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NIGERIA’S SECURITY ARCHITECTURE & DIGITAL NEWS REPORTAGE: A CREDIBILITY THRESHOLD FOR A SUCCESSFUL 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS, The Role Of LASTMA – By GM, Bolaji Oreagba.

Bolaji Oreagba.
GM, LASTMA.

Nigeria by many incontestable standards remains the giant of Africa, despite the myriad of challenges bedeviling the country. Nigeria remains the benchmark by which many concerns are measured on the continent and is not alone in the reality of challenging socio-political and economic situations; as the trend is world over. Even the acclaimed first countries of the West which are used as international standards or yardsticks, also currently face daunting challenges, ranging from political to social, economic to environmental and at the centre of the lot is the security threat posed in multidimensional patterns according to peculiarities of each political ecosystem.

 

From the energy crises currently ravaging the whole of Europe on the account of Russia’s war with Ukraine, the economic crises occasioned by political instability in the United Kingdom,  random mass shootings and gun violence in the United states, the unending social unrests, protests and political crises in Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Palestine , France, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela; Wars and political unrest in Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, the Sudan, Sri-lanka, Bangladesh,;  Terrorist activities in the middle East and Arabian Peninsula to the gang wars in South America to mention a few, these and many other variables affect the socio-political fabric of the society and influences largely the process and conduct of elections in the respective countries. 

The impacts created by these situations also sometimes generate consequences on the international arena and bear direct or indirect influences on the affairs of other countries across the world.

Fragile as Nigeria’s security architecture is oftentimes portrayed in the media, especially the New Media among which the social media occupies the centre stage in recent times, Nigeria still competes favourably when comparatively positioned beside other countries in Africa and in the world. The dogged and resilient nature of the Nigerian people makes it even more interesting for Nigeria to survive and stand formidable in the face of the current challenges, ranging from the senseless acclaimed religious war and killings in the North by Boko haram terrorists, kidnapping for ransome across the country, Cultism and human rituals predominant in the South East and West to the herdsmen attacks and killings which are grossly affecting productivity in the Agriculture and other vital areas of the economy.

It is a known and indubitable fact that the media as the fourth estate in every political entity plays a pivotal and unquantifiable role in influencing public opinion, determining political directions, shaping the mind of the polity and consequentially setting the platform for individual decisions which trigger reactions from the public on taking collective decisions to support or oppose the ruling government. These decisions stand as the variable for people’s action and form the basis for which the political climate, in terms of calmness, balancing or instability is determined.

To this extent therefore, it is imperative that the media exercise and conduct the its business and activities in very strategic and professional manners devoid of bias, favoritism, lack of objectivity, inflammation and wild reportage sensation to avert a heated, hostile and militarised polity which is capable of causing further chaos, degeneration and disintegrated political atmosphere, fanned by the embers of information discord. The media must leverage on its viability and credibility to support and promote the security institutions and architecture in order to facilitate a resounding success in the build up to and entire process of the 2023 general elections. To make or to mar, the media should understand its sensitive role and peculiar nature at deploying news or information to the public. The clear understanding, temperament and mindset of the polity must be a factor and of top consideration in the discharge of reportage duties to promote political cohesion and social order which is required for seamless flow and execution of the political process and attainment of acceptable and best outcomes in the electioneering agenda.

THE LASTMA ROLE

Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) is a Lagos State-owned Agency under the Ministry of Transportation. The Agency was established in July of the year 2000, to transform the State’s transport operations and traffic management system towards ensuring free flow of traffic across the state and also reduce to the barest minimum road traffic crashes.

MISSION STATEMENT

To develop A Culture of Regulation, Control and Management of Traffic Operations State Wide: And to Ensure Hitch Free Traffic Flow on Lagos Roads.

VISION STATEMENT        

To Reduce Deaths, Injuries and Economic Losses Through Road Traffic Accidents, Conflicts, Congestion and Delays On The Public Highways in Lagos State by Employing Modern Traffic Management Techniques To Inject Order And Control Into The Road Traffic System In The State.

GOAL

To Create Atmosphere for a sustainable social and economic growth by ensuring free traffic flow in the state.

Beyond the mission and vision statements, as well as the goal of LASTMA as an Agency as written in the books, the organisation has been strategically involved in many other ad-hoc areas of responsibilities beyond the perceived or projected scope of the founders. The Agency has over the years collaborated and been working together seamlessly with Security, military, paramilitary, emergency management and other stakeholder organizations to achieve excellent results in service delivery to the public and citizenry. This has always been done diligently to the glory of Lagos State and Federal Governments of Nigeria.

LASTMA in the past years since 2003 has been actively involved in the preparatory process leading to and during the conduct of general elections, as a progressive partner to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), alongside other Security and Stakeholder Agencies. It had played support and complementary roles in many aspects to ensure successful conduct of elections anytime duty calls. These include:

Provides enabling environment for smooth traffic flow on guided movement of INEC officials by outriders or advance motorized patrol team

Provides effective and efficient traffic control and management at INEC registration centre areas, election rallies, processions, conventions and such other campaign activities leading to election

Assist in locating difficult polling units or areas designated by INEC for election purposes

Assist officials of INEC in the process of moving election materials to site

Jointly monitor proceedings on election days with other security Agencies and make prompt reports to appropriate quarters , through the use of the Agency’s communication system

Work in consonance with other stakeholders to ensure motor vehicle restriction orders on election days

Undertake other support services as designated by INEC

As a responsible government Agency, LASTMA has worked with unwavering commitment to achieve successful electoral outcomes which set the pace for stable political administration, adventure and social orderliness; knowing very well that a successful traffic management regime can only be achieved and guaranteed under a stable and sustainable political atmosphere. The Agency is committed in principle and practice at all times, towards achieving successful feats through collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders in creating an atmosphere of social order, political stability and economic prosperity in Lagos and the country at large.

Thank you and God bless Nigeria.

Being a paper presented by the General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Mr. Bolaji Oreagba at the summit organized by the Digital Newspaper Owners Association of Nigeria, SDNON.

 

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