Normalcy returned to Apapa route twenty-four hours after the Presidential Task Team officially transferred the Apapa -Tin Can Island Port routes to the Lagos State Government.
Recall that the PTT was created May 2019, at the peak of a madness, called Apapa Gridlock, with Dr. Kayode Opeifa appointed as the Executive Vice Chairman, and mandated to restore sanity, in the overall interest of lives, cargo and other businesses.
Created as an ad-hoc body, the PTT swung into business, hitting inclement weather of opposition and blackmails, from entrenched interest and cabals, who daily benefitted from the gridlock.
Hitherto, container holden bays were not provided, and the Lily Pond that should have come to rescue, was allegedly, deliberately made redundant or unusable.
In the bedlam that followed, several lives were lost; and cargoes running into billions of Naira were wasted. Trucks induced accidents soared, truckers queued, stagnated, sometimes for days; ensuring shipping companies could keep returnable container charges.
Consequently, the cost of doing business in the Nigerian ports went through the roof, creating spiralling inflation, as the business class merely transferred every money spent, including on extortion to the final consumers, the poor masses.
However, the masses have been groaning, it metamorphosis into a deafening cacophony. Importers who were adventurous began to use neighbouring ports, only to daringly smuggle in their cargo.
Hence, it was at this point that the Federal Government created the PTT, firstly to show Nigerians that it was not totally a deaf and insensitive Government. And secondly, to pacify importers using neighbouring ports, to discontinue with the unpatriotic act.
Niccolo Marchiaveli says anyone wanting to introduce a new order, must prepare for a fight or tough opposition from those currently benefitting from the old order. What the PTT met on arrival was a War, in which some section of the media were actively involved. Soon, unfounded allegations were promoted to unsubstantiated accusations!
The PTT has worked. It has also delivered, even though more work is still urgently required.
However, 24 hours after the Lagos State Government officially took over, the Maritime First crew joined relevant stakeholders for an empirical evaluation of the Apapa Tin Can Island Port routes, accessing the zone, from both Eko Bridge into Apapa; and the Tin Can Island Port from the Oshodi Mile 2 area.
Our findings: the Sanity on the routes were unquestionable!
The law empowers the Governors to oversee the smooth management of traffic in their States. This explains why Sanwo-Olu is taking over the PTT’s legacy.
It also means that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi would have to manage the ports and the Ports’ Access roads.
Now, how can a Minister who couldn’t manage the ordinary Ports’Access roads dabble into the management of the entire routes? Perhaps, Nigerians should be thankful that the law is after all, NOT An ASS!