By OLUWOLE FAROTIMI
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola yesterday hailed the court’s ruling dismissing the suit filed by commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders challenging the state traffic law banning their operations on federal roads in the state, saying the state government followed due process in legislating the law.
The governor, who reacted to the ruling shortly after bagging award of ‘Most labour friendly governor 2012’ from the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) held at the National Theatre, Lagos affirmed the court’s ruling was in order.
His words: “The decision of the court earlier was that the state government was not liable to do some certain things. We considered that the case had merit because they alleged that there was no law.
But the judgment of the court has reinstated what clearly is the stand of the law when it was signed into law on August 2nd. “The responsibility for municipal management of traffic in any state can only be resided in the elected authority of that state. The legislative power therefore, belongs to the parliament of that state.
So, if parliament deliberates and passes a bill into law and follows all of the processes required, it is really a no brainer for anyone to challenge such law. But if people in the name of freedom and access to justice begin to act, “I think in the first place it was just a frivolous action. It was an ill-conceived action. I think that when laws are in place, people must understand how democratic process works in the state. A law is not cast in stone.
The same members of parliament always reserve the right to amend and to modify. This must be the democratic spirit.” The governor explained that if the 40 members of the Lagos State House of Assembly represent constituents in the state, any law from the representatives automatically represents the expression and desire of the people. Speaking at the NUPENG award ceremony, the governor commended the union for conferring the award on him and charged them to change their business strategy, saying “their strategy affects the country.”
He said: “There is no nation in the world that engages in moving heavy loads on the road and has good roads. If we continue, we will end up not having good roads always because the containerized truck and petrol tanker plying the high ways destroy it. “There is nothing wrong with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi expressway and others, it was our activities that are causing damage on the ever busy road.
“The best solution is to put them on rail. That is the only way the road can last. Road is a diminishing assets. If we work together we can solve the little problem that may be affecting its efficiency.” On Industrial action, the governor emphasized, “The process of strike action is a legitimate process of argument but it must always be the last resort. It must become very clear that every means have failed.
Every time we short down the economy, is a productivity loss.” He remarked that whenever “we embark on it, is a national productivity loss. Doctors have gone on strike in Europe but they did not shutdown the emergency service. For me, we must become creative in our action.” He explained that in the history of labour unions in the country, the primary objective of the unions was to fight alien and illegal government, pointing out that the government in power in the country is now a legitimate government.