Lagos: The Politics of Apapa Gridlock


By Justina Okpanku

Governor-elect of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu got a few nods when he promised , last week, to put an end to the perennial Apapa gridlock within the first 60 days of his administration. First and foremost, he said he would rid the area of all the trailers whose operations had been responsible for the intractable gridlock.
“The Apapa trailer issue; it’s a campaign issue; it’s very serious. I’m going to take it very seriously. I believe that it is something that we are going to solve in the first 60 days of our government. Whatever is going to be required of us, we will take them out. There is a lot of politics being played around there. But no, it cannot be the way we’ll continue to live. We cannot continue to give excuses,” he said.
Now it appears this didn’t go down well with government officials in some quarters. Some higher authorities have stepped in. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice President), Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the directive mandated the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis. followed an emergency meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on April 25, 2019.
Was Sanwo-Olu is trying to take credit for a project he knows nothing about? People in the know said the presidency has been working round the clock to find a lasting solution to the gridlock in the area and it would be unfair for Sanwo-Olu to want to take credit for it.
According to a news report, “The presidency issued that statement to counter the governor-elect because they realised he wants to take glory for a project he knows nothing about. “If you recall, the presidency has been working on a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock. Even the vice president had to fly on the area on a chopper to assess the situation.
“But we think Sanwo-Olu has gotten wind of the situation and now quickly came out to say that he will provide the solution to the gridlock so that when it happens, he will take the credit.That is why the presidency quickly came out and issued the statement to set the records straight. We will collaborate with him when he is sworn in as the governor to work on a solution to it just as we have been working with the outgoing governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.” Adding: “But Sanwo-Olu should not speak authoritatively on finding a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock because the issue is beyond him.”