Transportation is the pivot around which the wheel of every modern economy revolves. The efficiency with which people, goods and services can move from one point to the other largely determines the quality of life of the society.
With over 5 million cars and 200,000 commercial vehicles on the roads (when the national average is 11 vehicles per kilometer), Lagos daily records an average of 227 vehicles per every kilometer of road. This makes it imperative for the state government to vigorously pursue scientific transportation management; hence the creation of Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) as an autonomous statutory body, charged with the responsibility of developing a sustainable policy on motor vehicle documentation and other related matters.
Prior to the creation of MVAA, the task of issuing number plates fell on the Federal Government through the Federal Road Safety Corp. The FRSC had the monopoly of carrying out this task for all the 36 States in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory. For a State like Lagos that records 30% vehicular movement of the country’s total, the delay, hassles and stress that Lagosians have to go through to get vehicles registered can best be imagined.
The State government through MVAA started the issuance and registration of Number Plates in 2007. It now issues averagely 20,000 numbers of number plates monthly, and controls more than 60% Number plates issued in the country. Today, one finds Lagos Number Plates all around the nation because it is easier to register vehicles in Lagos State. The process has become so simplified that registration and issuance of Number Plates can be done under one hour in the State.
Furthermore, Lagos State has a robust data base for every transaction which has also helped in the security challenge of the State and the country at large. In conjunction with the law enforcement agencies, an individual’s details or information can be assessed in less than five minutes when needed.
For individuals who request for special numbers for their vehicles, it has also become a lot easier in Lagos State. There are two types of special numbers namely: out of series numbers and fancy numbers. Out of series numbers are requested for by individuals who want particular number series. Fancy numbers are demanded for is when an individual wants his/her name, title, status among others as his or her number plate.
The production of number plates by the Lagos State government has not only made registration of vehicles in Lagos State easier, it has also put the State at the fore front of vehicle administration in Nigeria. As of today, aside the federal government as represented by the FRSC, Lagos is the only state that produces number plates in the country. This isn’t in any way surprising because Lagos is not only the Centre of Excellence, it is also a pace setter in diverse ways.
As a testimony to its rising profile, today, MVAA has over 91 stations across the State. This has made registration of vehicles and other related services easier and easily accessible and it has further taken governance to the doorsteps of the citizenry. To complement this is the establishment of the One Stop Centre in 2014 in Oshodi. The One Stop Centre is a centre that takes care of every class of clients with all the products and services of the Agency like issuance of plates, registration of vehicles, processing of drivers license, auto dealers’ certificate etc. It is also known as the mega station. With the success of the centre, there are plans to replicate it all over the State.
In order to further step up on its activities, the state government has gone a step further to create an online portal (www.lsmvaapvs.org) for the organization. Through the portal, motorists and law enforcement agencies can confirm the authenticity and genuineness of number plates issued by Lagos State. It is imperative to state here that the creation of this portal is also a step to key into the Smart City initiative of the present administration.
It is also an innovation that has helped motorists take control of their vehicles, helps determine the status of their vehicles and when vehicle is due for renewal. This has greatly helped in building the confidence of the motoring public in the Agency’s products and services and has positioned Lagos State as the number one vehicle license distributor in the country.
It is, however, important to highlight the synergy and effective collaboration of the Agency with other similar federal and state agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) and the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) on issuance of Driver’s license. The Agency is the first point of call after applicant has gone to driving school and also the last point of call. One major advantage of this is that it is easy to track individuals as well as the genuineness of one’s driver’s license if and when the need arises.
As the Centre of Excellence celebrates her golden jubilee anniversary, one cannot but affirm that motor vehicle administration has come of age in the State. Though, the journey has not really been an easy one, but it has, nevertheless, been a worthwhile one. In all, it is a good thing that MVAA is in its own little way contributing to the vision of Lagos State becoming the destination of choice in Africa. No doubt, Lagos State is fast becoming the destination of businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, so it’s imperative that the good people of the State continue to abide all rules guiding motor vehicle registration and, indeed, all other laws that are meant to ensure that things work smoothly for all and sundry in the State.