship of the people. The recent intervention of the administration of Capt Idris Wada aimed at solving the hardship of commuters, necessitated Government’s purchase of twelve number Ashok, Leyland 32–seater buses, with each having a standing provision for 20 passengers as another landmark of the administration.

It would be recalled that the collapse of the Kogi State Transport Company, until the coming of Capt. Idris Wada, caused a lot of hardship on the socio-economic life of the people.

On assumption of office as Governor, Capt Idris Wada adopted four cardinal development priorities as a platform for achieving the transformation agenda objectives of his administration.

This priorities were Education, Agriculture, Health and Social Infrastructure.
Despite lean resources accruing to the State in the last two and the half years, and a huge salary wage bill amidst so much to be done, the State Government under Wada’s leadership has continued to remain true to its mandate; working to provide much needed social services, geared towards accomplishing the transformation agenda of the administration.

The present administration’s quest to give a new lease of life to the people of the State through the introduction of the Lokoja City Bus Service Project is an intervention deriving mainly from the social safety net programme of SURE-P.

The programme which has been generally referred to as a milestone even by worst of critics and those who hardly see any good in government programmes and policies, have publicly acknowledge the benefit of the new transport policy as the commitment of Capt. Wada to the cause of the less-privileged in the society and the mass majority.

With the introduction of the Lokoja City Bus Service project, which Capt Wada disclosed is the first phase of the restructuring of the transportation sector by his administration, the buses which were procured at over N110m is the first step of making Lokoja and Kogi State in general meet modern trend of transportation as witness in bigger cities.

Similarly, with the introduction of the Lokoja City Bus Service, Kogi State government has set a record of being the first government in nigeria that has subsidized transportation for its people by 65%, thus making the scheme affordable for the low income earners, mostly workers.

The beginning of the reform in the transport sector, with the introduction of the Lokoja City Bus Service (LCBS), to be run by Planet Projects Limited, a Consultancy Firm for two years and to be supervised by the Ministry of Transport is not only innovative but a decision taken for the good of the people and coming at a better time.

Aside the acquiring of temporary parking spaces for the buses, which will only attract N50.00 per drop across all routes in the State, the bus Drivers, and Attendants have been well trained to deliver on the State Government’s objectives.

Also aside the employment opportunities LCBS has provided to young graduates in the State, on a daily basis, it is estimated that 5000 passengers would have the privilege of enjoying the State government benefits of its visionary decision.

The LCBS project considered as a people oriented programme of Capt. Idris Wada, is another laudable success of a Public Private Partnership arrangement, which has been the flagship of the Capt. Wada’s administration since its inception, has no doubt endeared the governor to the heart of the people.

It is also important to also state that aside the landmark recorded by the introduction of the LCBS project, the Transport Sector of the Capt. Wada’s administration has not left any one in doubt of its determination to make the road sub sector the envy of all.

Recently, the State government awarded the contract for the expansion and reconstruction of the township road from welcome to Lokoja, through the Army Barracks, Ganaja Junction, Mobil round about to the International Market to CGC Construction Company.

At the inception of the administration of Capt. Idris Wada, it inherited thirty six on- going road projects across the State. It is important to state that all the roads have all been completed or are nearing completion, while new ones like the 16km Otokiti- Ganaja bye pass which has opened up a new lokoja town and other socio- economic opportunities amongst other roads have been initiated.

Knowing the importance of good road network to the socio-economic development of any society, the present administration to be specific and for the benefit of doubt is rehabilitating township roads in Koton-Karfe, Lokoja, Kabba, Iyara, Mopa and Egbe township roads all in the Western Senatorial District.

Similarly, those in Idah, Dekina to mention a few in the Eastern district and others in the Central Senatorial district have also been completed or are either on-going.

Over 1000 kilometers of rural roads have been opened up by the present government.
Without mincing words, the commitment so far shown by the Capt. Wada administration in restructuring the transport sector, which is a work in progress, is geared towards bringing a lot of relief to residents as well as visitors.

It is expected that as part of its plan, the State Government will soon venture into Water Transportation, with emphasis on Ferry Service and water transport interchange as stated by the governor.

The LCBS which remains a highly subsidized transport system by any government in Nigeria, will not only contribute to the reduction of poverty, it will enhance the purchasing power of the citizens, especially civil servants, as monies that will be saved from cost of transportation monthly will be channeled into some other purposes.

Midway into the administration of Capt. Wada, there is no gain saying the fact that the administration is on the right course, serving the people in an atmosphere of trust and commitment to its covenant to offer good governance to the people.

For the Supervising Ministry, the Ministry of Transport. While the government may have done its part in meeting one of the essential needs of its people, one is not in doubt that the pioneer Commissioner will bring his wealth of experience to bear by galvanizing the staffers of the Ministry as well as the consultants towards ensuring the success of the metro bus initiative.

The optimism which has become imperative to state of the commissioner,followed the earlier success he made of his earlier assignment as pioneer Commissioner of the Ministry of Environment in the State. Many are therefore convinced that Hon Abdulrahman Wuya, a round peg in a round hole is capable of actualizing the lofty goals of the present administration as regards the provision of subsidized transport policy to the people of the State. After all to whom more is giving, much more is expected in return.

Written by Abu Micheal,
Chief Press Secretary, Kogi State Deputy Governor

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