KAROTA‘s Traffic Revolution in Kano
The history of government-masses relationship in Nigeria has been that of mutual suspicion and antagonism.
The historical distrust informed by multiple factors of consistent insincerity, insensitivity, zero transparency and heavy corruption on the part of government and its agencies has engendered a kind of permanent pessimism among ordinary Nigerians.
On the basis of this, government’s policies and actions of its agencies are often perceived wrongly by the people, no matter the genuineness of intentions. Of course, you can’t make a far-reaching point by casting aspersion on Nigerians for this dominant state of ambivalence that has become the ingrain aspect of their psychics. After all, it is always argued that those who ever suffered the misfortune of snake bites shouldn’t be blamed when they take to their heels on seeing a tiny rope.
Notwithstanding all these historical abnormalities of political relations, we occasionally witness emergence of government agencies whose actions hardly contradict the overall interest of the people.
This is the perspective we are viewing the traffic revolution the Kano State Road and Transport Agency (KAROTA) is currently executing in Kano metropolis.
Suffice it to say those who may see the present performance of the agency differently, using its hitherto discredited image as a baseline in nudging the present development are entitled to their position, just as I am to mine.
Until recently, a number of roads in Kano metropolis, especially those in business districts, had been rendered useless as traffic jams caused by irresponsible display of trading items to block part of the roads by recalcitrant petty traders gave the road users nightmares.
More also, the reckless activities of tricycle operators, leading to indiscriminate parking in unauthorized areas of roads further encumbered the free flow of traffic in manners unprecedented in these areas.
Capitalizing on this abnormal situations, pick-pocket, phone snatchers and metropolitan hoodlums often had field days in dispossessing ordinary Nigerians of their belongings.
These were dominant in Muratala Muhammad Way around Bata to Yankura, France Road, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Ibo Road and IBB Way, to mention but few.
Unfortunately, efforts by the then government agencies to curtail the excesses of these unpatriotic Nigerians were unsuccessful.
Hitherto, government directives to traders to desist from displaying their trading items to block vehicular and pedestrians’ traffic flow fell onto the deaf ears as they treated such directives with scorns and disdains. This ugly situation remained throughout the first tenure of the present state’s administration. From all indications, there was no sufficient political will to decisively deal with the situation.
In fact, in most instances the activities of these anti-social elements did not only deface the enviable postures of Kano metropolis, but enhanced very terrible state of insensitivity in the affected areas. At a point, the state’s agencies and road users appeared helpless to effectively do anything about it as these groups who seemed to have acquired the status of the untouchable.
However, the returned ticket of Governor Ganduje saw the emergence of new heads in some state agencies, including KAROTA.
KAROTA was established by the Kwankwaso’s administration. Though, established to deal with traffic crises in Kano metropolis, its activities from inception until recently, left much to be desired as its officers made life unbearable for the road users instead of creating enabling environment for the flow of traffic, which is their primary responsibility.
But with the new leadership in the agency, the narrative has changed as far as traffic situation in the metropolitan Kano is concerned.
KAROTA officers woke from their slumber and took the bull by its horns in dealing with the ugly traffic situation. Of course, they spoke the language the recalcitrant petty traders and rebellion tricycle riders understand. This they did by heavily descending on them, forcing them to leave the roads and destroying their makeshift shades and arresting those who resisted the operations.
The tricycles operators were not left out of the purviews of KAROTA’s war to sanitise traffic situation in Kano. They were brought to their knees by been indiscriminately arrested for indiscriminate parking.
Their recalcitrant approaches to traffic rules gave way to absolute obedience when their rascality was countered by superior rascality. The rebellion petty traders have involuntarily vacated the roads while the traffic situations in the aforementioned places are now conducive. Driving around areas of Bata, Yankura, IBB Road, France Road, Ibo Roads etc are now done without crisis.
What a wonderful traffic revolution!
I am not in position to know what most people feel about this. But to me, it’s an effort worth appreciating.
Faruk is with the Nigerian Sketch