Issues in restructuring, by Dr. Tayo Popoola

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Restructuring the current federal arrangement is an issue which enemies of this country would not want to hear.

I sat down and asked myself why this lofty idea are being opposed and I discovered that it’s as a result of the fact that some people have been misinformed and others misconstrued the whole essence of restructuring.

Restructuring, in simple parlance, is all about how to make the citizenry enjoy the essence of having government in a political community.

It is only when we want to deceive ourselves that we would say there is nothing wrong with the present federal arrangement in Nigeria.

We, as Nigerians are stakeholders on the issue of survival of the country under a true federation but some have greater stakes. People like us have greater stakes in the affairs of this nation as a National Prophet, a committed academic with biased interest in the field of Political Communication. People like us are planted agents of change and better Nigeria and we have decided to challenge lovers of this country to open up now on how best way to salvage this country and through that move the country forward.

As a friend and colleague said recently, Nigeria has unfortunately been led by time wasters in the past. It is time to reverse some of the evils which their bad policies brought upon us as citizens of this great country.

The issue at stake in this piece concerned ‘faded number plates and renewal of drivers licence’.

In the past, issuance of new vehicle plate number was under the state. Ditto, issuance and renewal of driver’s licence.

The military came and without public input and discussion with the states unilaterally took over the responsibilities and transferred them to the Federal Government.

We are all Nigerians and are in a better position to provide an unbiased assessment over how the Federal Road Safety Commission ( FRSC) has discharged these responsibilities over the years.

From my personal investigation, many Nigerians who applied for the renewal of driver’s licences in the last one and half years are yet to get their licences renewed. Yet, the same FRSC team harasses people on the road everyday, haba!

On the issue of faded plate numbers, the Lagos State Government came out recently with a fee of ₦18,750:00 for a replacement and threatened affected vehicle owners of serious reprisal measures including threat to impound such vehicles.

I implore the Lagos State Government to take things easy and apply wisdom in the management of state affairs .

My initial reaction when I saw the circular was to ask this question ” Is it right for the Lagos State Government to threaten innocent citizens who obeyed the law and applied for plate numbers? Certainly no. Also, the vehicle owners did not produce the plate numbers. They were produced by the Government. Therefore, it is not only embarrassing for one government agency to embarrass another but very shameful. Let the affected government agencies talk to each other and stop punishing the innocent members of the public.

The Lagos State Government and the FRSC should note that there is tension in the polity occasioned by Government policies. The existing tension should be therefore be brought down by government policy in which the issuance of driver’s licence and vehicle plate numbers should be returned to the state where the responsibilities were carried out in the past without tears. This is because the FRSC has failed us .

*Dr. Tayo Popoola, a Political Communication expert and former editor of Diet Weekend newspaper, teaches Mass Communication at UNILAG.

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