Can we meet you sir?
My name is Kojeku Adetunji, from Igbogila Yewa North Local Government, I attended prestigious Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, and proceeded to then Ogun State Polytechnic in 1996/1997, afterward to Osun State Polytechnic where I had my HND. I also had my BSc in Cresent University Abeokuta in 2010. I got employed by the Ogun State Civil Service and was posted to TRACE Corps in 2006, I’m a member of course II intake, started as Head of Operations in 2006 at Oke Odan command, from there I was moved to Ojodu/Akute also as Head of Operations, then in 2010, I was moved to Ogere as Head of Operations. I was later transferred to the headquarters as the pioneer counselor for the Corps and I was there for almost three years and later attached to Dangote Cement Company to ease the traffic and later posted to Ota to deputise the current Area Commander Ajibade when he was the Divisional Commander in Ota. From Ota, I was transferred here as the Unit Commander of TRACE Ijoko Unit.
What are the responsibilities attached to your office as the Unit Commander?
Traffic is dynamic and wide, as the head of a unit that is into traffic management, you will do the administrative work; putting into use both human and material resources available, coordinating lots of activities among staff and the motoring public for enlightenment and enforcement to achieving safer highway, seamlessly. Traffic regulation and control are very crucial also, obviously, there are currently some places or beats that require we post our officers for traffic control, for instance at Gasline, if our men are not there, especially in the evenings there is always emerging traffic caused by a failed portion of the road, which makes it difficult for people to get back home after the day’s work, hence, we manage traffic there to ease the situation. Now we are in “ember” months, we reach out to the motoring public to let them realise that it is the carelessness of people that majorly cause road mishaps, not the months, so we do sensitisation often especially in this period of the year. Our rescue team is also saddled with lots of responsibilities, rescue operations require a high level of professionalism because life is always involved, they are highly trained in causality handling and other paramedics courses. For instance yesterday, an accident occurred at Alasia Bus Stop around 12midnight, it is worth mentioning that we work round the clock.
We carry out traffic operations during the day and still post our officers on the night shift. The night shift operation is centred on Rescue Operation because the time of arrival has to be reduced to the minimum so that life can be saved. We were at Alasia to rescue the accident victim but unfortunately, the victim had died before our arrival, so we moved the corpse to the mortuary, retrieved the bike and truck involved, policemen were engaged purposely to investigate and possibly for prosecution. These are some examples of the things we do. It is all about safety, ensuring our road is safer for motoring pubic, that is the reason TRACE was established.
The fire incident that occurred sometime in August at a pharmacy store under the bridge at Sango was put off by firemen with TRACE operatives inclusive. TRACE is always around when it has to do with safety.
Looking at the current terrible state of the roads, what are the measures put in place to make mobility easy for motorists and other road users?
We were at the local government recently to meet the Chairman on a courtesy visit, we discussed how to maximize the use of our roads, TRACE does not condone street trading and it was resolved that we form a task force comprising TRACE, other sister agencies, and community leaders to clear our highways to achieve smooth traffic flow. For instance, at Sango under the bridge, you see traders there occupying almost half of the road making it difficult for vehicles to pass, so we have devised some modalities with councilors and other community leaders to move traders out of the highway necessary to give room for vehicular free flow. Road construction & palliative works are ongoing in some places in order to make things easier for the motoring public.
You earlier mentioned that one of your activities is to sensitise the public on the right use of the road especially in these “ember” months, what are the activities carried out so far in the area of sensitisation?
Educating the motoring public is not something restricted to “ember” months or the end of the year. We do counsel or educate whoever is found wanting, for instance, if you are arrested, your driver’s license is confiscated and before your your vehicle is released, we have to counsel you to realise the gravity of your offense and the risk you might have subjected yourself into, we do such almost on daily basis. There are some we do periodically, for instance, there was a time we invited all the “Babalojas” and “Iyalojas” who is in charge of markets, we had a meeting with them and it was unanimously agreed that the roadside traders would be moved out of the road. There was another time we invited all the stakeholders at Ogbaayo at Four-junction Police post, we enlightened them and they were happy. Some of them from their remarks said that they were encouraged because they never knew TRACE do sensitize and educate the public. They thought our activities is all about arresting people. We made them understand that to ensure good motoring culture is not all about enforcement only, enlightenment also plays a key role to achieve such objective, hence, we will continue to do enlightenment. Next week, we have the arrangement to organise a sensitisation programme with Honourable Bombay, Councillor representing ijoko ward, when we have agreed on a date l you will be informed.
What advice do you have for motorists and people within your axis?
Because we are in a rush now, what motorists and most people could not achieve from January through August, they want to achieve double at the end of the year, so there is a rush that is peculiar to “ember” months. They should try and put safety first. People need to understand that going out and returning home safely is the only way they can be alive to enjoy the resources they have gathered. Motorists should not over-speed and they should also avoid overloading because these are the key factors that cause accidents. So, my advice to drivers is that they should avoid overspeeding, overloading, and fatigue.