By Michael Igiri James
Professor of Transportation Geography, Iyiola Oni has said that the starting point for
transport restructuring in Nigeria in the generation of sound, qualitative and up-to- date data,
without which research, planning and development in the transportation sector will only
continue to be guesswork, as planning would continually be done on erroneous scales.
He stated this as a concluding remark during an inaugural lecture delivered by him yesterday
at the Jelili Omotola main auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka Yaba.
Prof. Oni who began his lecture title: A Spatio-Temporal Restructuring of Transportation
System in Nigeria, with a brief history of public transportation in Nigeria, using Lagos State
as quintessence said although historical development shows that government has actively
participated in the operations of public transportation, even till date, notwithstanding, public
transport in Nigeria is still riddled with uncertainties arising from poor or no schedule
template and aggravated accident rates.
He traced the historical trajectory of the development of public transportation in Lagos State
from the days of the Lagos Steam Tramway built in 1902; the Bolekaja lorries in 1920; the
Molue (Bedford bus) which took over after the Bolekajas which were banned by government
for commercial passenger transport services; the Danfo which emerge in the 1970’s; to the
LSTC Mercedes Benz busses; Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); and other means of transportation
including Taxis, Ferries, Cable Car, Rail, as well as Air transport services.
As he noted; “Lagos megacity is a socio-cultural melting-pot of Nigerians and Foreign
Nationals because of its economic and socio-political importance. This megacity may also be
described as the leading terminus for all transport modes, the fastest growing city and the
most heavily motorised part of Nigeria.it is also one of the most congested cities in the world,
traffic wise. Of all the urban centres in Nigeria, Lagos megacity has played the significant
role in the wholesale absorption of rural and semi-urban population.
“Lagos transport system has been modified on many occasions to accommodate the rapidly
changing land-use pattern, and unfortunately, these adjustments have usually been made “in
response to” rather than “in anticipation of” crisis situation in traffic management that have
been generated by development in the city.”
The lecturer further cited areas such as inappropriate national policies, limited
implementation of National, sub-regional and regional agreements as well as institutional
bottlenecks and conflicts as factors which have in no small measure hampered, and
sometimes stagnated the development of transportation sector in Nigeria.
While thanking the leadership of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for their
collaborative effort in producing a comprehensive, integrated and modified road transport
manual, Prof. Oni reeled out some intervention areas which he had consulted on including the
Oshodi traffic project; National Transport Survey plan- which provided a comprehensive
database for transport planning and the long term perspective plan for the Nigerian transport
sector; production of the Traffic Operation Manual (TOM); Drink-Drive Survey on
petroleum tanker drivers; unlocking Gated-Streets/Disuse of street roads for socio-cultural
events; Transportation Roadmap for ICT integration; establishment of Traffic Planning Units
(TPUs) in some LGA of Lagos State; the study of Mile 12- Ikorudu Traffic corridor for the
extension of the BRT services; generation of Time-Series Data on motor vehicle statistics;
and so on.
He made suggestions and recommendations in certain areas including: generation of sound
and reliable data ( land-use, standardization and institutional definitions ) which would form
the empirical basis for good transport policy making; deployment of non-transport solutions
to the mobility problem by diffusing demand for transport services throughout the various
parts of the urban systems, and staggering of working hours with improved ICT and
telecommunication services; institutionalisation and intensification of effect Traffic System
Management schemes (TSM) for Nigeria’s urban centres; Other significant contributions include: development of Mass Transit Policy (MTP), that will imbibe the use of railway systems for intra, inter and regional transport system sustainability; improvement in rural accessibility; non-motorised transport forms which border on pedestrianisation in urban mobility planning; parking policy evaluation and enforcement; completion of the road sector reforms by the federal government (e.g. approval of a tolling policy); and synergizing all existing modes of transportation in Nigeria including rail, road, aviation, pipeline and maritime sectors for optimum utilisation.
“The resultant derivative of our restructuring and transformative model prognosis will be
mobility sustainability, higher living standards and fuller employment of resources, reduced
income inequality and poverty, and consequently heightened economic growth rates and
“Mr Vice Chancellor sir, I wish to submit that a restructured, smart, integrated and
coordinated transportation system with alternative energy sources will assist in bailing
Nigeria out of her current recession, when we implement the entire adduced strategic
management plan underscored above” he concluded.
The lecture has in attendance many important dignitaries, principal officers of the University
of Lagos and other universities, as well as family and friends of the lecturer.