As someone who knows how the Lagos Agberos operate and personal media aide to the Chief Executive Officer, A.A Motors, Trucks & Logistic service, Prince Ajele Abeyi Abayomi popularly known as Ikomodina who also doubles as Lagos state parks and garages management, (LASPGM) Branch C’ Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Badadgry Division, my principal sought my opinion as the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN) dented the image of LASPGM by alleging extortion and exploitation. I wish to inform the general public that the yellow bus (Danfor) drivers and conductors known as Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), are also Agberos. This is a hidden fact. And for clarity, the interpretation given to Agbero by many Nigerians is incorrect. Agbero isn’t a controversial person nor someone who has criminal tendencies as many believe. Instead, Agbero is he or she who calls passengers into a bus and get paid for the service. It’s also someone who welcomes a group or passengers into bus.
Now, what transpired amid LASPGM, Lagos park committee, and JDWAN?
There is an underground politics being played by the strong opposition party within the state to cause chaos between the two groups. I have read a lot of posts and comments by some people with no pedigree and good reputation on this matter. These are people who are seeking for unnecessary attention after being used and dumped by Lagos politicians.
It is sound to note that, the first person who attempted to organised the Agbero and Area Boys to one identifiable organization was former chairman, Lagos Island local government, late Hon Ademola Adeniji Adele. The truth remains that Agberos are regarded as “Omo Ita” meaning “Thugs”. They make this conclusion because of how Agberos sometimes engage themselves when they have internal issue. However, this is not peculiar to only them. It is a general issue, even among the so-called learned people. Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, recently threw chairs at themselves during the annual Nigeria Bar Association conference held in Lagos. What do we say about some National Assembly members that turned the House to a boxing ring by engaging themselves with blows on national television during preliminary hearing or sitting?
To me, Agbero is just a menial job undertaken by young unemployed Nigerians. They’re in every state in Nigeria including Lagos state. The Agberos in Lagos state thrive more than their counterparts in other state in terms of education and wealth, and this is because Lagos is a commercial centre and hub of transportation. Many think Agberos is only in Nigeria. Anyways, that’s not true. According to my principal, there are Agberos in Belarus, Germany, Los Angeles in the United States of America, Shrewsbury Town in United Kingdom, etc. These are people (in western world, called commission agents) who get passengers into the aircraft, coaches and buses.
In my conversation with him recently, he said many believe that the Agberos of yesterday and not different from today’s. But with Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya popularly called MC Oluomo’s leadership has changed a lot of things. There are more responsible persons and professionals doing the job. It is the emergence of these well-meaning citizens that’s giving the union a favourable image. Most of the branch chairmen in Lagos state under MC Oluomo are graduates and professional among them are; Comrade Olayiwola Salvage, graduate from LASU, B.sc/M.sc Transportation & planning, Comrade Onikoyi Johnson, graduate of Engineering from Yabatech, Comrade Raji Tunde, a graduate of LASU with B.sc Political Science, & current supervisory councillor on Revenue & Agric, Isolo LCDA. , Comrade Agboola Akeeem a graduate of Mathematics from prestigious University of Lagos, Unilag, Comrade, etc. They’ve all be given a task to put the union on the right track.
Recently, Lagos state government documented data base of every member of the Union. And the union in its parcel, developed and launched Bar code security measures to protect and prevent crimes, kidnapping and loss of properties in and out of Lagos parks and garages. I can say this is the first of its kind in Lagos state and Nigeria in general. Also, a loyal and responsible member of the union facilitated a local road project in Mile 2. An upgrade of the 1.7km of road rehabilitation in Amuwo Odofin.
In a data base record revealed by Lagos state Parks and Garages Management (LASPGM), Lagos state council, there are over 2000 graduates in unionism in Lagos state. They’re branch chairmen, secretaries of branches, and park supervisors. In the social structures of Lagos state, Agbero has continued to wave the stride of social, political and economic life of the state. This is unprecedented.
To separate the chaff from the grains, Agbero is different from area boys or thugs who pollute our streets with chaos or violence. The fact that some hoodlums disguise as Agberos to cause an unrest doesn’t mean they are Agberos. Agberos are decent people who work with the Lagos government. The documentation being carried out by the Lagos state government lately will help further in differentiating Agberos from street hoodlums who have taken an oath with controversies.
Fashina Shakiru, a media aide to Ikomodina writes from Lagos.