The Lagos State Government on Wednesday described the article published in the latest edition of The Economist Magazine about traffic in Lagos as reckless and slanderous.
In a statement by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Steve Ayorinde, he noted that the government deemed it necessary to write a rebuttal to the article titled- “Paralysed: Why Nigeria’s largest city is even less navigable than usual,” because there were several bias judgments in it.
“If we were to conclude hastily, like the article did, we would have described the magazine’s effort in the same words it once famously used as ‘an unpleasant nose-to-stranger’s-armpit experience.’
“It was inaccurate and preposterous for the article to suggest that Governor Ambode cut the powers of traffic controllers by banning them from impounding cars which it concluded that it had made officers reluctant to enforce the rules,” the commissioner said in the statement.
Ayorinde noted that what the Governor did instead was to encourage the officers to consider other options to apprehend traffic offenders by adopting the ticketing system backed by the same type of technology used in licensing and tracking vehicles instead of impounding the vehicles as first option.
“That The Economist sees nothing wrong in recalcitrant officers refusing to carry out a directive by their employer is as surprising as it is shameful. Shockingly still, the veil finally came off this curious article when it stated that by choosing a compassionate approach to enforcement, Governor Ambode is less competent and has deviated from his predecessor’s template.
“But what legacy has The Economist bequeathed to former Governor Babatunde Fashola? Cars were terrified into order by a state traffic agency, LASTMA, whose bribe-hungry officers flagged down offending drivers.
“This is clearly an uncharitable summation of traffic management under the last administration. It is disrespectful, even more condescending to the officers of LASTMA and to Lagosians in general for whom the magazine purports to be fighting. In any case, if indeed some officers were corrupt in LASTMA, by The Economist’s damning verdict, should Governor Ambode continue to maintain such a tainted template? Is this the magazine’s idea of the end justifies the means or it is negligible because this is Africa?”
“Perhaps, it is high time that this vaunted magazine learnt to restrict itself to strict journalism rather than seeking to impose jaded views in a volatile political climate where, we dare say, the gluttonous lot can choke on their own bile, almost hoping that the elections leading to the emergence of the governor could be held over again.”