It is one bizarre paradox for a nation. Three decades ago, urban transportation in Lagos was a well organised affair. And as the population of the nation’s economic nerve centre rose geometrically in the early 1980s, the Lagos State government under the then governor, Lateef Kayode Jakande, moved to set up a metro line that would ferry about 10 million passengers daily. However, the dream was aborted by the military coup of December 1983. General Muhammadu Buhari, then head of the military junta, cancelled the project. He claimed at the time that the nation could not afford the money. Yet, the nation, many years after the cancellation, paid a penalty to the contractors, an amount almost equal to the contract sum. Egypt, which initiated the first phase of its metro line for Cairo around the same time with Nigeria, is about completing its fourth phase. Talk of a wasted opportunity. That was one. Thus Lagos with its bustling millions remains the only megalopolis of its size in the world without a mass transit system.
Since 2008, however, the Lagos State government has tried to ameliorate the situation with the Bus Rapid Transit, which is run as a joint venture with some private investors. The BRT complements commercial buses known as danfo. However, another popular mode of transportation in Lagos is the tricycle, known as Keke Marwa. It was introduced by the military administration of then Colonel Buba Marwa, as governor of Lagos. The tricycle is a popular mode of transportation in rural India. Today, it has taken the centre stage in the nation’s urban transportation. Find out in the story how it is rendering a unique service and equally serving as a lifeline for hundreds of families, including graduates of tertiary institutions. The special report is written by Chikodi Okereocha, senior assistant editor.
That story is but one of the many appetisers in this edition. As the terrorist group, Boko Haram, continues with its rampage in some parts of the North, the Editorial Board decided to do an update on last week’s cover which it called the “conspiracy of silence.” This becomes apt against the backdrop of President Goodluck Jonathan’s sacking of General Andrew Azazi and Mohammed Bello as national security adviser and defence minister respectively. As at the time of going to press, he is yet to announce Bello’s replacement. However, the man who replaced Azazi has assumed duties. He is retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki. He was of the armoured corps and served as aide de camp to General Ibrahim Babangida. With no background in intelligence service, many have been wondering whether the new cap fits Dasuki. Find out the magazine’s findings in this week’s cover story, which was anchored by Adejuwon Soyinka, associate editor.