Soludo to Rejig Transport Sector, Meets TOOAN, Stakeholders

By Isdore Ndubisi

The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has assured the public that plans are underway to make public transportation in the state accessible to everybody, noting that his administration is bent on making the state a peaceful, livable and a smart city state for all.

The governor made the disclosure at the Anambra State Secretariat, Awka, during an interactive session with the state executives and branch coordinators of the Tricycle Owners Operators of Nigeria (TOOAN), Anambra State, Wednesday, as a follow up to the government’s ban on touting in the state.

Prof. Soludo who was represented by the Commissioner for Transport, Mrs Patricia Igwebuike, said aside insecurity; the most important of all was for public transportation to be accessible to all, regardless of social status.

In his words, ‘The most important thing is for public transportation to be accessible to the people, regardless of whether you are rich or poor. But the problem that we are having at the moment is people being insensitive to other people.

‘We just finished a meeting with the Keke Drivers Union and we have charged them to do the right thing; that they should drive their Keke carefully and be courteous to people. Keke is a dignified job, therefore, there is no reason why you should behave and drive in a reckless manner.’

Furthermore, Prof. Soludo implored the tricycle operators to desist from causing obstruction on the road and to also steer clear of the expressway, saying that tricycle was not designed to drive on the expressway.

‘There is no reason why you should be driving on the expressway, because that is not the type of vehicle that should ply the expressway. We have also charged them to use the parks, because when they do, the road is decongested. But when they start loading on the roads, all hell gets loosed.

‘People should obey the traffic laws, drive carefully and be considerate of one another, because that will help us to drive with sanity. We are going to do our best to have marine transport for the people that live at the riverside areas as an alternate transport, as it is in the developed world and we are getting to that stage where you will have to use automated payment options for transportation,’ Prof. Soludo said.

He also reiterated that public transportation would remain an integral part of everything that would happen in the state and promised to do his best to make sure that public transportation was accessible to everyone.

‘So if we have a transportation that is accessible to everyone, then people in Anambra State will be happier, their lives will be better and it will work with the dream of this administration in getting us to be a smart city state,’ the governor added.

Highlights of the meeting, among others, included discussions on road congestion, reckless driving, security, lack of parks, exorbitant private park charges, road traffic violation and touting.

Stakeholders in attendance were the permanent secretary, Ministry of Transport, Pharm. Dr. Emma Akpeh; Head of Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), Engr. Macdonald Achuam; Head of Department, Transport Operations, Chris Okeke; Head of Department, Parks and Traffic Management, Engr. Okafor Chukwunonso.

Also, TOOAN Chairman, Anambra State, Comrade Obiora Sylvester and Consultant, Anambra Traffic Management Corporation (ATMC), Engr. Wisdom Onyemelukwe, were present.