(Last Updated On: April 20, 2017)

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

social development.

“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.