“Fashola, where is your conscience?” – Lanre Basamta @basamta

Published:21 Nov, 2012

“Fashola, where is your conscience?” – Lanre Basamta @basamta

One upon a time, there were leaders…

Once upon a time there was a leadership with intelligence; a government with conscience and an oligarchy with a human face

Once upon a time, there were governors who could be appealed to. Men and women who truly cared for their people, and not only the privileged class

Men and women who had blood pumping in their veins, and sound ideas flowing through their mind

Once upon a time, governments listened to the people





How can anyone explain the Lagos State Government ban on commercial motorcycle operations in Lagos?

How can anyone help me understand a government that deliberately sends almost ten thousand youths, yeah 10,000 into the unemployment market because of one abject policy move?

How can one explain the dubious duplicity of governor Fashola, who exploited the Okada Riders for his elections and how now left them in a lurch by his policy?

How is it logical or sane for a government of the people and for the people, to so decide to hurt and malign the same people in this manner?


To start with, the constitution of Nigeria guarantees free movement of persons and goods from one place to another

The same constitution allows for one to employ free and fair means to convey himself in the fulfillment of his aspirations and intentions of movement

How then did Governor Fashola convince the state Assembly otherwise?

How did the Assembly sef sat down to decide and argue against the continuous existence of Okada-particularly on the 475 major roads?


I remember vividly the government of Senator Bola Tinunbu and the first tenure of Fashola,

I remember them always lamenting that they couldn’t afford to maintain federal roads as it isn’t part of their terms of reference

Why then have they decided to play lords over these roads?

Why have they decided to receive what should have belonged to Cesar and even God at the same time?

How is it that Fashola-a man once believed to be a people’s person now turn around and stab them in the back?


Listen to the government’s lame claims


  • The government opined that Okada riders accounts for most accident on Lagos roads
  • They also claim that criminals explore the easy mobility mechanism of Okoda by using it as getaway vehicles
  • Finally, the government claimed that Okada riders willfully disobey traffic law-hence the ban


My response:


To start with, the opinion that Okada accounts for the most accidents on Lagos roads is very unsubstantiated and highly prejudicial

Some of the most reportedly tragic and ghastly accidents on Lagos roads over the years have involved tanker Drivers, ‘Danfo’-commercial buses, reckless private drivers and of course the perennial bad road

No doubts Okada contributes their fair share. But really where is the fact?

Where are the facts claiming that okada causes more accidents than other means of transportation?

Where are the incontrovertible evidences to back up this lame claim that’s Okada are the biggest impediments to safety on our roads?

Is it because the Riders are often poor and can’t seem to articulate their own positions?

Is it because their unions are so fragmented, and their leaders not quite literate enough to mount the right propaganda against this evil of government?

Infact, even if Okada were the most reckless means of transportation, does that now warrant a ban?

When Airplanes were falling off the skies in 2005, and ‘Molues’ (rickety commercial Mass transit buses) were killing en-masse in the 90s, did we response to such social malaise with a ban?

Even as tanker drivers and ‘Danfos’ cause untold hardship right now, does Fashola has the guts or grit to open his mouth and announce a ban on their activities?


On government’s claim that criminals use Okada as escape mechanism each time they perpetuate their act,

What a lame excuse! What a weak and blatantly spineless argument

The real thieves don’t use okada, am sure we all know that!

The dare-devil armed robbers, who rob in teams with assorted weaponry, would not belittle themselves on bikes

They might spy on bikes, but they generally need good strong vehicles to negotiate their way on Lagos’ treacherous roads

I agree that many small time miscreants use motorcycle to rob

Infact, I will agree that some low tech, moderately organized gangs adopt Okada for their raid and assault

But for Christ sake, we have been around from the days of ‘Shina Rambo’ and other notoriously effective armed robbers

We have either witnessed or been informed about getaway patterns for a regular robbery day in Lagos

Which one of the scenarios has been more repetitive? The okada getaway line or the armored convoyed vehicles including saloon cars, buses and even speed boats?

Why cant the governor not ban those other means of transportation?

Why doesn’t he, in the interest of safety- as claimed, ban commercial buses, private cars and commercial boats because he wants to keep Lagos safe?


And finally to the disobedience of traffic law…

You help me ask please. Don’t Danfo drivers disobey the same laws?

Haven’t LASTMA apprehended more private offenders and Danfo driver than Okada riders driving against one way?

Which groups of road users in Lagos are more reckless than Orile tanker drivers or Tin Can containers drivers?

Are okada riders really more reckless than even BRT drivers?

Do they disobey more rules than pedestrians crossing at Ojota or Palmgrove on Ikorodu roads?

Are Okada riders as crazy as government officials and the military that blare their sirens and offend other road users with their impunity and recklessness?


The truth is not very hard to come by

Governor Fashola has chosen to ban okada because they are the most defenseless and helpless road users in Lagos

Governor Fashola and his government have chosen to ban Okada on the major roads because he doesn’t understand the real feeling of Lagosians

Governor Fashola banned Okada because he doesn’t appreciate the augmented role of the motorcycles as a means of transport

He announced the ban because he doesn’t care about sending 10,000 jobless youths into the labour market

He announced the ban because he really hasn’t completely dissociated himself from the military mentality of banning everything that does not align with his sanctimonious position of Right against Wrong

And I am sad


I am sad because I voted for him

I am sad because a man-once of the people has turned against them

I am sad because his enforcement team has even gone beyond the 475 roads and have began to harass and arrest young men who go about trying to eke a decent and fair living

I am sad because government across many states of this country have chosen to adopt this crass and conscienceless policy across board

I am sad because day by day, the promised hope appears farther than ever

I am truly sad that the poor and wretched of our land always keep suffering for the ignominy of our heartless oligarchy


Yeah I drive daily in Lagos, but yet I fear for the many who cannot afford vehicles

I worry for the many families whose fathers have been deprived of jobs

I worry for the many children that would be sent out of school because of the inability of their parents to pay school fees

I worry endlessly for the many Lagosians who have to trek many miles each day just to achieve very simple tasks

I worry and am saddened at the defiance of a government who has chosen to be deaf to our needs, blind to our fears and dead to our wants


Fashola, where is your conscience?


Lanre Basamta



Twitter: @basamta

One thought on ““Fashola, where is your conscience?” – Lanre Basamta @basamta”

  1. Deji D. says:

    How I wish Fashola himself could see, read and absorb this!!!

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