By Patrick Dele Cole
This first part of this piece which was first published last week Tuesday focused on governors who conflated criticisms for abuse or opposition
IN the state – if you worked for the previous governor you were gone. If that governor rented your house, you were not paid by the new governor; if you had a contract with the previous government forget it. When a governor does not realise that what he is pursuing is not a personal vendetta but what is good for the people, we have the beginning of despotism. The governor does not suffer on account of this but the people. If the mentality of a governor aligns with what I have described, then what follows is even par.
Someone has a hotel and has sex/nude parties in his hotel (during COVID-19, I would imagine) that the proper action is to arrest the revellers. The most improper action is to knock down the hotels which are a denial of the governor’s right to protect life and property. If such law exists in a state law books, it is against the Constitution and against human rights. Those aggrieved would have taken the laws into their hands if they went to the governor’s father’s village to disrupt houses there or fetish shrines. What is the principle lost here?
In Lagos, another governor has managed, even against constitutional freedom, to pass a law in the Lagos State Assembly that allows the traffic police to seize any car that is driving against a one-way street.
The Assembly has no law against trucks parked in no parking area, from Apapa to Airport, to Tin Can, to Costain to Badagry. Why are they not auctioning those trucks? They are causing the gridlock in Lagos Ports!
By the way, are commercial motorcycles or okadas not vehicles? Is anybody blind to the number of okadas in the so- called okada free zones? Whatever happened to the laws requiring wearing of helmet for driver and passengers on okadas? Okadas do not stop at traffic lights; they travel against one-way system; they are on the Third Mainland Bridge, they stop whenever and wherever. I could go on.
I am told that the okadas are driven by off-duty police men and soldiers to supplement their inadequate and infrequently paid salaries. Every day I see police, government official cars, Immigration and Customs officers, DSS, a host of other corps with sirens blaring as they drive against this very one-way systems. But if you do not belong to this class, they impound your car, take you to court and auction off your car.
What gives LASTMA the authority to auction your car because of a traffic violation which a lot of people violate without consequence?
In Kaduna the governor, another friend of mine, was reported to have given an order that a restaurant, having sex parties, be demolished. I am not sure which is the cause of the angst of the governor – the nude/sex nature of the restaurant or the fact that these activities were against the COVID-19 guidelines. Even so, you could have arrested the culprits without destroying their property. In another case, a senator walks into a sex shop and slaps a receptionist- an action unbecoming of a senator. The examples are legion and would be tedious to replicate here. What is obvious: are state laws made for the unprivileged?
As for driving against the traffic or changing driving routes – only a blind man would be made to see the multiple routes which drivers take on Carter Bridge. No one arrests anyone. One-way traffic exists in all the new major roads – especially (Orile-Mile Two) the upper Oshodi Expressway and the side roads are all no respecter of the one-way system. On the Lekki express road, almost no one respects the traffic lights. As for the motor cycles, they move according to laws known only to themselves.
In Europe even bicycle riders obey the traffic laws. There is a minimum of sirens blaring on the roads. If you see one – it is an ambulance or a police car on an emergency – no convoys with escorts blaring down the street.
In Japan, our delegation convoy had one motor cycle and the traffic lights were so synchronised that so long as we moved at 30km/h, we did not stop from city centre till we got to the Imperial Palace.
In Benin, one governor leaves a political party to join another party with absolute no regressions. Our Constitution explicitly forbids an elected official from leaving a political party which elected him without resigning his seat. In applying this provision the courts have been compliant and even complicit in taking the teeth out of this provision to the effect thereof.
Whatever was intended by the Constitution is now frustrated. Not that I know anyone who could actually tell me the difference between PDP and APC.