I have observed silently and pitifully the reactions of the Lagos State populace, especially the overwhelming silence of the elite, as regards the recent increase in the BRT bus fares to some axis in Lagos state and I can’t but wonder where we actually got it wrong.
Some commented only on social media platforms while most just ignored and I kept asking myself the reasons for the overwhelming silence. Is it because the people who will be majorly affected by the fee hike don’t really have access to the social media, could it be that people all of a sudden can now afford the fee hike comfortably or we just don’t care.
Could it be that the people who can speak up against this are either working under this administration, on appointment or just saving their heads because of future political ambitions.
How long do we continue to live like second class citizens of Lagos State? How long will it take to enjoy the benefits of democracy equally in our division? How long will we have to wait for this present administration to offer us laudable projects like it’s done on the island and not offer a crime-hardened section of our youths amnesty? Or are they what they are because they wish to. The last time I checked, they are the victims of the government policies, they are a product of our economy and as long as the political class still see them as a tool or a means to an end, the will to rehabilitate them will never come.
If the people outside Lagos State see Ikorodu as a village and not a suburb that it actually is, do we need the government to remind us with their policies? Even when the BRT buses were first established, the first time I boarded a fully and perfectly working air conditioned bus was when I boarded one from Eko roundabout to Obalende. This left me wondering if it was the same BRT that we have in Ikorodu.
We know most of the projects being proposed, even the 4th mainland bridge, are primarily not to develop Ikorodu. It’s just a way to ease the movement for us to work on the Island and the other “privileged” areas whilst living in Ikorodu and also get charged for it. We know the plan is to reside in Ikorodu and work in the privileged areas, Ikorodu gets localised while the other axis gets industrialised. They build roads, bridges and flyovers there while the roads to our own industrial estate, which is the largest industrial estate in West Africa is left in a bad and deplorable state. I don’t remember anyone complaining but do we still need to suffer to please the government. It’s not even news that the newly constructed Ikorodu-Ketu stretched was meant to be tolled if not for the persistence of HRM Late Oba Oyefusi of blessed memories.
The Oba is now long gone and I’ve resigned myself to that fact that even Ikorodu elites are playing the silence game, but for how long would we continue this inaudible agony?
Have seen people argue that the BRT buses are not for the common man to the extent that an average market woman feels ashamed to be on the queue for the bus and I still don’t get why there should be any dichotomy between us in a democracy. Just when we thought an average citizen can enjoy the benefits of democracy and just when we felt we are all equal. I school four hours away from Lagos State and I was expecting a demonstration on this but was amazed none was organized.
Has anyone noticed the joy on the faces of the common men on the bus? Even when they have to wait for hours, they still know it will get to them. Even when they know the system is bad, they still believe there can be improvement but we all can guess how they feel now.
The hike in the fares is not only unwarranted but uncalled for and hypocritical. It doest even translate to increment in salaries of the workers nor increase in the welfarism of the populace.
In a business that’s being funded by tax payers in which they don’t even have access to information on the account of ownership and no stewardship report in sight, an increment is cruel at a time like this when many can’t even afford three square meals.
I guess this policy is only echoing the normal sentiment that the bus is too comfortable to be affordable for a commoner but I believe that a government that can afford to pay $50,000 to a Non-Nigerian, organise parties on Eko Atlantic, extend the days of the One Lagos Fiesta, organise the Lagos street carnival among all other numerous parties should be able to subsidise the least of all our necessities and not make profits from it.
To the commoners who are directly affected, will advise in Yoruba that “e fi ija fun olorun ja and know that “eni ti a ba le da mu, olorun la ma n fi fun”. Will just advise we go and start boarding our TATA and danfo, wait sef, I been hear say danfo too go soon go extinction? Guess its time to get rali bicycle for ourselves then.
To the elites and the suffering & smiling class, I believe you can afford the fare even if it’s not comfortably and that’s why you are silent. Or you believe there will be reduction in the queue and those dirty men and women you see on the queue will reduce abi?
In the words of Martin NIEMOLLER who wrote and I quote “first they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist; then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist; then they came for the trade unionist and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me”.
Today they came for the commoner, tomorrow might be for the elites and there will be no one to speak out for you.
Sobona Wasiu Adekunle