On July 21, the Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Segun Odunmbaku, said he had taken delivery of buses – 12 in total, according to an Ikeja Record count – for a free public transport scheme. According to Odunmbaku, the transport scheme will help to ease the movement of residents and “cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the people of Ojodu and environs.”
Odunmbaku’s move won him widespread praise on social media. Local governments in Nigeria are notorious for being absent in the lives of citizens despite billions allocated to them every year. “A local government actually working for its people in Nigeria is so rare it should be hailed nationwide,” one Twitter user said. “If one Chairman can do this, what is stopping others?”
Two days after Odunmbaku’s announcement, The Record visited the local council in Oke-Ira to uncover more details about the transport scheme. How and when, for example, will these buses be distributed? What is the cost of the scheme and how will it be funded? Who are the beneficiaries and how will they be selected? How can the average Ojodu resident benefit from this scheme? What routes will these buses ply?
The Public Affairs Officer of Ojodu LCDA, Edu Adeniyi, told The Record the initiative will run for three months till “the state comes up with a support palliatives.”
“The buses will be at key bus stop areas in the local government,” Adeniyi added.
However, Adeniyi could not provide answers to questions about how the buses will be distributed or the cost of the scheme. The keys to the buses were scheduled to be handed over to drivers on Tuesday, July 25, but as of 12pm on the day, the event was yet to kick off.
A spokesperson for the council told The Record a press release providing more details about the scheme will be released in due course.
A resident of Ojodu LCDA, Mr Rotimi Akinseyinwa, praised Odunmbaku for the transport initiative, noting that residents will no longer have to trek long distances to avoid paying exorbitant prices for fares between the Ogba and Oke-Ira. “It will help the masses,” Akinseyinwa said.
But one tricycle operator who craved anonymity expressed scepticism. “It is not going to work out,” he told The Record. “There is nothing that the Nigerian government says that works out.”