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Dear Governor Seyi Makinde,
did you know your staff at various licensing offices across the state are contributing to Lagos State IGR at the expense of our state IGR?

Some days ago, I was at the licensing office situated at the state Secretariat  in a request for a vehicle number plate. “Which state do you want, Lagos or Oyo”? The woman behind the desk asked me.

“Lagos bii ti boo”? I quickly ogled at the sign post in front of the office to be sure I was at the right place.

“I want Oyo State”, I simply responded.

“Lagos is 48k while Oyo is 38k”, she itemized my options.

“Why would I opt for 48k when I could easily go for 38k? Not even when the difference can fill my pot of soup twice. It is not her fault anyway, she doesn’t know I am from Ibadan where we don’t spend anyhow”. I quickly spoke to myself quitely.

She pressed further by explaining why Lagos State is better on vehicles especially when it is a private vehicle and not a “Micra”. I got angry at this point but the civility in me wouldn’t allow me display it. I just retorted with a fake smile “I want Oyo State ma, thank you”.

To my surprise while I was transacting with her, three men came into the office for the same request and two of these men willingly requested for Lagos number plates. The third man whom initially demanded for Oyo was eventually convinced on the note that people generally, including enforcement officers (Police, FRSC and VIO), respect Lagos and Abuja number plates. I wanted to interfere but I “kuku” decided to mind my own business.

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I left the office and some questions began to run in my mind:

– Why would Oyo state licensing officer convince one to register for Lagos number plate?

– Doesn’t she know this will, directly or indirectly, add to Lagos IGR at the expense of Oyo IGR?

– Do people (including enforcement officers) truly respect Lagos or Abuja number plates?

Just as I couldn’t proffer answers to these questions, I decided to conduct an observation survey about the subject matter. I strolled around the premises of the Secretariat and I found that more than 70% of the private vehicles (available in the premises as at the time of my observation) were Lagos registered. This means that majority of government workers including top officials have their private vehicles Lagos plated. What for?
‘You work here, you live here, yet your vehicles wear Lagos registration numbers’.

Having left the state Secretariat, I moved to mokola roundabout to conclude my observation survey. “Sebi I kuku no get work, abi wetin go make person dey waka upandan on a Monday noon?”.

For 15 minutes at the roundabout, more than 80% of private vehicles have Lagos registration numbers while majority of Micra, Keke and other commercial vehicles wear Oyo state number plates.
At this juncture, another question came into my mind:
– Do taxi drivers love the state more than the elites?
“Abi na only grammar our elites Sabi speak” particularly when they want to criticise  Government not minding they are also part of the problems”?

My recommendations:
– Government should, as a matter or urgency, strictly stop registration of other states’ number plates at our licensing offices across the state.
“abi shey Dem dey register for Oyo number plates in Lagos state ni”?
– Let anyone who wants Lagos State number plate go to Lagos. This may inturn increase our IGR as some people may find it too stressful and timely to travel to Lagos for mere plate number registration.
-Let there be more sensitization particularly at licensing offices that number plate is number plate, whether Lagos, Oyo or Abuja. The only way you can avoid embarrassment from enforcement agencies and also be boast of being a good citizen is to validate your papers up to date.
– potential car owners should bear it in mind that completeness of vehicle particulars is the key and nothing else.

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Or may be I don’t know much about this, people who know more should please shed more lights on the subject matter for us all to learn. I rest my case here.

 If you like, call it criticism or joblessness, “me sha don talk my own”.

Aare Ishola Yusuff is my name.