Days to the governorship election in Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, seeking re-election for a second term, has ordered the free release of vehicles seized for minor traffic infractions.
The release was communicated through the state’s commissioner for transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, who described it as a gesture of “magnanimity” from the governor.
“There are some people that committed offences during that period and we understand the fact that money wasn’t easy to come by,” Mr Oladeinde said on Tuesday.
“Looking at the governor’s magnanimity, the governor has deemed it fit to ensure that people who committed crimes within that period and wanted to pay or couldn’t pay as a result of the shortage of cash, they should come and pick up their cars and he has waived the fines.”
Mr Oladeinde said the governor waived the fines out of concern for Lagos state residents because of the cash dearth that began a month ago but the move is more widely regarded as a political ploy to win the support of voters given that Mr Sanwo-Olu is only doing it few days to the polls.
“Mind you, that does not include major crimes committed. These are just minor traffic offences that have been committed in Lagos and this is showing empathy and trying to understand that look, we understand how difficult it has been and it is not a reason for us to stop you from making ends meet and so hence the governor’s magnanimity,” the commissioner explained.
A Supreme Court ruling extending the validity of the old notes until December 31 and the fact that Mr Sanwo-Olu is waiving the penalty four days before the governorship elections, have led some residents to doubt the sincerity of his “magnanimity.”
They instead view the gesture as an attempt by the governor to gain the goodwill of voters before Saturday’s governorship polls.
Mr Sanwo-Olu will slug it out on the ballot papers against Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party and Abdulazeez ‘Jandor’ Adediran of the Peoples Democratic Party, who are strong contenders in the Lagos gubernatorial polls on Saturday.