RTEAN seeks return of toll-gates
THE National President of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Alhaji Musa Shehu Isewele, yesterday called for the return of toll-gates to enable government generate more funds through toll-fees for maintenance of existing roads across the country.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja yesterday, Isewele said his members are very much prepared for the return of the toll-gates where they would be ready to pay toll-fees provided such would help to maintain the existing roads to reduce the tear and wears of their vehicles following poor conditions of the roads.
He warned that government should ensure that reasonable people who cannot cheat are in the board that will handle the funds.
On what the association is doing to help improve the welfare of their members vis-a-vis the national economy, the RTEAN President said: ‘’I think at our own level, we are doing very well. I just informed you now that yesterday I went to Kaduna. We are in partnership with Ministry of Works. We are organising to set up mechanic workshops in Nigeria. We are bringing in a foreign partner to assemble high capacity vehicles in Nigeria to bring in more vehicles to the streets. Not quite long too, I was in Ijora, Lagos, to inspect the workshop there. The managing director of Botch Company was there. We are bringing in another company from India. They are coming from India to partner with us.’’
On his feelings about the critics to the President, especially the ones coming from President Obasanjo, he said: ‘’I feel very, very bad if such statements will come from former President Obasanjo. Did corruption start with Jonathan? Why is he blaming Jonathan? Did it start with him? Obasanjo was our Head of State and he was very close to me. I call him Baba and he called me by my name but I was not happy about such criticism because you don’t destroy the house you built. He now supposed to be the father of the nation. You don’t make a statement to pull down somebody; he is not supposed to do that. I have respect for him; he is an elder statesman. If it were another person, I would have made more comment. The issue is, did corruption start during Jonathan’s administration? The answer is No.
On the best way to tackle corruption, Isewele said: ‘’I said something at the National Conference and people thought I was not serious. When we are talking about corruption, corruption, who is the corrupt person? Who is not corrupt as far as Nigeria is concerned? Tell me that Nigerian man that you put sugar in his mouth and it turns to stone. Fighting corruption should be a collective responsibility of all of us because I know that everyone of us here, if any of us has a problem with a security officer, we will advise him to go and look for something for him so that he can let you go. It’s corruption.’’
‘’The President cannot look at anybody and shoot him because he stole N100 billion. They will say he is killing people. That time, there will be division among the people. If he kills an Uromi man, they will say it’s because he is not from Uromi; if he kills a Hausa man, they will say because he is not a Moslem. And if he kills Christians, they will complain. It has to be a gradual process because corruption has been in the system before he was born and it’s not something that can be wiped out on the spur of the moment. If anybody says he can do it immediately, he is telling lies.”
The RTEAN president, who used the occasion to inform journalists that the association is presently in good relationship with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) because of its new leadership, said: ‘’Well, I know why you are asking this question. I fought the former Corps Marshal, Osita Chidoka, who is now the Minister of Aviation to a standstill. I told him he wants to issue three plate numbers to one vehicle.
‘’But since this one came, you see I even signed the communiqué on speed limit. We are part of it and I signed the communiqué. Let me describe this current one as a God-sent. He has respect for human beings. He invites every stakeholder to meetings. So, that is why I want to build unit command office at Uromi which he has approved. I have given them a land of 100 by 90 Square metres. As I am talking with you now, I have taken 500 blocks to them because of what the present Corps Marshal is doing.’’
He called on Nigerians to come out en-masse to cast their votes without fear or favour, stressing that there would be no violence as Nigerians are becoming more politically cautious.