Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

AILING LAGBUS TRANSPORT SCHEME: The Failure of Public Private Partnership (PPP)

AILING LAGBUS TRANSPORT SCHEME: The Failure of Public Private Partnership (PPP)

Reinstate Comrade Samuel Olowokere Now!

By Chinedu Bosah

For keen watchers of LAGBUS transport scheme, it is glaring that the transportation scheme is fast collapsing despite huge resources committed to it. The scheme was set up by the Lagos State Government with investment of public funds, landed properties etc., in an arrangement that profits a few privileged individuals at workers and public expense.

The Private Public Partnership is now a model through which government commit public resources for the profit drive of their private collaborators. For instance, LAGBUS scheme is managed by a registered private company known as LAGBUS Asset Management Ltd whose Board of Directors are in the Lagos State Government and connected to the government. For instance, Mr. Disun Holloway, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism & Intergovernmental Relations, is a board member of LAGBUS Asset Management Ltd.

The scheme will collapse soonest except huge funds are reinvested into it. Though, the board members and other key beneficiaries are likely to be fleecing the scheme through profit sharing and other means, the scheme is no longer profitable. The Managing Director of LAGBUS, Mr. Tunde Disu at a radio program in 2012 claimed that the buses being managed by the company were 803 whereas the total number of buses on the roads on a daily basis is about 200. This is so because most of the buses are broken down and abandoned at different depots due to expensive and unsustainable contract maintenance policy. Though most of the buses are less than 3 years old, they have been allowed to rot away. Hence, about 600 buses are deteriorating and wasting.


The real essence of setting up LAGBUS was for massive exploitation of workers and corrupt enrichment of a few at the expense of the public.

LAGBUS workers have dropped from 350 to about 150 due to systematic sack and poor working condition while contract/casual workers are presently about 550. Currently there are 5 contractor companies, all connected to the top functionaries of Lagos State Government. These contract companies are TK, Bucad, XL, NURTW and Driving Solution. LAGBUS management pays the contractors N41,000 as salary for every worker they employ for LAGBUS while workers take-home pay is about N32,000 per month. Hence, the contractors make at least N6,000 for every worker employed.

LAGBUS management and the Lagos State management prefer the contract system because it offers opportunity to make cheap profit since workers are casuals, they are denied right to join union and defend their collective interest. For instance, Driving Solution employed 228 workers and makes about N1.4 million monthly whereas workers are denied better wage and working condition. The regularized drivers earn N35000 while the ground staff, most of whom are bus assistants earn N25000. Sweeping and cleaning jobs are also outsourced to private contractors whom are equally close to the management and Lagos State Government. Cleaners who sweep the depots and buses earn a meager N10,000 per month while bus washers are paid about N12,000 as at one year ago. Perhaps, 3 times the amount paid to these workers are earned by the contractors. Contractors for Bus washing are OILIB SIBOG, DAGO, GABAK VENTURES and CLEANIX. All contract staffs are denied the right to belong to a union of their choice; these workers are denied severance pay; they are also denied the right to go on leave etc.

One of the biggest exploitation currently is the supply of diesel. Oando is reportedly owned by Bola Tinubu and his family members and it is the sole supplier of diesel to all LAGBUS buses. For every litre it supplies, it charges LAGBUS additional N30; when a litre was sold for N140 a year ago, LAGBUS pays N170 despite supplying thousands of litres on a daily basis.

The newest of the anti-poor policy is subjecting contract drivers’ salary to N18,000 while workers are to get 4% target commission as additional earnings. This policy is aimed at reducing workers salary since most workers will not be able to make up to the amount earned before. However, the target policy indeed make the drivers prone to accident as it puts them under pressure to drive at top speed in order to meet target, thereby endangering the lives of passengers and other road users.


All along workers have been fighting back against these anti-labour policies. The regularized workers of LAGBUS fought to get a union in 2008 and management grudgingly accepted. So far, management with the backing of Lagos State Government has unleashed attacks on workers who dared to challenge it.

In April 2009, workers embarked on a strike to demand the reduction of work hours and better working condition. In August 2009, 4 leading activists (Jeffery, marvelous, Taiwo and Olarewanju) were sacked, arrested, detained and charged to court on trumped-up charges for spearheading a strike that demand better working condition. These struggles forced the management to reduce the work hours from 80 hours a week to 60 hours; the strike of February 2011 and further pressure from the union forced the management to reduce the work hour to 40 hours per week.

In December 2010, two key workers’ activists (Solomon Odijie and Adebayo Samuel) were sacked by Driving Solution for joining the union and emerging as key elected officials in a democratic election supervised by AUPCTRE.

Samuel Olowokere, the branch union secretary was callously sacked in January 2013 for upholding the position of the union that rejects the insulting end-of-the-year package of meager eight cups of rice per worker. The management was apparently desperate to have the rice shared so as to cover up the corruption associated with the rice. Olowokere is one the most active union activists who have spearheaded the resistance against management anti-labour policies. Hence, management and the state government are desperate in getting rid of Olowokere.

All these struggles have been waged by the branch union and workers without any support from the state and national leadership of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE). In fact, the union leadership collaborated with the management to victimize all the workers’ activists listed above except Olowokere. The union leadership is presently frustrating the reinstatement struggle of Olowokere. The union leadership wrote an ultimatum letter to the management that has lapsed on February 6, 2013, but have failed to take any concrete step. Rather than begin mobilization of workers for a day of action, the union leadership claimed it wants to discuss with the Commissioner of Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa- a delay tactic meant to stall the struggle.

Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemn these wave of victimization and call for immediate and unconditional reinstatement of all workers victimized. We call on workers’ activists and rank and file workers to consolidate on the mobilization of workers for a day of action. They should also put more pressure on the union leadership to take concrete action that will force the management to reinstate Olowokere without loss of pay.