The Chairman of Oyo State Road Traffic Management Authority (OYRTMA) , Colonel Tayo Olumide Ishola,(rtd) spoke about the activities of the agency and also some precautionary measures the road users can take so that they won't be victims of road accidents .He spoke with SEGUN SHOWUNMI on other sundry issues .Excerpts.
Under which ministry does this agency fall into?
This agency is directly under the Office of the executive governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi. Administratively, we relate with ministry of works and transport, I didn't say we are under the ministry of works and transport, operationally, we are agency established under the governor's office ,but ,administratively, we relate with the ministry of works and transport as i have said earlier.
What are the responsibilities of this agency for the smooth flow of traffic in Oyo State particularly Ibadan?
As long as there are roads, and as long as there are vehicles plying these roads, there is the need for the people to manage the roads so that reckless drivers will not take over the use of the roads and that was why this agency was established to bring sanity into the use of roads to save time spent on the roads when travelling and to prevent the misuse of the roads because roads are not meant for vehicles alone, there are people who ride machines, there pedestrians, even animals who cross the roads, so, there will be need for somebody or an agency to enforce the compliance of traffic regulations on road users .
Are your officers armed like other security agencies?
I want to educate you that our officers are not policemen, they are not mobile police neither they are soldiers nor civil defence, so, they can not carry arms as at the stage of their creation, may be in the future they might get to that level, so, we are not putting arms in the hands of our staff or officers to go and harras roads users, if that is what you mean, we expect them to be civil, in a civilized world ,you can not see a police carrying arms, not to talk of a civil defence or road safety corps. That is why you don't see Federal Road Safety Corps carrying arms, is not that they are careless, but, because it is not right for them to carry arms, but, if you have a situation where a particular person becomes violent, we have the option of inviting the police, army, or civil defence to intervene, but on our own part, we are not concerned about the particular person, we are only concerned about his or her vehicle .
What are the achievements of this agency in the first quarter of this year?
This agency is a service oriented agency, our service is intangible, I mean, it is something you can not measure, can you imagine the time our officers save people travelling on the roads? you can't imagine the time you get to your work on time at the right time? this shows the economic advantage of our presence on the roads and it saves accidents, it can not be quantified ,so, those are the measure of things we are doing, it is not something someone can count .
What is your take on the penalties and sensitization by your officers to the traffic law breakers?
This is not a revenue generation agency, so, whatever fine we charge the offenders, is to serve as deterent to whoever the offender is , and on sensitization, we go on radio, we go on television, even the print media and also online, telling people what and what not to do, so, we are doing enough of sensitization ,but ,its just unfortunate that our people are somehow adamant, and they don't care for their lives and the lives of other road users.
Can you tell us some challenges facing this agency?
Challenges are in two ways, there are internal and external challenges, on the internal challenges am not competent to speak to you on that, but, the external one are the people that use roads in this state, is not limited to NURTW alone, but, it is centered on knowledge of road users, for instance, when drivers go to Lagos, they don't misbehave ,but, when they come here, they misbehave, believing that "ita baba wa ni" (this is our fatherland), I have detected through one of my close associates in NURTW that most people that break the traffic laws are not form Ibadan or Oyo State, but they are those coming from outside the state, because, they believe ,we, Ibadan people don't care and this is what translated to the internal people like okada riders, tri-cycle riders, micra and bus drivers to mention few .
What is your advice for these people?
My advice for the people is that they should be careful when they want to go on road, they should be careful when they want to cross the road, they should look at the kind of vehicle they want to enter to know if the vehicle is in a good condition and also the kind of driver that wants to drive the vehicle. To Okada riders, don't ride okada on major roads so that you will not be a victim of an accident, also, don't carry more than one passenger, then for the micra driver, they' should be careful in the use of the roads, they should know that the fact that the vehicle is small , does not give them room to be causing accident on our roads and my serious advice for all of them is to make sure they have correct particulars and also their driving licence is up to date, this include all commuters on the roads because 70% of our road users do not have driving licence and some of them who have it do not obtain it in a right way.