A transport expert, Professor Bamidele Badejo, has picked holes in the Nigeria’s transport policy, even as he enumerates strategies for effective public transport management in the country.
Badejo who is the former Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, linked bad leadership in the sector to an absence of a national transport policy, which he said, forms the cardinal challenge facing the country sector in the last 100 years of her existence.
The Transport expert staked this in an inaugural lecture titled “Transporting the Future Today: Portrait of Nigeria “which he delivered at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
He stated that over the years, the transport industry in the country had witnessed several missed opportunities.
He posited that transport “is potentially engine of growth and development that can add stimulus to the Nigerian economy Nigeria has not innovated nor invented the right approach towards tapping the full benefits of transport sector.”
According to him, there is a nexus between a visionary leadership and comprehensive national transport policy as the roadmap to salvaging Nigeria cannot make progress without improved transportation system.
Also, the sector cannot advance without a well-planned public transportation system.
Badejo explained that in the last 25 years, the warning “has insistently been given of the dilemma Nigeria is likely to face if mobility and accessibility questions are not sincerely, constructively and pragmatically addressed.
The lecturer pointed out that between 40 and 80 per cent wages “are currently spent on transportation of which the road mode is the dominant. Again, 50-60 per cent cost of freight is consumed by transportation.”
He said as Nigeria would be deciding political leadership in 2015, transport “must be one of the key issues of the electorates’ demand. The paradigm must change to accord it with the national aspiration demanding a better country.
“We canvassed that transport and in the contest, efficient and effective national transportation agenda must become one of the issues that the electorates should demand from the country’s political leadership in the next election,” he said.
He added that Nigeria’s transport and mobility quagmire “must be effectively settled.”
“At macro or micro societal level and even not excluding individual family existence, mobility has truly become a herculean need,” he said.
Given the deplorable state of public transportation system in the country, the don, therefore, pointed out that “to what extent can we say that those bestowed with leadership and governance have evolved credible mechanizing-enduring policy, programmes and projects-to resolve the multifarious challenges?”
However, Badejo made recommendations that are critical to resolving crises of public transportation in the country.
He cited the compelling need for the Nigerian governments “to conduct an inventory or survey of all existing constituent parts of the public transport system along with the evaluation of the potentials.”
He explained that such an evaluation “is to determine what is available, establish the areas of their weakness and strengths, their potentials and prospects in designing a coherent, coordinated and comprehensive strategic development plan.”
The former Transport Commissioner stressed the need to determine the investment and financial needs of the transport sector by the governments in order “to have a functional and sustainable public transport system in Nigeria. This calls for government becoming better informed on the nature, characteristics and methodologies of running public transport business.”
He decried the prevalence of quackery in the transport industry which he described as he bane of many state-owned transport schemes, where massive public expenditures “have been committed in the past without commensurate returns. But public transportation demands the use of practitioners for the industry.
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