NEWS COMMENTRY ON THE NEED TO REGULATE THE SPEED OF VIP CONVOYS TO SAFEGUARD THE SAFETY OF OCCUPANTS AND OTHER ROAD USERS
There is growing concern among road users over accidents involving presidential motorcades or convoys on our roads. A number of accidents have been recorded as a result of the high speed with which they travel. Last Saturday evening, news broke that the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s convoy was involved in an accident again.
The last time he was involved in an accident was only December last year on the Yendi-Tamale road. Whereas it may be argued that these accidents are caused by other road users, it is no doubt that the overspending of the convoy itself is a primary cause. The way dispatch riders shove off other road users while on top speed must be re-examined. Certainly, one does not expect the President or very important personalities, VIPs in a convoy to be the only users of a road at a particular time.
In times of emergencies, ambulances suffer to manoeuvre through heavy traffic to carry people to hospitals while VIPs always get roads cleared for them in non-emergency situations. There have been uncountable convoy accidents over the years claiming innocent lives and injuring several road users, but nobody seems to care because it appears the occupants of these convoys whose presence on the roads lead to these atrocities always escape unhurt.
It is still a mystery as to why Presidential convoys flout road safety regulations especially when it comes to speeding. Security wise, speeding convoys are meant to ensure the security of the President or any other high-profile personality who may be targets of an assassination attempt. However, speeding in itself is a security threat.
Frankly speaking, the security services are rather endangering the lives of our leaders and need to review their methods. A lot of people have on several occasions condemned the practice of overspending convoys and urged government functionaries to review the speed at which they move on our roads as they are a recipe for motor accidents. For now, the cries have fallen on deaf ears.
The media are also disappointing somehow by keeping mute on this issue. The only time they sounded the alarm bells was when one of their colleagues lost his life in a convoy accident. As the 2020 election draws near, many of these illegal convoys will be springing up and causing lots of inconvenience for road users. What exactly is the urgency about? One may wonder.
There are modern ways of commuting faster and safer and it is about time those in authority start considering such means of transportation. Government should as a matter of urgency secure other means of transport to ease their packed schedules and reduce carnage on the roads. It is up to the public to demand responsibility from our leaders.
If we fail to act on this menace, the more lives we put at risk due to unregulated speeding convoys on our roads. As to whether our pleas as innocent and concerned citizens would be heard and something done about them, only time will tell.
By Elorm Kpedator, Teacher at Tokuroano M/A Primary School Oti regional capital, Dambai