Twenty questions for the Lagos state government on the Lekki Toll Gates

I was originally going to title this post 20 Questions for Mr Fashola, but then I realized “a man does not a government make”. The government of Lagos state includes the state house of assembly members, the various commissioners, etc. Did someone mention the masses? Sorry to disappoint, the masses are not part of the government, otherwise they will not be so treated (poorly). In all states of the federation, the fact that the person that you as a common man on the street voted for came to power should not be taken as causative, it’s mere happenstance. It’s just that your choice happens to align with the choice of the powers that be. You can thank yourself though, at least by voting, it gives an air of legitimacy to the whole process! So on to those 20 questions for the state government (I have had to reword the questions accordingly)
As there is now a “functional” freedom of information act, we feel we can ask and expect answers to these questions on matters which affect the populace
1. Was there any public consultation on the Lekki concession to find out what people living along that axis think of the proposed project and its terms (duration, operation and cost) or did the government just unilaterarily decide it knew exactly what was good for the people?
2. If yes to the previous question, were the people that would be mostly affected given a chance to vote on it?
3. Was there a public tender to select the concessionaire?
4. If yes, were there any qualified people who are resident along that axis whose standing and integrity in the society is beyond reproach and who have no connections materially (directly or indirectly with the government) on the tender’s selection board?
5. If yes, were the general masses (especially people living along that axis) given a say in who represented them on the board?
6. Are there anyone (all those mentioned above and more as being part of the government) in this government with shares (direct or indirect) in the LCC?
7. Are there anyone (in government as defined above) in this government who have been paid, or will be paid now, or will be paid in the future as a direct result from the award or operations of the LCC concession?
8. Are there anyone (in government as defined above) in this government with close relations involved with the LCC concession who stand to gain materially from it?
9. How was the terms of the concession arrived at (especially given the fact that this government has less than 4 years left and a maximum of 8 years at most assuming hypothetically that the concession was made on the first day the government came on board – which we know is not the case)
10. Since this concession affects the people the government serves, where are the estimates and analysis for the cost versus benefits of this concession and who was involved in drawing it up?
11. Where are the estimates on the average per day, per month, per year returns to the LCC concessionaires to ensure it’s publicly scrutinized to ensure the people are not being unreasonably exploited by a private company selected by this government?
12. Where are the actual current earnings per day, per month for the duration of the operation of the concession till date in order to validate the initial estimate (if this is found too high thereby resulting in obnoxious profit at the expense of the people, it should automatically drive the move to adjust the toll charges downwards)?
13. Who are the major parties involved in the LCC (especially Nigerians)?
14. As others have asked before, what drove the decision to have 3 toll gates on a 35km road in the same LG?
15. Since we claim to follow practices from the developed countries, kindly supply references for the above decision from those countries (many of which government members have visited in the past)
16. Shouldn’t the toll be affordable for the lowest paid citizen? If as an example we consider a civil servant with one wife and one child (in Nigeria?!) living in Awo Yaya on the Lekki axis earning 18,000 Naira monthly salary and who drives a jallopy and who has to work 20days a month, can such a person afford the concessionaires toll tax which works out at 4,800 Naira (20x120x2) per month, that’s more than a quarter of his monthly salary gone already gone?
17. Since there is a suggestion that our hypothetical civil servant above should uproot himself (not that he is living in heaven before), sell his property (if by some chance he has one), and go lease an apartment in another part of the city, kindly advise him on where the government has developed which is within his meager means and which more importantly is not a slum and which has enough accommodation and infrastructure to support the vast majority of people who fall into (and below) this class?
18. We understand that the so-called alternate route now has touts in the indirect employ of the government (since they make “returns”) haphazardly operating their own mini-toll gates, if this is not the case, what effort has this government made to stop this extortion of the hardworking citizens who choose not to go through the first toll gate of the LCC?
19. If this alternate route is truly alternate, shouldn’t it be motorable in such a way that one can bypass all the toll gates operated by the LCC and not just only the first one?
20. While there are many more questions, we find we need to stop at this point, though the questions above tend to paint a picture which for all the legal minds in the government as previously defined, we find it hard to believe there will be satisfactory answers (but we are nonetheless hopeful).
We eagerly await the answers supplied by (hopefully) the government or the LCC (as a last resort if pressing matters of state makes it impossible for the former to provide answers)
Thank you.

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