NURTW: Up National! Progress! – Josh Journal
The NURTW is the National Union of Road and Transport Workers.
There is a lengthy description of the purpose of the union somewhere online, but the major issue for most Lagosians is the activities of the ones we see on the road daily.
Workers of the NURTW are supposed to keep parks and bus stops organized. Controlling the inflow and outflow of operating buses from these centers.
They are also supposed to help with directing traffic.
All of these are meant to ease traffic flow by ensuring commercial buses don’t stop indiscriminately and start the build-up of traffic jams.
In some places in Lagos, this is always effective. Elsewhere, it is sometimes effective. But in most places in Lagos, they are hardly ever effective.
The NURTW also has some of its workers whose duties it is to collect daily dues from drivers. Unfortunately, they are not as organized with this as they could be.
The effect of this is that these guys sometimes become the cause of traffic logjam.
Most Lagosians are displeased and tired of the NURTW. And I am one of such.
Honestly, we wouldn’t care about them if we didn’t have to see them this much. There is also the fact that their workers have gained notoriety for instigating and engaging in violence.
The ease with which they exchange blows with bus conductors, collectively beat down drivers, or hold up every other vehicle on the highway because one refused to pay his dues, is one nobody is pleased with.
As a matter of fact, there have been persistent calls for the dissolution of the NURTW. Or at least, pulling them off the roads.
The uniform of the NURTW is white and green, just like the Nigerian flag.
Until the recent iteration of the Nigerian football jersey, this was probably the best use of our national colors I had seen.
Because of the image and memory associated with the NURTW though, their uniform isn’t one most people associate with beauty or aesthetics.
There is also the fact that many of them use to look dirty, disheveled, and unkempt.
I must confess though, each time I see a member of the NURTW in uniform, but is tucked in, it looks ridiculously beautiful.
Odd as this may sound, their uniform is actually pretty.
I can remember seeing one of them at my bus stop one morning. His uniform was sparkling clean. The white was as white as white can be. The green was royally neat too.
He had his uniform tucked in and buttoned up.
With the way the uniform sat on him, not only had he ironed it, but there is a great possibility he had starched it too.
All this man was lacking was a tie and the lapel pin of any bank. He would easily have passed off for an accountant.
As someone who hardly tucks in his shirts, seeing these well-put-together NURTW staff often tempt me to do the same. I at those moments wonder what I’ll look like tucked in and in shoes.
Then I laugh at myself. My style of dressing is way too comfortable. Maybe in the future though.
The NURTW is a great depiction of Nigeria. Theoretically, it is necessary and could be great. But in practice, due to mismanagement and lack of planning, it is a mess.
Most times, it is frustrating, but on the occasion where someone cares about it, it is admirable.
Next time you are in Lagos traffic, look out for the NURTW guy who is looking dapper.
It might make you see a little beauty in Nigeria. It might also bring you to the realization that with a little effort, we as individuals could be exponentially better.