19th December, 2011
LEKKI TOLL GATE: MARK OF VISIONARY LEADERSHIP
The Lagos State government recently introduced tolling on the Lekki-Epe expressway. This was done after giving the road palpable facelift. The four-lane expressway is being turned into a ten-lane affair and work is still going on. However, dissenting voices are already criticising the government's introduction of tolling on the road while some residents have organised demonstrations at the toll gate.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends the vision manifested by the current leadership of Lagos State government in refurbishing Lekki-Epe expressway. Lagosians have suffered prolonged and untold hardship on that particular road . We have no doubt that the citizenry will soon heave a sigh of relief if on-going refurbishing and tolling are not disturbed.
The bane of Nigerian roads is poor maintenance culture. We believe that tolling is necessary to ensure regular maintenance. The brouhaha being generated is therefore unnecessary, misplaced and misinformed. We affirm clearly, indubitably and unequivocally that the completed part of the work depicts state-of-the-art engineering capable of transforming Lagos into a befitting mega-city of international standard. It is a pride for all Nigerians.
MURIC therefore urges Lagosians to be pragmatic and objective. While we recognize the right of individuals to express dissenting opinion, we warn that Lagosians should not cut their noses to spite their faces. We must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
Nigerians have been highly critical of bad leadership. We have blamed leaders for their ineptitude and myopic mien. Lagos State presently has a leadership that even cynics testify to his undiluted integrity and unequalled administrative acumen. There is an urgent need to start appreciating visionary and altruistic leaders so that like-minds can always offer their services to the country. We therefore appeal to Lagosians to learn how to encourage the initiatives of good leaders. Change must be general, not particularistic. As Nigerians ask leaders to change, the man in the street must equally be ready to change his mindset. We ask Lagosians to be part of the change by accepting the toll gate as part of their own sacrifice.
Those who plan demonstrations must do so with high sense of responsibility and professionalism in order to avoid hijacking by hoodlums who may commit atrocities under the guise of partaking in peaceful demonstrations.
Finally, MURIC warns Lagosians and civil society groups not to allow themselves to be used by reactionary elements, enemies of progress and political charlatans.
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace