While applauding the federal government’s intention to ease transport burdens for Nigerians during the Yuletide season, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has raised concerns about the sustainability and implementation of the announced 50% discount on interstate fares.
Obi, in a statement released on his X account on Friday, commended the government’s initiative but questioned whether it was a genuine attempt to address long-standing transportation woes or a temporary measure aimed at gaining favour.
He emphasised the need for a lasting solution to the high cost of transportation, which has been a major source of hardship for many Nigerians.
He said, “The high cost of transportation and associated hardships are all well known. This seasonal palliative raises the question of what happens after the festive season. Is there a sustainable policy to cushion the masses from the high transportation costs?”
The former governor of Anambra State expressed skepticism regarding the implementation mechanisms of the discount, highlighting his inquiries across various cities.
He stated that his contacts found no awareness of the discount among transport operators in major national parks, from Jabi/Utako in Abuja to Jibowu, Festac, and Mile 12 in Lagos. Similar unawareness was reported in Onitsha, Kano, Aba, and other major cities.
Obi criticised the lack of transparency surrounding the chosen transport companies and the designated 28 routes.
He questioned the absence of checks and balances to ensure compliance with the terms of the intervention. He raised concerns about the potential exploitation of weak government structures for policy implementation.
While acknowledging the government’s compassion, Obi urged it to move beyond temporary measures and focus on long-term solutions.
He emphasised the need for deliberate and concrete arrangements with transport companies, ensuring the policy’s effectiveness and benefit to the intended beneficiaries.