Obi raises concerns over 50% fare slash implementation for Yuletide commuters

Peter Obi

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 2023 poll, has expressed doubts about the sincerity of the federal government in announcing some largesse for commuters across the country as part of the yuletide. 

Obi raised concerns over the federal government's 50% fare slash implementation, stating that the government's action is not enough to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians. 

Obi's statement comes as the government announced a 50% reduction in fares for commuters traveling by road, and rail during the yuletide season.

In his X-handle platform, Obi said on Thursday, December 21, 2023, "I read the reports of the president's approval of a 50 percent slash in the price of interstate transport fare for Nigerians traveling during this Yuletide from Thursday 21, 2023 to January 4, 2024. The news reports added that the president also approved free rides for commuters on all train services within the period. 

"If fully implemented, as reported, I consider this first-time intervention of the government, intended to help the masses, a step in the right direction. However, the major concern about such emergency measures is what follows afterward. The high cost of transportation and associated hardships are all well known.”

Obi continue: “The question this seasonal palliative raises is that of what happens after the festive season. Is there a sustainable policy measure to cushion the masses from the current high transportation costs? Even the current effort comes with operational challenges. Millions of people have already traveled bearing the brunt and huge costs of such travels. How will such people get their refunds or be compensated?

"Following the government's announcement of a 50% discount on interstate transport fare for Nigerians, I have taken time to inquire into the implementation mechanics across different cities but I have been disappointed.

“Today, I sent out contacts who consulted widely with the transporters in major parks across the country: In Abuja, they carried out an on-the-spot investigation in Jabi/Utako areas; in Lagos, they visited major parks like Jibowu, Festac, Mile 12, Ajah, and Mazamaza and none of the transporters in these parks was aware of this 50% discount. At Upper Iweka, Onitsha, which is the main traffic hub in Anambra, and in other parts of the country like; Kano, Aba, Kaduna, Owerri, and Gombe, the story is the same.

“The government has again announced the few transport companies chosen to participate in the intervention for which 28 Routes have been designated. There are no announced forms of checks and balances to ensure that the transporters follow the terms of the contract.

“There are obvious questions about the integrity of this intervention effort. One expects that such a policy that strives to appeal to the broad masses, especially the downtrodden, deliberate and concrete arrangements should be made, with transport companies.

“I pray that this is not yet another spin to curry favor in the media space after appetizing the people. The Nigerian people are going through untold hardship and the government must not remain insensitive to their sufferings.

“Compassion on the part of the government is a good thing, but it should not be an avenue for exploiting the weak structures of government to encourage less-than-transparent policy implementation, Obi concluded 
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