The long-awaited and proactive Driver Licence portal system begins today (February 1) nationwide. The main objective of the new driver licence portal is to ensure that before anyone gets the national driver licence, he or she must attend any of the accredited driving schools to acquire the requisite theory and practical training with result-oriented assessments at intervals. Worldwide, this is a very vital component of the Graduated Driver Licence system which the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has gotten right for the first time under the dynamic leadership of Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal.
How it works – Stage 1 of the new driver licence system involves a candidate going to any of the accredited driving schools listed in the website of the FRSC to undergo the specified theory and practical training. This training is to run for a period of 26 days of 1 hour per day. On completion of the 26 days of training and assessment, an FRSC- coded Certificate will be generated for the candidate (This will put an end to the previous racketeering of driving school certificate and licence which has made it easy for multitudes of people without any knowledge of driving to acquire the driver licence by paying additional money to the saboteurs).
Under Stage 2 of the new driver licence system, the driving school which the candidate attended will print out the FRSC-coded certificate from the driver licence portal and his or her training records for presentation to the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) who will then subject the candidate to the structured theory and practical test. Successful candidates will proceed to the Stage 3 which involves the payment of the official driver licence fee which for now stands at N6,350.00 and submit the payment details to the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency or the State Board of Internal Revenue.
Candidates that failed the VIO tests are to be referred back to accredited driving schools for further refresher training and be presented again to the VIS for the second attempt.
After the payment of the driver licence fee, the candidate will move to stage 4 which involves the Biometric Capturing by FRSC officers for the issuance of the original National Driver Licence.
It’s already global news that in 2015, Nigeria was rated the third country with the highest rate of road accidents and one of the most dangerous countries to drive.
With the uncompromised implementation of this new portal system, there will be tremendous improvement in driver education which if complemented with unbiased traffic law enforcement will drastically reduce the rate of road accidents and fatalities in Nigeria.
As the National President of the Association of Driving Instructors of Nigeria (umbrella body of Driving Schools and Driving Instructors in Nigeria), I have been receiving reports from some states that some Officials of MVAA/ State Board of Internal Revenue, FRSC and VIS are strategising to sabotage the good efforts of the Corps Marshal/Chief Executive of FRSC and his amiable Team on this result- oriented portal. The 36 State Governors, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and the Honourable Commissioners of Transport should not allow themselves to be misled by the self-centred and corrupt elements in those Agencies. Whatever argument they are putting across against the new portal now are not in the interest of the nation but for their personal pockets. To confirm this, let the Economic Crimes and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigate randomly chosen driver licence processed under the former system. You will discover cases of people who did not know how to drive, disabled people, and under-aged people who paid between N15,000 and N25,000 to these officers who either bought, cloned, forged or dubiously printed driving school certificates to process the driver licence without allowing them to go for formal training in the driving Schools. Many of these officers have corruptly enriched themselves beyond imagination through the loopholes they created in the previous driver licence processing system. Hence their resolve to cunningly kick against the successful take-off and running of this new Driver Licence Portal.
The Driving Schools, who for many years now have been wickedly short-changed by some officers of MVAA/State Board of Internal Revenue, VIO/VIS and FRSC are determined not to allow anything nor anyone to work against the successful use of this new portal. Our Association is championing the establishment of Monitoring and Evaluation Committee charged with the responsibility of identifying any act of compromise among all the stakeholders under the new Driver licence processing system and recommends such for prosecution by EFCC. The present Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is waging a commendable war against corruption in Nigeria and corruption must not be allowed to thrive in the driver licence system as well.
Nigerians, no matter the status or influence must endeavor to follow due process. We must stop looking for illegal and corrupt shortcuts, particularly on issues that have to do with the safety of lives. The only journey that starts from the top down is the journey into the grave.
Driving Schools must co-operate with the Association of Driving Instructors of Nigeria (ADIN) and FRSC to regularly improve their capacity for quality theory and practical training for Freshers or Learners as well as experienced Driver re-training.
While saying another big WELL DONE to FRSC, I implore the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive to establish a FEEDBACK LOOP MECHANISM for regular monitoring or review of the Portal to ensure there is no loophole nor any counter-productive short-coming in the operation of the new Driver Licence Portal.
The loss of irreparable lives and valuable properties which has become too common on Nigeria roads must be drastically reduced or eliminated by putting national interest above selfish of personal interest as it were. The Governments, Government Agencies, Driving Schools and all Nigerians must get more committed to the accomplishment of the 5 pillars of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety. And join hands with the new Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to ensure the success of the new Driver licence Portal and subsequently, safety on Nigeria roads.6