One of the most problematic obstacles to driving anywhere in Nigeria is the process of obtaining a driver’s license. Living in Lagos adds an additional layer of having to compete with one of about two million motorists that have to get the new driver’s license being mandated by the Federal Road Safety Commission. From the response I’ve got from those who have applied for this new license, it takes from three months to seven to finally lay hands on the official card. (As some consolation, however, drivers are given a temporary form, also called the permit, with which to drive until the seven months – or whatever length of time one is given – is complete). Oh, the length of time to get said card is also dependent on whom one knows, and how much one has!

It’s hard to talk about this without the inevitable comparison to other places where the highest it takes from the time one passes the road driving test to getting the official certified card is about fifteen minutes, tops! But that now out of the way, it’s important to ask what exactly is the problem with decentralization of card issuance, and government employing more (adhoc?) staff for summer jobs to take care of the backlog? And if the government can’t handle it, what is wrong with outsourcing it to a monitored private enterprise?

I have noted down a few other (less depressing) observations about discovering roads and routes on Lagos roads, but they will come with subsequent blogposts. For now, it’s enough to rail at a government, in 2013, that is still too reluctant to move into the electronic century.

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