KEY NOTE ADDRESS
‘Excellent Motoring Experience
Through Membership Solidarity and Observance of Human Rights’
Presented by Chief Aare Afe Babalola CON OFR SAN D.LL, D.LIT on the Occasion of the Inauguration and Award of VOAN 17/12/205
Your Excellency, the Executive Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Your Excellency, Senator (Dr.) Joseph Wayas, the Former Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Your Excellency, the Executive Governors hereby present, your Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the First Lady of Nigeria, your Royal Highness, Alhaji Musa Idris, the Emir of Jigwa, the Hon. Ministers hereby present; The National President of the Association; distinguished journalists and ladies & Gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to give the keynote address on the inauguration of the association called Vehicle Owners Association of Nigeria (VOAN) which in all respect and by implication I and every one hereby present are members because we all own vehicles.
When I received the invitation to come and give the keynote address on the inauguration of the association, the first question that crept to my mind is “to what political party do the members of the association belong” or “which party is sponsoring it” I became hesitant because I have made up my mind not to take active part in partisan politics though as a good citizen of Nigeria, I have my sympathy and support for a political party. However, on perusing through the aims and objectives of the Association I was convinced that the founders of the association have come out with good objectives devoid of political partisanship, I was convinced that the founders of the Association have come out with good and noble objectives which will assist the Federal Government and state Governments in many sections such as Transport, Works, Security etc.
I am happy to see an association of this type which has come out with the objectives of doing something to assist the governments, the vehicles owners in Nigeria and provide employment for some people.
At this junction, it pertinent to ask a question “Has the Vision of Vehicle Manufacturers been achieved particularly in Nigeria”
Since the invention of motor vehicles, manufacturers of the various brand and categories of vehicles have always had comfort of commuters in minds during the designs and the subsequent manufacturing stages of the vehicles meant for different purposes.
In the same vain, the various countries of the world enacted relevant laws to guide the vehicle users in achieving convenience and safety during journey using the motor vehicles while channeling their substantial resources toward constructing good roads.
However, the daily realities we are confronted with are in sharp contrast with these visions as stated above thereby leading to countless vehicle accidents, bitter quarrel among vehicle users and clashes between vehicle users and the law enforcement agents.
This is why the theme of this ceremony has become imperative for vehicle owners to observe the under-listed advice for collective motoring convenience and excellent experience as we go about our daily activities where the ‘motor vehicle’ has become a necessity in the scheme of things.
- COMPLETE VEHICLE KITS AND REGULAR MAINTENANCE: This cannot be over emphasis! Ensuring that your vehicle is maintained as and when due save you a lot from stress of vehicle breakdown in the middle of a journey or even fatal accident. In the same way, ensuring that all the necessary kits and tools like fire extinguisher needed in a vehicle are always provided (noting the expiry date of each) would not only save you from some bad motoring experiences, but also save you from being harassed by the law enforcement agencies.
- OPERATING VEHICLES WITHIN THE RULE OF LAW: For you to have excellent motoring experience, you must ensure the observance of laid down traffic rules, respect for traffic lights and road signs. Any thing short of that could lead to bad outing and possible jail if you are caught!
- TAKING ADEQUATE MOTOR INSURANCE POLICIES: I call this ‘Assurance through Insurance’. With motor insurance policies such as third party and comprehensive policy, you enjoy a reasonable freedom that people in the western world have. You can easily save your life when an armed robber puts a gun to your head by simply handing over your car key to him and get the car replaced later-on by the Insurer. Sometimes over carefulness because of fear of loosing your car can also lead to serious accident. Simply take adequate motor insurance and have peace of mind. I do hope that your Association would do something about it using group advantage.
- DEVELOPING THE ATTITUDE of neighborliness and courteousness towards other road users instead of Road Rage (quick anger) or regarding other road users as obstacles that must be outwitted or worst still by regarding the journey as competition against other road users. The key word here is the ‘Courteousness’. Courteous comes from an old French word – curt and Latin – ensis. It carried a meaning of being of a conduct and manner as fit for the court of royalty. It also meant being well educated and well bred. You are a gentleman or a lady on the steering wheel not because the other person is acting kindly or treating you with deserved respect. Your carriage, your gentlemanliness is dependent not on the behaviours of others or on external factors, it is who you are; the very essence of your upbringing and education.
Courtesy calls on you to rise above the littleness of the commoner – which in any case is a mindset – to the disposition and conduct of royalty as a Vehicle Owner. It is not something that comes along once in a while when you are in a good mood and evaporates when you come under strain and stress.
Everyday offers a new opportunity to show the royalty in you through your courteous behavior when driving. You are not a commoner or an ordinary person. You are a Vehicle Owner or User. That is your royal highness.
- CURBING HUMAN RIGHT ABUSES against Vehicle Owners by other road users: Cases abound where commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada run into a vehicle which in most cases the Okadas were at fault but the vehicle owners or drivers found themselves escaping from the scene for obvious reason of being mobbed or their vehicle set ablaze by other Okada Riders! In the same vain, cases abound where vehicles are set ablaze and the users assaulted for killing domestic animals that strayed unto the highway by Communities living along major highways in Nigeria. This Association has the big responsibility of curbing these human right abuses against its members by embarking on aggressive sensitization and in some serious cases, taking up the matter in the law court on-behalf of its members. Achieving excellent driving experience with the incessant attacks against Vehicles Owners may be just wishful thinking until deliberate efforts are made to sensitize the Nigerian public the importance of reporting matters to police or law court instead of taking the laws into their hands.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as we sit here at this momentous time in our history, what each of us owes to the Government and the people of Federal Republic of Nigeria is to ensure that the information you have received about excellent motoring experience through membership solidarity and observance of human rights today is never quenched by the storms of life. If you keep the flame burning, if you shine forth the light and observe and keep to what you have been told, the transport and the automobile sector shall be better off for it and indeed, we shall all enjoy excellent motoring experience devoid of human right abuses within the frame-work of the laws.
Thank you for listening