Last week Friday, ahead of President Buhari’s campaign rally in Lagos, Mainlanders woke up to the shocking disappearance of the articulated trucks from the Eko Bridge which have caused nightmarish gridlock for commuters.
Like magic, the trucks which seemed destined to be permanently on the bridges vanished because the President was billed to go through the axis as part of his itinerary on his electioneering visit to the state. This is coming after several attempts had previously been made by the state government and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to relocate them all to no avail.
Commuters who go through the axis experienced relief as the evacuation resulted in the free flow of traffic believing that the President’s visit would end the menace once and for all, not knowing that the relief would be short-lived.
Barely 24 hours later, the trucks staged a comeback to unleash the terror of their presence on Mainlanders. Despite the hardship the articulated vehicles cause for commuters who ply the route, many have learnt to live with the horrendous experience that comes with it giving up all hope that there would be a permanent solution by the state government.
The concern, however, has been that if the government could devise a means to evacuate them in the first place, why did the government have to wait till when the President was visiting and why was the move not sustained?
Owing to this, residents have continued to criticise the state government for what they have termed ‘government hypocrisy’ and ‘disrespect for Lagosians’.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, also reacted to the issue.
He said the decision of the Lagos State government to remove heavy-duty vehicles from the roads of Lagos due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state reveals hypocrisy and disdain for the masses.
Agbaje said it was curious that government had always acted as if it could not clear the trucks before the president’s visit. Agbaje insisted the act shows that the state and federal government do not care about the welfare of the people.
“It means that these people are wicked. It means that they are hypocrites. They have refused to clear this traffic all this time, even when they knew they had the solution. So because President Muhammadu Buhari came to Lagos, they have cleared the traffic. Now that he has left, they will punish us again,” he said.
Also commenting, Mazi Ubadire, a Lagosian, alleged that the reason why the trucks would not be removed by the government is because the State uses them to generate funds. He added that each truck is taxed between N10,000 and N15,000.
He said: “For you to know why these trucks will not go anytime soon. A number of these extortion points have been identified from the Mile 2 Bridge. At these extortion points, Task Force officials collect between N10,000 and N15,000 from each truck driver to allow them to park around the area.”
“So, the Eko Bridge trailers and trucks are back. Eko Bridge traffic is back in full force. The hypocrisy going on in Lagos is appalling! Buhari is gone, trucks are back,” Oluwadamilola Olaniyi laments.
Many commuters said unprintable words against the governor, raining curses and abuses on him.
Another resident, Shehu Audu, who spoke on the issue believes that the government has the capacity to fix the menace but chose not to.
Hear him: “The disappearance of trucks/trailers during the presidential campaign rally in Lagos State, shows the state govt has the solution to tackle traffic related issues in the state.”