Ondo’s New Mass Transit Scheme
Ondo’s New Mass Transit Scheme
THE Ondo State Government recently announced a debut of a mass transportation scheme to be known as Sunshine Express to provide an alternative transportation system which is perceived to be easier and affordable for the citizens of the state.
TO show its readiness and eagerness for a quick take off of the scheme, government has already procured a fleet of 200 buses out of which 50 has arrived the state and awaiting the rest in a matter of days. Special Adviser to Governor Akeredolu on Transportation, Mr Tobi Ogunleye, who made the announcement, disclosed that the transport scheme would be jointly managed by the state government and a private firm and it will operate in both intra and inter-city routes.
THIS initiative by the government is therefore highly commendable considering the numerous benefits that will accrue to the people of the state when the scheme fully becomes operational. First, it will no doubt bring a great relief to the people who had been living under the exploitative tendencies of commercial transport owners. This is because the scheme is conceived primarily as a welfare oriented programme and as such, its charges will be moderate and affordable. Second, the economic benefits are better imagined as the conceivers of the scheme have said it would create an initial 300 jobs for people who will work as drivers, clerical officers and cleaners. Taking 300 unemployed adults off the streets in one fell swoop is by no means a great respite from the scourge of mass unemployment ravaging our society.
A similar scheme known as Owena Mass Transit was created by the first civilian administration in the state under the leadership of the late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin. The motive then was employment and cheap transportation for the people of the state. The scheme, just like other blue chip companies established by the Ajasin regime, thrived and outlived that government until it became moribund due to negligence and neglect by succeeding administrations occasioned by corruption from those managing them.
THE HOPE therefore calls on the government and handlers of this new scheme to be wary of the mistakes of the past and avoid such in order to make it an enduring venture. This is because government business is generally considered to be an avenue for corrupt practices to the illicit benefit of the few. Government’s decision to run the scheme in partnership with a private firm is in order but such a firm must be given free hands to operate with bureaucratic and administrative bottlenecks not serving as stumbling blocks to its smooth operations.
WE also call on the owners of the company (both government and the private partner) to study other states especially in the South-East, South-South and North-Central where similar mass transit schemes have been successful for decades and still thriving till date with a view to learning new strategies from them.
THUS, Sunshine Express should operate on responsible, accountable and transparent business principles characterized by commitment and discipline as obtained in other climes. This is because, Ondo State government cannot afford to disappoint the people having waited this long to see their state’s mass transit scheme come up again as a result of the giant strides taken by the current administration to revive it.