Adewale Akande

Adewale Akande

Adewale T Akande,  Author, Educationist and Road Traffic Safety Consultant. Barcelona, Spain. 

Exactly on the 3rd of February this year-2014, Oyo State clocked 38 years. The State was created in 1976 by the then military government led by Late General Murtala Mohammed from the then old Western State which was divided into Ogun, Ondo and Oyo states respectively. In 1991, Osun state was carved out from Oyo state which as of today is having 33 local governments. Since then, we have had both military and democratic governments. The battle forthe Agodi Government House since the first, second and third political dispensations has been producing a one-term government, thus making it a myth that no government/party can rule Oyo State twice.

Governance is a herculean task wellknown to everybody and is even more cumbersome when we fail to recruit the right candidates for the right office. The best football teams always featured the best legs with a good coach. Same applies to governance which must provide a good and harmonious cabinet of people with integrity in order to have good governance. Good governance thus signifies the competent management of resources and affairs in a manner that is open, transparent, honest, accountable, equitable and responsive to people’s needs and problems.  It concerns the state’s ability to serve the citizens and give value for the State money spent on projects. The 1994 World Bank’s Experience Report states that good governance “… is epitomized by predictable, open, and enlightened policy making (that is, transparent process); a bureaucracy imbued with professional ethos; and a strong civil society participating in public affairs; and all behaving under the rule of law”.  Anything short of the above definitions and concepts is mis-governance.

Historically, Oyo is noted for its prominent historical and physical landmarks in art, science and culture. Up till date, the exploits and brilliance of our warrior-forefathers in the old Oyo Empire are still being talked about. We are proud to have the first University College established in 1948 (now the University of Ibadan), the first general teaching hospital in Nigeria (UCH), the first television station in Africa (NTA Ibadan), the first ever international sportsstadium built in Africa (Liberty Stadium, now ObafemiAwolowo Stadium), the first skyscraper to have been built in Africa (Cocoa-House), the first Five-Star Hotel in Nigeria (The Premier Hotel, Ibadan).  Almost all these were sacrificial and innovative initiatives of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo who spent government money to better the lives of the citizens. Now, thirty-eight years after the creation of the State (from 3rd of February, 1976) and fifteen years of democratic government in the state (from 29th of May, 1999), we have not seen any major development in the state apart from the endless continuation of roads construction and rehabilitationwithout modern improvements of side-walks, drainage system and traffic signs by subsequent governments with all manners of looting from the treasury.

Regrettably and without any controversy or argument, and judging by my recent visits to other South–West states to see infrastructural developments and best ways to touch peoples’ lives, Oyo State is the least developed State out of all states in the geo-political zone in the last seven years and three and a half years respectively in terms of infrastructure as I am writing. Most people cannot even see beyond their noses, especially those who in the recent times have never travelled out of the city to other States to see what is called infrastructural developments and best ways to touch people’s life. To me, this ugly development stemmed from the fact that no government has ever served in Oyo for two terms. The two-term government jinx would be broken if the government in power is able to fulfill its promises while a lot of work has to be done to put the State in her pace-setting phenomenon.

I will like to start with my area of specialization which is road traffic safety. Without any political bias, all the present State representatives – be it the executive or legislative arms - need to do is just take a ride by themselvesone day and drive round the cities they are representing and see for themselves. From the State capital, take the disorganized Agodi-Gate, just a stone-throw to the seat of government through the clumsy Iwo Road bridge round-about, down to the grid lock at Ojoo-Odogbo by-pass, through the NISER-Orogun-UI route to Sanngo to the ever-busy Dugbe-Challenge - Molete axis. The scenes that would confront them would be made up of street hawkers with their high patronage at Mokola roundabout bikes troupe, UI entrance jam-lock and Ojoo truck drivers’ menace. Almost all of these roads are constructed without side-walks and efficient drainage mechanism and befitting Bus-Stops erected for commercial drivers to pick their passengers as they like. The same visitations can also be done in main cities of Oyo, Saki and Ogbomoso, to mention but the big names.

Meanwhile, for any government to win the votes of the people of Oyo State, it has to do more with the following possible dividends of democracy: by recruiting the best professionals in the cabinet and stop compensating some families with sensitive posts which I regarded as democratic stupidity in a State with sea of qualified professionals for the herculean task of governance; education should be made free, compulsory and qualitative with rehabilitation of all public schools and structures and no child must be left out there hawking and begging for alms during the school hours; provision of free medical services and rehabilitation of State hospitals with modern equipment and drugs;  rehabilitation and construction of all roads network in the State with side-walks and drainage facility; commitment to zero pot-holes in all the State roads; provision of jobs for unemployed graduates; planting of trees and flowers as beautification on our roads should be left to professionals; introduction of effective and efficient management boards on traffic safety, waste (can’t the authority find out why refuse are not dumped in the middle of the road in other States), tax-collectors,etc.;provision of safe and clean potable pipe-borne water in all homes as an average person in the city may use 200 litres (50 gallons) of water for their personal use each day. Is there any other usefulness for Asejire, Eleyele and Osegere water-plants?.

In addition, civil servants and pensioners salaries and allowances must be paid before the month ends; re-establishment of the State newspapers; make provision to build public libraries with free internet services within the vicinity; medical centers and Mini-Sports centers in all thirty-three local government areas (Is there any public library around your area?);provision of undisrupted electricity supply to improve the standard of living and quality of live; provision of functioning street lights in the interior and urban areas to be maintained (and not only selected areas for visitors or decoration); provision of visible and reflective road signs and streets naming and numbering; provision of public toilets in all main city-centers; and the creation of more industries, investment and result-oriented research on agriculture, science and technology.

Aji se bi Oyo laari, Oyo kisebienikookan (literarily meaning: Oyo is the pacesetter and never copy others). This is the time for greatness and let us leave behind a life of mediocrity. Governance is a complex system that needs capable hands to be able to achieve those dividends of democracy for the citizens who have to be characterized by three key values of accountability, transparency and participation. When this is done, the party or government in power wins the support of the populace which guarantees them a return to power for the second term.To beat those politicians, we have to smarter and realistic and vote for the best candidate as our choice dictates our future. Leaders are not made or born, but they are self-made. This is a time for a real transformation and not transaction. It is time to seek for leaders that do great things we have known our forefathers for. Oyo State is big and rich enough to decide for themselves and accommodate all their dreams.

Adewale T Akande,

An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)

Friday, 02 January 2015 18:31

Are We a Generation of Mediocrities?

To be honest with you, since I came to the country for an international project on road traffic safety in Abuja towards the end of 2013, I have been restless and having sleepless nights in brainstorming and thinking of a simple realistic solution to the multi-various fundamental problems of my fatherland called Nigeria. I so much have the belief that there is no problem without a solution, if we could recognize the problem and are ready to take action. As usual, this three-month project eventually turned to eight months without any alteration from the contract papers. What could have been a disaster of the contract extension is now making me to stay back in the country to fully understand the problems and contribute my small quota to be part of fixing solutions without bloodshed.

My heart bleeds anytime our “enemies within” strike to kill innocent citizens and make mockery of our armed forces about releasing our Chibok girls. The unexpected project extension makes me to stumble on many books in my archives and I found again “a well researched and instructive book…I have always been guided by the examples of great achievers and reading through the book gave me additional inspiration. The book will need to be reviewed and popularized so that it can have wide readership” as posted at the back cover by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at the time he was the democratic President of Nigeria. Up till now, I keep on wondering why the General with all what he read in this well-researched book found it difficult to fix the Nigeria’s electricity issue and rehabilitate all major Nigerian roads, most especially the most widely travelled highway in Nigeria, the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. The book is titled: “Nigeria: From Depression to Greatness-using achievers’ technique”. It was written by able film and television production guru and administrator, Bola Aborisade.

This book was published in 2003 (11 years ago) and contains a lot of research findings, insights and exceptional information that can turn the sleeping giant back to its feet, re-write our history and reshape our destiny from the hands of mediocres and imbeciles. We have had them in corridor of powers since 1960. There is no page in that book that does not provide one of the solutions to Nigeria’s complex problems. You just need to read it or read it again if you have done before. But the introductory page touches the relic of African continent and most especially, my fatherland. I will like the permission of the publishers to make extracts of this introductory page for readers of this piece:

“Mr Teddy Holmes, an Englishman, a Senior Agricultural Officer left Samaru to inspect a Federal Government Rice Project in Bida in 1956. He was met on arrival by a Nigerian Officer, an Agricultural Superintendent.  Mr. Holmes surveyed the rice farm and felt the plants had not been growing at the expected rate. “What is wrong?” he asked the Nigerian Officer. “I think the rain…” “Shut up! Don’t think. Can you think? Can you people think? Because you black people can’t think that is the reason why the white man is here to think for you and give you order”, said Mr. Holmes. This is 47 years after (in 2003 when the book was published but now 59 years this year). If Mr. Holmes were to appear again and survey what is going on in many black nations of Africa today, I am sure he would probably ask the same question: Can you black people think?” The white race has made it. The yellow race has made it. It is only the black race that has remained over the ages, the underdog, the dreg, the unfortunate and the never-do-well amongst the human race. No black nation has a buoyant economy. No black nation has overcome poverty, starvation, destitution, squalor and wretchedness. No black nation has acquired technology and used the same to solve problem of its people. The black has become synonymous with non-performance, incompetence, poverty and sorrow. Many say we have no brains. Many call us brutes in human forms. Many call us imbeciles. Up till four decades ago, the white people would not sit with us and we had to be consigned into stables in public transports. Today, our inefficiency, incompetence, indiscipline, lack of wisdom have become everyday juicy gossips in western media. Rather than address this crucial issue, the black elites are busy acquiring luxurious houses in the choice areas of London, New York or Paris…”

Meanwhile, this introductory page written in 2003 (12 years ago) can vividly still be used in a new book introductory page as the story remains the same in the Dark Continent.The level of mediocrity is evident in almost all sectors of the Nigerian federation. My first grudge for this nation goes to our founding fathers (TafawaBalewa, NnamdiAzikiwe, ObafemiAwolowo,Ahmadu Bello, Dennis Osadebey,AlvanIkoku, Anthony Enahoro, M.I Okpara, to name but few) out of which almost 90 percent of them studied abroad with scholarships and those who didn’t travel abroad had Cambridge correspondence programmes. Despite the fact that these nationalists that fought for our independence knew the essence and importance of education, they could not invest, commit and make education free, qualitative, and compulsory for all Nigerian children from primary school (standard six) to secondary or modern school levels, except in the old Western Region. If this was done by the first adminnistration after independence, we wouldn’t have known what is called terrorism or religious crises or poverty as these have torn apart the country. Nigeria could have been competing as one of the five industrialized countries of the world. The subsequent governments and regimes could not do anything to rectify the situation since independence (54 years after) and that is why we are in the situation we are now.

Moreover, those legacies left behind by the British have been privatized and sold to political jobbers that cannot distinguish themselves while in government. The most glaring example is electricity supply that we could not see any difference of much talked-about privatization after a year. A country that produces fuel has to argue, quarrel, fight and even kill themselves to get fuel. I have never queued one day in twelve years of residing in Spain-a country that has no oil. A nation with the highest concentration of the black people could not have an efficient and effective railway network that transports its people across the length and breadth of the nation. Our story is that of incompetency, non-performance attitude and indiscipline that make a nation with enormous natural and human resources produce more than 70 percent of the population to live below poverty level. A country that has what it takes to feed the whole of Africa. The Western media turn us into a laughing stock as we recorded the most disastrous kidnapping of more than 200 Chibokschool girls. What a catastrophe happening to our own generation? Greatness is no longer based on rhetoric as our soldiers ran for safety to Cameroon for their lives.

Finally, in Nigeria, mind control, manipulation and exploitation by the so called political leaders have become major threat facing our voters today as stomach infrastructure take its tolls in decisions taken. The prefered solution to this nation problem rest on the mindset change of the Nigerian citizens in voting for patriotic, committed and competent leaders with vision, passion, conscience and integrity to change our poor nation into a great and prosperous nation. The mind of man can make the man and it can also destroy the man.  This is time to vote en-masse for leaders who will use our enormous human and limitless natural potentials to catapault us into greatness. Life has never denied itself to any person who has given life his all. When you are good to others, you are best to yourself. It is our collective responsibility and decision and not the system in the society or the complex circumstances we are facing that determines the survival of this great entity.  Great hopes make everything possible according to Benjamin Franklin.

Adewale T Akande,

An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)

Leaders are not made or born, but they are self-made and self-developed. Noel Tichy explains that leaders are not born but they are taught with the implication of making the choice to be taught and to follow the teachings.  Leadership is a total sacrifice and not for privileges. A leader must motivate others to follow his vision, to support and achieve the goals and objectives that he sets. Leaders have to earn the followers’ trust, respect, and confidence.Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves, according to Stephen R. Covey. This he explains further that the people/citizens must feel an intrinsic sense of worth (value) with unconditional love regardless of behaviour or performance. Covey also regards leadership as an “enabling art” that enables other arts and professions to work together in a nation, organisation or a family set-up. This is possible with the highest manifestations of four intelligences of all great achievers and leaders which are vision, discipline, passion and conscience.

Meanwhile, past performance/achievement or result orientation in the workplace is the very best indicator of what to look for in a candidate to represent an organisation. Besides, there are seven important qualities of leadership. The first is Vision: This happens to be the most important single quality of leadership. A leader sees into the future with ease to make the day-to-day decisions necessary for the same future expectations. Leaders have a clear idea of where they are heading to and what they are trying to achieve for themselves and the organization they are leading or representing at the end. Some of present African leaders got to power by accidents.

The second quality is foresight that makes leaders have ability to look into the future and get prepared or anticipate what might occur. It should not be confused with vision. This is done through what is called extrapolatory thinking, which is the ability to use facts to predict what is going to happen in the future (consequences of their actions) based on what is happening now.

Integrity is the third most respected quality of leader in every area of activity. It is the quality that guarantees all the other values. This quality distinguishes him or her from the crowd of rulers. The real core of integrity is truthfulness that is the importance of complete honesty in anything you do. Integrity requires you to tell the truth to all people in every situation and circumstance. Keeping your promise and excellent quality of your work or service are key parts of trustworthiness in integrity. A good leader with integrity is responsible and requires dealing in a straightforward way with the reality of the situation, based on real facts rather than hopes, assumptions or wishes.

Courage is another quality that leaders and achievers have in common. This is the risk capacity with every action taken in the achievement of their goals and responsibilities. It is an outward quality of a great leader as they move out of their comfort zones to take the necessary risks that are required to solve a problem. During a serious crisis, a leader will get all the information needed, make the decisions that are required and take the actions that are necessary and expected. This is what is called a true mark of leadership.

Humility is the fifth quality of leaders that have self confidence and self awareness to recognize the value of others without being threatened. With this attribute, it makes it simple for them to get results by using the strength and knowledge of those around them.  No human being has all the answers to all problems. Humility makes a leader to recognize that he could make a mistake and is ready to give credit where it is due. A humble leader never stops learning and does not believe he knows everything there is to know. It is very difficult to see an arrogant person as a successful leader. Humble leaders only know how to do most of listening than talking.

Cooperation is another quality of effective leadership in their ability to work well with other counterparts. This is very essential to leadership success. This is always possible by firstly gaining the cooperation of other colleagues by making a commitment to relate well with them every time while working together. They are respected and liked by others.

Finally, leaders have to focus on what is most important, especially on the needs of the organisation or the situation. This is the ability to focus personal and corporate energies and resources in the most important areas of the activity. Leaders make everyone in the in the institution or organisation to be focused and concentrated on the most valuable use of their time and resources. Good leaders do not complain or criticize as they refuse to spend a single second worrying about something you cannot change - a past event.

Adewale T Akande,

An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)

Saturday, 27 December 2014 22:55

Voting as Democratic Route to Positive Change

It is very correct that everything connected with nature and natural laws is based upon cause and effect. Invariably, every problem we are all witnessing today is caused by our decisions and hence, we definitely have to be part of the solutions.  Gandhi rightly said “We must become the change we seek in the world” some years ago. To buttress this assertion, Barrack Obama said on the 5th of February, 2008 in Chicago, that a “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek”. The development of any democratic nation of the world is a struggle towards three closely related understandings, according to Moore. They includeto check arbitrary rulers; to replace arbitrary rules with just and rational ones and lastly, to obtain a share for the underlying population in the making of rules.In a truly democratic set-up, the mechanism to achieve this laudable feat is through exercise of political right which is the right to vote and be voted for. Voting is an adequate mechanism for a positive change if there is a free and fair election. Voting is a not a yardstick for representatives to disconnect from the citizens after the election and loot the treasury.

The concept of democracy explains the system of governance in which the people choose leaders by casting their votes which is regarded as their sacred power. Besides, to achieve a lasting and ideal democratic regime, an electoral democracy should be along the same line with the liberal democracy which includes the governance by rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. That is why a former American President, Thomas Jefferson opined that without liberal democracy, electoral democracy is “nothing more than mob rule where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49”.

Meanwhile, if there is a way a democratic government enjoys authority by voting, there should always be the same format of ballot mechanism to show the way out to wanting government. This is not always the same in African context of democracy due to election rigging and mal-practices on the part of the incumbent government and lack of massive participation on the part of the eligible voters. Though psychologists and political scientists explain non-participation of individual behavior depends of rational expectations and lack of trust for the government of the day, but people’s personal participation can influence the outcome of elections and political decisions. There is no party that cannot win or lose an electionin a situation of classical grassroots commitment, effective use of latest communication network and unbiased personal participation. Participation should not be viewed only to win an election but winning for the purpose of changing the nation for the best.

Voting is an important aspect of citizens’ responsibility. It occurs when eligible voters of a nation defy sun or rain to go to polls and cast their votes for those candidates they think would make good leaders. The greatest opportunity for a change is voting in a democratic society. A vote is regarded as a present possession that keeps people from repeating the past mistake in the future. What or whom voters vote for determines the things or events that will eventually bless or mar their happiness. The most vital thing to the society is who you want to vote for and not who other people want to vote for. We are in this present situation today as a result of decisions taken and accepted as true. A purpose does what it must, talent does what it can, but en-masse voting brings what you want.All eligible voters should register and vote en-masse for the best candidate with trust, integrity and credibility who will serve them better. Our choice (not chance) determines our destiny. Any eligible voter that refuses to vote has already been defeated by bad representation in government. People that do not vote have to wait so long for the future which has already gone. The less people vote in an election, the more the chances of bad candidates and mediocres to be in government.An adult who does not vote is a slave and at the same time like a person waiting to board a ship at the airport. Sow better seeds by voting for the right candidates and you reap better lives. Your vote can change your life.

Finally, the electoral authority handling elections must be independent and not partial in order to ensure election results that reflect the wishes of the masses. The electoral body has sole responsibility of conducting a free and fair election in any nation and they must be accountable for this activity. The beauty of voting exercise is that you are free to decide within yourself and your conscience the best aspiring patriotic professional candidate of integrity to represent your constituency without any fear or favour. Also, you havethe right of confidentiality in casting your secret ballot without any intimidation. Your vote is your power for positive change. It is your destiny. Your vote is the fight for the future civilization that has to be won. Your vote is not only to win the war but to win the long expected peace and freedom. Your vote will make you stand together until the end. It is the only answer to the problems. George Jean Nathan makes it clearer when he said: “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”. Your vote is your voice. The voice of the people is the voice of God (voxpopulli,vox Dei).  Remember, you are free to choose your candidate but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.

Adewale T Akande,

An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)

Azu’s piece on LEADERSHIP Friday 14th of March, 2014 (Conversation with Azu) on the Inspector General Police reminds me of one of my published online articles as soon as Mr. M. D. Abubakar was appointed as the nation IGP. It goes with the title: “If I were to be the new Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force”.  My article listed six new interventions to be done in order to improve police integrity and responsibility as important framework for effectiveness of the public service delivery. Surprisingly, I got a letter from a Police chief of one of the Nigeria neighboring countries. He shared his experiences and  acknowledged the success that follows one of the ideas of erecting Police Force Watch Boxes in all the government post offices throughout the country as whistle-blower for apprehending hoodlums through impartial investigation of Police Complaint Commission that have access to all keys for these Boxes as it was stated on the article.

Policing in Nigeria involves a great responsibility to achieve their Vision of “making the country safer and secured for attainment of national aspirations” and the Mission “to deliver qualitative and efficient security and law enforcement services to the citizens of Nigeria” and to be in line with the country’s Police Act. CAP 359 of the law of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and the 1999 constitution, section 4 of this Police Act which provides that “The Police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of live and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are charged and shall perform such military duties within and without Nigeria as may be required…”.

Meanwhile, how on earth these above responsibilities could be fulfilled when the Policemen are unrecognized, underpaid, under-equipped and robbed of their social security allowances and pensions. The consequences of this deprivation aggravates to widespread kidnapping, barbaric terrorism, frequent armed robbery and recurrent waves of brutalities in our environment. These are the results of dodging our responsibilities as leaders and citizens in this country. It is an established fact that man or a leader may temporarily dodge his responsibilities to his family or his fellowmen, but this same man or leader cannot permanently dodge the consequences of dodging his responsibilities.

Azu puts it rightly when he writes that “Until the rank and file understands that there is a relationship between the kind of government that gets into power and the well-being of the police, their misery can only get worse … when the police refuse to be used to rig crooks into power”. This message is not only meant for the Police institution alone, but for the entire Nigerian adults as next general election is approaching and every efforts should be made to support and vote for patriotic professional politicians (PPP) that will put their heart, soul and all their ability into their jobs, so as to make Nigeria a united, secured and progressive nation.

Moreover, it is our collective responsibility to solve Nigerian problems with the secret of ballot boxes and the secret power of our positive thoughts-the man greatest asset in which we have complete control toward the attainment of any desire. An all-wise Creator has provided us with everything to be the Best developed nation in the world but we are all failing to recognize and organize our positive thoughts. It is time for a peaceful revolution of our minds and says no more blood-shedding of innocent citizens. The present Nigeria Police boss should effect a change for Police institution that must places its highest value on the preservation of human life, prevention of crime, accountable to the citizen its serves and preserve and advance the principles of democracy at this critical time of our country’s democratic development.

Written by,

Adewale T Akande, a Nigerian-Spanish based road traffic safety consultant currently on a World Bank Governance Accountability Action Plan (GAAP) project in Abuja, Nigeria. Tel: 08125896631 (Nigeria) +34600877296 (Spain).

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good day and compliment of the season to you sons and daughters of Oyo State.

Precisely on the 3rd of February, 1976, thirty-eight years ago, our state, Oyo State was created by the then military government led by Late General Murtala Mohammed, the then old western state was divided into Ogun, Ondo and Oyo states respectively. In 1991, Osun state was carved out of what today is known as Oyo state.

Our dear state, Oyo is noted for its prominent historical and physical landmarks in art, science and culture. Up till date, the exploits and brilliance of the warriors our forefathers in the old Oyo empire is still been talked about.
We are proud to have the first University in Nigeria (1948), the first teaching hospital in Nigeria (UCH), the first television station in Africa (NTA Ibadan), the first ever sports stadium built in Africa (Liberty Stadium), the first skyscraper to have been built in Africa (Cocoa-House).  All these were made possible by the sacrificial lives that our founding fathers lived.

Now, thirty-eight years after the creation of the State (from 3rd of February, 1976) and fifteen years of democratic government in the state (from 29th of May, 1999), we have not seen any major development in the state apart from  the continuation of roads construction and rehabilitations by subsequent governments without time-limit. It is so difficult to point to any significant in the state in the past 38 years ago, mean while we are meant to be Pace-setter? As Pacesetters we are meant to be setting the pace for others to follow. “Aji se bi Oyo la ri. Oyo ki se bi enikokan” which when literarily translated means that Oyo will always set the pace and never copy others.

The political leaders we have had in the state in the past 38years have obviously refused to be great and make their foot-prints known in the history of the state. Their understanding of greatness seems to be skewed around making their pocket “great”. They have refused to take care of the poor, the sick and the underprivileged. They are set of leaders that take from the poor and give to the rich.

Meanwhile, on more serious note, By now we suppose to have embarked on free, compulsory and qualitative education  for all school age children to the University level; By now we suppose to have the best designed, constructed and maintained roads network in our cities (I am not talking of the city roads without side-walks) and even take a bold step to construct four-lanes carriageways from IBADAN linking and leading to IGBETI-SAKI-KISHI-SEPETERI-OKEHO-ILORA-AWE-ILERO-OYO-ISEYIN-ERUWA-LANLATE-IGBOHO-IGBOORA-OGBOMOSHO respectively. By now all the 33 Local Government establishments should have gotten their befitting and well-equipped Health Centers, Sports Complexes / Mini Stadia, and Libraries (please check around if there is any library near your house). We have not seen any International companies or new important private companies springing up apart from Event Centers and Shopping Plazas syndrome that litter our streets. We have not thought of constructing the biggest hospital in Nigeria to consolidate our first teaching hospital record in Nigeria. When are we going to have a road traffic management with zero pot-holes commitments on all state roads? Roads are being constructed in the cities without making necessary provision for pedestrian’s walks (side-walks), bus-stops and drainage mechanism, but flowers are given priority. Where are our streets publics taps gone to when there is a Ministry of Water Resources with engineers?  Why putting street lights if there is no maintenance mechanism?  Why is it difficult to number and name our streets when there is a Ministry of Land and Housing?  Our subsequent leaders do not make provision for public toilet as basic necessity for human beings, talk-less of thinking about public parking space for vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles. Results of NECON, and WAEC has been poor in the last five years but the state house of Assembly have not debated on having well-equipped libraries in all the thirty-three local governments in the state. When are we going to have a State own Newspapers to serve as information dissemination link between the government and citizens and even generate employment opportunities for our graduates on the streets? Are we saying our tourist centers like Bower Tower, Agodi Botanical garden, Iyamopo and Agbele hill in Igbeti cannot generate revenue to the government if well rehabilitated and kept under good management?  Our Police do not have any equipment to defend themselves talk-less of defending helpless citizens if at all they still belong to federal authority or of what use is a policeman without walkie-talkie to communication in the case of an emergency?. All these dividends of democracy and good governance are possible with good leaders with definiteness of purpose and competent team with a spirit of harmony.

The above unfulfilled necessities among other reasons made me to stage a one -man-on-spot-peaceful-protest at Akobo General Gas Junction for the urgent dualization of Idi-Ape-Akobo Ojurin- Olorunda road on Friday 3rd   December 2014.The protest was a success from the responses of the residents, motorists plying Akobo and the media. In addition, the State government also responded by a letter sent to me through the Oyo state Ministry of Works and they assured me that this road issue will be attended to soonest. This protest explains my believe that the best ways to touch the people’s lives at the grass-root level is to make all roads available and accessible with provision of effective transportation system and infrastructure for improvement to the quality of life within the State communities regardless of size and location. Infrastructure is a fixed provision of tangible assets on which other intangibles can build on.

Meanwhile, it is no more news that all the problems are consequences of recruiting (voting) bad leaders. Late Pa Chinua Achebe once said when referring to the major problems of the nation that “…is simply and squarely a failure of leadership…there is nothing basically wrong with the Nigeria character”. I am a Yoruba boy that knows the implication of respect so much. I am now using this forum to appeal to the kings, chiefs, elders and political elites in the state to unite and bring back the state to its known history of achievements. It is a matter of collective effort and responsibility, all sons and daughters of Oyo state (including those residing abroad) must unite and work to raise hope in making the best of the state. Our parents sent us to school to learn. Our elders gave us scholarships so as to get good education and be well informed. Our elders should think over the present style of recruitment of staffs into sensitive political posts in the state, the sons and daughters of known and influential people are the only getting employed into these sensitive posts. This is clearly against the principle of good governance and best international standard for recruitment. A true democratic government is the best concept for the growth of any state or nation. Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people and NOT and can NEVER be a government of some people by some people and for some people. We seem to have gotten to an era of winning elections by achievements in the state. There are many and better ways to compensate rather than to continue to toy with the lives of the citizens.  An incompetent commissioner / person recruited and sacked within two or four years is a waste to the state economy and at the same time has wasted the citizens live within that period when he/she had not done anything to touch their lives. It is not only embezzlement of fund or stealing from the treasury that is called corruption but recruiting incompetent candidate to a legal sensitive post is corruption as well. The state is so blessed with both natural and human resources than to be engaging in this kind of democratic mediocrity.  Governance is a complex issue that deserves professionals and competent hands. No state can develop without having good leaders, people of trust, integrity, experience, responsibility, empathy, patriotism and credibility. There is no miracle to socio-economic development except good leaders.

Finally, this is time for a New Oyo State with a clear difference and from disappointments to opportunities. This is the time to change from obscurity to reality and say goodbye to the politics of hatred and deceit. We need a team of achievers and not deceivers. We need statesmen and not dubious, do-or-die politicians. Enough is enough. A great state recognizes the principle that the public must be protected and served by the delivery of essential services. This is time we need a state where our collective political support, ideas, and effective strategies will lift large numbers of Oyo state citizens out of poverty. When you are good to others, you are best to yourself. I am now imploring the people of Oyo state to be law abiding and pay their taxes as usual. The general election gives them opportunities to decide our new representatives. We should register so we can able to vote. Our vote is our voice and we should vote for the best candidate en-masse even if he or she doesn’t belong to our party. Oyo State citizens deserve the best because we are the Pace-setter. God blesses the good people of Oyo State. God blesses Nigeria

Your son,

Adewale T Akande, an Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain Tel: 0034-6008772962/ 08125896631; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Adewale is presently in Nigeria on World Bank project assignment on implementation of Governance Accountability Action Plan  (GAAP) with Federal Ministry of Works.

 

Idi Ape-Akobo Ojurin-Olorunda road is known to me as a resident for the past ten years now. The road is known for the horrible traffic hold-ups due to spontaneous increase in the population of the residents with corresponding increase in the volume of motorists. The last time the road was rehabilitated; it didn’t last for two years after two or three rainfalls destroyed the drainage and increased the pot-holes in every-five meters of the road. This could be as a result of shabby and inferior materials used by the contractors who I suspect were not properly contracted with the necessary bidding and procurement principles of international best standards. Most of these road contractors are mostly party loyalists or relations of the people in government and what we end up getting are low quality roads.

This idea of one-man-protest came immediately when I got back to the country almost after three years for a World Bank project with the Federal Ministry of Works on Governance and Accountability Action Plan (GAAP) concerning federal government roads. The traffic situation in Akobo still remains the same as I left it four years ago. It is always a great battle from Akobo Ojurin axis to get to General Gas bridge in order to link anywhere you may be heading to. It takes nothing less than two hours forty-five minutes to get through the traffic jam that under normal circumstances should take any motorist only ten minutes. This same case repeated itself on a particular Monday morning when I was going to board an early morning flight to Abuja from Ibadan airport for the project meeting but got stocked in this horrible traffic which made me settled for an afternoon flight that almost cost me double the price I should have paid for the morning flight and I eventually was late for what was the inauguration meeting for the project. Only God’s know how many innocent children and adults that get stock regularly in this traffic jam that have made them to continued to get late to their schools, working places, and appointments due to the negligence of those representatives voted that refused to take urgent action.

Meanwhile, I decided that something have to be done before going back to Spain. I picked the Christmas and New Year holidays to take a decisive action. I wrote and submitted an application letter to stage a one-man-on-the-spot-peaceful-protest on Friday, 27th 2013 to the Oyo State Police Commissioner and copied the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Akobo, The FRSC office at Eleyele and my lawyer. I was sent back to go and make three copies of the application letter when I got to the Police commissioner’s office as this was said to be the normal procedure. In less than ten minutes I came back with three copies of my appeal letter. The Officer-in-charge took the copies and returned a stamped copy to me a copy as evidence that the application was received. I went with a friend back to the Police Headquarters at Eleyele again on Tuesday 31st December 2013 for the approval; my lawyer also met us there. After some questions and answers section with the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), he directed me to the Protocol sections where I was told that they are aware of the protest and will send some Police escort to take care of my protection as earlier before 6 am.  The protest is arranged to start by 6am and end by 12mid-day to match to the Governor’s officer and deliver my appeal letter and have a press conference with the media. It was indeed another argument section when a written approval was not issue and the Police officer -in-charge refused to give me his telephone number so as to call to remind them again, a least a day before the protest. On Thursday, 2nd of January, 2014, I went back to the Police Headquarters at Eleyele to remind them personally but the same Officer-in -charge made me to believe with another Officer that just came to his office that all arrangement had being made for the protest the following day. It is my belief that the Nigerian Police is an important institution that cares for citizen welfare and protection, thus I didn’t have any reason to doubt them, I believed the fact that they said they had made necessary arrangements for the protest.

On the protest day Friday 3rd, I got to the venue at General Gas by few minutes past six o’clock in the morning and to my greatest surprise couldn’t see any Police escort/vehicle detached or sent from Eleyele Police headquarter as promised.  Many questions came to my mind: Is it true that the Mission of the Nigerian Police is “to deliver qualitative and efficient security and law enforcement services to the citizens of Nigeria”? What is going to be my plight if some hoodlums come in large number to hijack this protest and start looting shops and destroying government property? Do I need to hire private security personnel for protection if there is Police? Is this the reason why I was not given a written approval and so that they can deny given me any approval if an ugly scene developed? Is this the reason why the Officer-in-charge refused to give me his telephone number? Why can’t the Officer that got my application letter with my telephone number boldly written on this paper call me to explain the situation?  Do I need to give money to Police to protect me as a citizen? Did my going to Police headquarters a day before the protest to remind the authority count? What kind of Policing are we running in Nigeria for God’s sake? Can’t our leaders do things with integrity and responsibility in this country after 54 years of Independence and 100 years of the country existence/amalgamation? This system can get somebody mad-that is the reason why people are over-stressed everywhere. I was fuming with anger while at the same time pasting the placards. I said to myself that I have all right as a citizen of this country to stage a protest.  I then called my lawyer to inform him about this shocking and embarrassing development. I refused to let this lapses disturb my voluntary protest to represent the voices of my co-residents. I knew that I am fighting a right case to save my people from the horrible traffic hold-ups and pot-holes.

Meanwhile, I had my protest with large numbers of residents and motorists given their consent and support for the protest. I heard the saying that dualization of the road has been over-due. Some were even asking thanking me and asking when and which day are we starting the dualization of the road. Few hoodlums passed by and made some unprintable words. Few of government officers and politicians were cornered by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State {BCOS) for interview on the Akobo road issue. Despite a Traffic warden presence at the same junction I was staging my peaceful protest, the traffic was almost the same-slow-pace since around 6:30am that eventually start the protest till 12 noon when leaving for Governor’s office.

Moreover, by the time I got to the Governor’s office, the number one citizen of Oyo State was about going out for Jumat service and was told to drop my appeal letter at room No 37 and that the issue will be looked into as soon as possible. The letter also appeal to Governor Abiola Ajimobi to take urgent action on Akobo road dualization, to rehabilitate the joining roads, and make provision for Side-Walks (Foot-path for pedestrians), Bus-Stop and drainage mechanism. I later addressed the media that include NTA, BCOS, FRSC, NANS, Punch Newspaper reporter and other new generation FM radio reporters. The protest was indeed successful as the State Commissioner responsible for the construction of roads was interviewed that very day and he promised that the road will be dualized this year and that the Budget has taken care of the road.

Adewale T Akande, a resident of Akobo, Ibadan and road traffic safety consultant based in Spain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    08125896631 (Nigeria) +34600877296 (Spain)

My little Oxford dictionary defines politician as “person engaged or interested in politics” and politics as “science and art of government; political affairs or life or principles etc.” Politics consists of “social relations involving authority and power”. A politician is defined as one who is actively involved in politics or one who holds or seeks a political office. A politician is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making in government. Politicians play a central role in our lives. They are the concentrated voices of the people that make all efforts to improve their constituencies and peoples' welfare. Good and dependable politicians are delight to serve the people and consider themselves as servants and people their paymasters. They represent the hopes, aspirations and the interests of every citizen in the state. The government instituted among men is the elected representatives who are also known as the politicians. These politicians are required to implement social reforms and policy measures that contribute to the general welfare of the populace.

A politician's qualities are his characters that are natural, while some of the qualities are as a result of external influences. Promising politicians qualities are often backed by skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, with instincts -all combined together to achieve their goals. First and foremost, the best quality of a politician is honesty, God fearing and loving. A faithful and effective politician is trustworthy and reliable. He must capture the essence of truth, display sincerity, candour and practices what he preaches. He makes decisions and accepts responsibility for his actions and his words. The same is true in his dealing with his people. He makes promises and keeps those promises. Somebody that people may be relied upon. Loving people with all his heart, might, mind, soul and striving to help them as a true mark of responsible politician.

Moreover, a fake politician, will after taking the oath of office with the Holy book and lousy thanksgiving services, use their power as an end in itself, rather than for public good, making them indifferent to the progress of their citizens. A good politician becomes the image of his creator. A good and responsible politician will give high regard for morality, law abiding with no tendencies to corrupt even a single cent or kobo. The greatest strength of good politicians is deriving joy in serving people and not to steal tax payers money. They know that a fulfilling and meaningful life is created through service to others. To be an effective politician, your followers must have trust in you. And the very best way for a politician to build trust is to display good sense of characters and qualities composed of values, beliefs, traits and skills.

Another important quality of a good politician is integrity and technical skills to handle those challenging assignments, fiscal matters, policies, plans, projects, ideas and initiative solutions to problems. Integrity is consistency of actions, methods, measures, values, principles, expectations and outcomes. It is doing what is right, both legally and morally at all time even when no one is looking. Since politicians play very significant roles in the administrative processes, especially having hands in thousands of important laws and policies to their communities and country, they should be well-educated, modest, with experience in social welfare, volunteering or should have done some good work for the society. A politician should have a thorough knowledge and up-to-date information about the constituency where he is going to contest an election.

Sir Winston Churchill, a famous British politician who served as Prime Minister twice (1940-45) and (1951-55) once said that “ a politician must have “the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen”. Hence, a political career is meant for the people of high integrity and additional skills to achieve results and finding better ways of making life better for the people they represent. Politics are not meant for dropped-outs, area fathers, thugs, assassins, criminals, illiterates’ god-fathers, inept, dubious and corrupt politicians. These person, apart from being greedy doesn't know the importance of education and can never invest properly on it. Good governance, transparency and accountability will be eluding states and nations where these above mentioned set of people found themselves in the corridor of power.

An incompetent and irresponsible politician will make people to hang around his house like bees to honey to feed them with “amala”, “tuwo” or “eba”just for days. He prefers to give out expensive gifts, donations and bribes from tax-payers money to win elections. An achiever will not need to do such things to win elections or people to their side in all ramifications. That is why you will hear people saying “Politics is a bad game of deceit and hatred”, “Politics is a do or die affair”, “Politics is a dirty business”, “Politicians are very sick people” and so on. It is those politicians of limited merits and capabilities that are bad and not politics. They cannot do more than their moral and intellectual capacity. A true democratic government is the best concept for the growth of any nation. A good politician enriches lives and feeds souls of many people and not making them to become beggars, touts, kidnappers, armed-robbers and fraudsters.

A good politician should be of a well disciplined personality with selfless service to make live better for his people. This should be reflected in the community where he lives in all ramifications. Discipline is necessary for an orderly society and political life, without it, the social life would become miserable. A selfless service is putting the welfare of the people you're representing before your own. Winston Churchill described it as “the first of all human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others”. A good politician firmly believes in taking care and maintaining the community of his people. He believes that community service is about giving back. According to Theodore Roosevelt, “the most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice”. A person or politician who is with criminal background, or any links with criminals or whose allegations on corruption have not been cleared by the law court should be disqualified to participate in elections.

Responsibility and party loyalty is another quality of responsible politician in a democratic state. A transparent politician is nearer to his people and meeting them to understand their problems. Only fake politicians are seen by voters when an election is near or change parties as footballers change clubs. As every parent has its responsibility to teach their children the principles of moral, culture, truth, sincerity to be self- responsible, so politicians need to integrate its citizens with importance of political responsibility and democratic values. A politician leads by example and knows his minimum responsibilities as an elected representative. A politician comes to politics to work for his constituents and not to work against them. He is the beck and call of the people and ready to listen to everybody. All these build a strong foundation for a dynamic society which will create solutions for any challenges, and finally develop strategies and political systems that will help implement those solutions automatically. He is quick to give hand to his fellow man. A reliable politician should be very loyal and committed to his party which shares his vision and goals. The value of loyalty simply depends on trust. A citizen should belong to a party with most brilliant, skilful, patriotic and dynamic people with common goals and aspirations. Team work best when they have common goals, mutual respect and understanding of each party member's strength. Politics is to unite and reach consensus and not to divide or create enmity among people. Power is only a product of collective action.

Finally, to become a great politician or statesman, you have to use your talents, skills, experiences, honesty, integrity, challenges and constraints with the positive effect that we can have in touching other human lives. Politician must leave his constituency better than before elected. Greatness is within reach of a politician who consistently do things they out to be doing. He learns from mistakes and criticisms. It is a bad politician that will see that all the good is in his side and that all the bad lies with his opponent or just because someone does not agree with him, does not mean that all their ideas and solutions are bad. Good politicians show respect to the views and experience of others. Nobody has a monopoly of wisdom. He who aspires to be a great politician should have the ability to find and analyse problems in their constituency and find the best solutions for all these problems. There is no problem in this world without solutions. A good politician knows that simply giving consistent effort in the little task of services, social reforms, kindness or sacrifice in day-to-day life leads to true greatness of a nation. If all politicians make it a point of responsibility to develop and make life better for people in their units, wards, constituencies, states and regions-we will definitely have a great country.

Written by,
Adewale T Akande
Road traffic safety consultant based in Spain and currently on a World Bank Project with the Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja . This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    08125896631 (Nigeria) +34600877296 (Spain)

Good day and compliment of the season to you all my dear brothers riding motorcycles to make a living. We just have to be positive in our thinking, hardworking and try our best to be law abiding and responsible citizen of the society. Let me remind you the motivating words of Robert Schuller that “tough time never last but tough people do“ .

Meanwhile, the primary aim of my letter with all respect is to give you some important guides and suggestions that will help to reduce the rates of serious injury and death resulting from all motorcyclists and moped riders who use this fragile two-wheel engine not only for domestic purposes but now as a means of transportation in major urban cities and roads of Africa. My mission is to foster and promote awareness and safe operation of motorcycles among the driving and riding public.

Motorcycle is a fragile two-wheel engine and small in size which affects its stability. Also, because of this, we have incidence of crashes due to difficulty to see motorcyclist by most driver especially when the rider is not putting on an obligatory bright colour cloth or reflective jacket. Lately, motorcyclists’ errors contributed to many fatal accidents in urban centres and cities of Nigeria. Most of the crashes came as a result of human errors either by the rider or the another driver. Motorcyclists are likely to be injured in serious or fatal crashes than car drivers because they are not well protected.. These following five guides are very important for your safety, that of your passengers (pillions) and other road users.

The very first important thing to keep you save on the road is to wear an approved crash helmet. The most vulnerable part of a motorcycle rider is head. Head injuries are main cause of death to motorcyclists. Your chances for survival will be increased if you wear a standard crash helmet. Never ride a motorcycle without an helmet nor carry a passenger without using helmet. It is now a serious traffic offence. Helmet also helps to prevent danger to the ears from indiscriminate horns, sirens and traffic noises.

Secondly, you have to SEE and BE SEEN by all road users while riding a bike. To be seen, you must use your dipped headlights during the day; (it is very obligatory in Europe) wear a bright cloth or reflective jacket or a white or bright coloured helmet. You can also put on protective and reflective clothing like clothes with pads, hand gloves, knee caps, boots, shoes and not bathroom slippers. Be visible and make sure you are seen in the mirrors of the vehicle in front. Make eye contact and never assume other see you. Know your blind spots when changing lanes and watch other drivers blind spots especially large trucks with trailers. Give them enough room to turn or manoeuvre.

Thirdly, a safe rider should apart from having good knowledge of his motorcycle, must also have total control of it while riding. Your eyes should be on the road and your hands on the throttle. You should aware, obey and familiar yourself with road signs, traffic signals and road markings. Safe riding demands attention and concentration at all times. Over-speeding does not give you full control of your bike. Telephone and cigarette can distract your attention and it is better to pack in a safe place to make a call or answer an important telephone call.

Fourthly, most of those fatal accident victims in Africa have some alcohol or drug involvement according to the recent study. Next to this are crashes involve riders (self-taught) who have not been trained to properly operate the motorcycle. Practical training is very important to save more lives. Drunk or drug riding causes many unnecessary and preventable tragedies on our roads. Alcohol affects your vision and speed judgement. It makes simple task more difficult and reduces your ability to do more than one thing at a time. Some drugs meant for pain relievers can increase drowsiness and tranquillisers like cough syrup, cold tablets and sleeping tablets can reduce your riding ability. It is advisable not take medication less than an hour before riding.

Finally, I know  by now you must have been very much in a hurry to mount your bike as clients are now trouping out to the bus-stop, but spare me just a few minutes for this last important guide to help your riding on flood or wet road, heavy rainfall, cross winds and in the night ..In all above stated adverse weather conditions, a safer rider must always increase his safety margin or leave a security distance between his bike and the vehicle in front of him which can help in case of sudden braking without coalition. The first thing to do after riding through a flood or deep water is to test your brake repeatedly to make it dry. Remember that the braking distance can multiply on wet road. Avoid riding on heavy-rainfall and cross-winds which can blow-off cyclists and motorcyclists from the road. Low visibility in night riding increase the chances of getting accident, hence you should always reduce your speed and place yourself very well on the right hand side of the road. Never move the neck of an accident victim who shows signs of possible neck injury or remove the helmet of bike victim if you do not know techniques involved as not to complicate or worsen the victim’s situation.

Wishing you all my Okada brothers and sisters a save jolly ride as we are all becoming responsible, confident and safe rider in making our roads to be saved for all road users.

Thanks and remain blessed.

Yours sincerely,

Adewale T Akande, an Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain-is presently in Nigeria on World Bank project assignment on implementation of Governance Accountability Action Plan in the Road Sector.

Driving is a means to achieve objectives associated with everyday life in our society. At the same time, driving requires a serious responsibility that determines the driver’s safety and that of the other road users within the vicinity. We drive to work, visit friends and relations, and travel to different places-short and long distances-for personal or public activities.  A person that cannot plan, organise and manage his precious time effectively and efficiently, he then result to do all things in a hurry. As a result of this, many people drive faster without minding the speed limit and caution signs posted on the road. This reckless driving behaviour becomes an habit which is very dangerous for our live and the lives of other innocent roads users.This bad driving habit has its toll on the state economy because of the huge waste on public health.

Speed in its simplest meaning is an act or state of moving swiftly; swiftness; velocity: rapidly; rate of motion. Speed is defines as exceeding the posted limit or driving too fast under stipulated or normal condition. Speeding is deemed to have occured when an individual is travelling above the accepted legal speed limit on any city or urban road. Speed limit varies between roads. It is an obligation by the law of any sovereign country, that its traffic authority (lead agency) whose their principal objective is to save lives and reduce related road traffic accidents and trauma have to signify any change in speed between roads. Speed limits are introduced to promote greater road safety and prevent environmental pollution such as noise and smoke.

In a safety research conducted by the Centre for Automotive Safety Rresearch at Adelaide University in South Australia few years ago, it was found that for every 5 kilometres per hour increases in vehicle speed over the limit in a 60 kilometres per hour zone have the risk of crashing doubles. The research explains further that, a driver travelling at 70 kilometres per hour faces four times the risk of a driver travelling at the speed limit. More researches on excessive speed states that, when the stopping distances increases and other manoeuvres to avoid crashes become more difficult and complicated. The findings goes further to states that the gravity or severity of an impact or crashes increases with higher speed and the possibilty for other road users to communicate and perceive the intentions of the road-users in time to react appropriately decreases as does the ability to detect hazards.

Excessive speed is an important factor in one third of all fatal crashes or accidents on our roads. Speeding has been researched to be a deliberate and calculated behaviour where the driver knows the risk but ignores the danger that might be involved. It is just at a point, where speed-driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the roads which often causing accidents and other damages. Some drivers have been used to the habit of overspeeding due to effect of taking alcohol, drugs and other prohibited substances. Overspeeding has contributed to major fatal road accidents in developing countries as most of the roads are bad and unmarked or signed. The traffic laws on overspeeding should be enforced without any bias or exceptions. Traffic laws have been put in place for a reason to save lives and not for decoration in the archive.

Speeding is one of the common offences under road traffic law that have to be taken with seriousness as many people have lost their lives each year due to careless speeding. While many people have been handicapped or injured for the rest of their lives due to overspeeding.  Speed laws have become a Penal Code in some countries in which a dangerous or reckless driver can be charged for a huge fine, loss all points from his driving licence or liable to many years in imprisonment if found guilty. The developing countries traffic authority has a vital role to play in order to accomplish their mission of saving lives on roads. According to Elvik ( 2008), road safety management implies systematic work to ensure continous improvement in road safety. Most of developing countries in Africa are now adopting the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020), with the goal to reduce the number of fatalities caused by RTC by 50 percent by the year 2020. This is a welcome development, but we have to be sincere with ourselves to make it a worthwhile investiment and not wasting fund and finding jobs for political collaborators and their cronies. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Meanwhile, in order to achieve the goal behind this action plan, the road traffic  lead agencies in developing countries have to rely on the expertise and experiences of a rays of individuals, including relevant government departments, public health, legal affair officers, independent researchers in the field, non-governmenntal organisations and the road users organisations. This is likelihood team that can achieve the reduction goal with a serious and practicable programme that addresses possible objectives which are acceptable to as many parts of the society. African population is growing rapidly and if the important issues of construction, rehabilitation and maintenances of roads, obligatory examination to obtain driving licence, national identity cards, payments of fines to designated banks, national electronic number plates, erecting and placing of speed limits sign posts, camaras or radar equipment (for photograpic evidence of the vehicle and its speed) and increased numbers of traffic officers controlling on highways and expressways and not extorting motorists, the investment on a decade of action plan would be just a mere dream and waste.

 

Written by:

Adewale T Akande, an Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain-is presently in Nigeria on World Bank project assignment on implementation of Governance Accountability Action Plan in the Road Sector.

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