Is Lagos Still Working?

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Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria

‘Lagos Is Working, Fashola Is Working’. This Slogan Was Central To The Campaign For Second Term Bid Of The Governor Of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (San). Indeed, To Reinforce The Firm Belief Of Lagosians In The Slogan, Fashola Was Given An Overwhelming Mandate Of A Record 1.5 Million Votes To Return To Office And Continue His Good Works. This, Of Course, Is Not Surprising As The First Term In Office Of The Governor Brought About Commendable Infrastructural Renewal Effort, Visionary Leadership, Human Capital Development, Improved Security, Environmental Regeneration, Among Numerous Others. Simply Put, Lagos Was Given A New Lease Of Life During Fashola’s First Term In Office Such That It Became A Reference Point In The Country And Indeed The Continent Of Africa. This, No Doubt, Explains The Enthusiasm With Which Lagosians, And Indeed, All Nigerians Look Forward To The Governor’s Second Term In Office.

However, There Have Been Doubts In Several Quarters With Regards To The Pace Of Work Being Done By The Governor Since He Began The Journey Into His Second Tenure In Office. These Days, It Is Not Unusual To Hear Cynics Saying Lagos Has Stopped Working. But, Is It Really True That Fashola, The ‘Workaholic Governor’, Has Slowed Down? Is It True That Lagos Has Stopped Working? Is It Really Fair To Say Fashola Has Gone To Sleep? Can It Be Really Substantiated That The Lagos Transformation Agenda Has Nosedived? One Thing That I Know That Is Absolutely True Is That Lagos Is Facing Difficult Challenges But That Is Equally True Of Every Major City Of The World. Recently London Had To Grapple With A Riot That Nearly Made A Mess Of Its Famous Security System. In The Same Vein, Renowned Cities Of Australia, Europe, Asia And America Have Had To Battle With Flooding Disasters Of Varying Degree In Recent Time. Presently, Many Cities In Italy And Greece Are Experiencing Tough Economic Conditions, Occasioned By The Crippling Debt Crisis In Both Countries. But It Is Heartwarming To Note That Lagos Is Not Only Coping With Its Challenges, It Is Equally Putting Up Concerted Efforts To Surmount Them And Move On. It Is Not Every City Of The World That Survives Over Seventeen Hours Torrential Rain As We Had In Lagos On July10 And Still Has Its Banks, Industries And Other Institutions Open For Business The Following Day.

Some Major Areas Of Development On Which Lagos State Government Has Focused Its Attention On Since The Beginning Of The Second Tenure Include Law And Order, Health (With Particular Emphasis On Maternal And Childcare), Power Generation, Security, Creation Of Sustainable Enabling Environment For Small And Medium-Scale Enterprises (Smes) , Housing Programme, And Education Among Others. The Power And Mineral Resources, Programme Is Indeed A Very Vital One That The Administration Holds Very Dear For Obvious Reasons. The Programme, Which Is Being Coordinated By The Newly Established Ministry Of Energy And Water Resources, Represents A Strategic Initiative Through Which The State Government Plans To Fully Attend To The Power Needs Of Residents And Explore The Hydrocarbon, Oil And Gas Potential Of The State. The Government, In Its Resolute Posture, Has Started Powering Some Parts Of The State Through Ipp Projects. The Island Power Project, For Instance, Has Been Delivering 24 Hours Uninterrupted Supply Of Electricity To Some Public Institutions Located In Central Lagos Such As The Island Maternity, Lagos General Hospital, And The Lagos High Court In A Bid To Increase Their Efficiency And Bring Down Their Operational Cost. What This Means In Essence Is That When Some Parts Of The State Are On Ipp, Whatever The State Is Getting From The National Grid Would Be Sufficient For Other Parts. Presently, The Government Has Completed The Power Audit For The Shomolu Area, Regarded As The Headquarters Of The Printing Business In Nigeria. Equally, Government Has Completed The Power Audit For The Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa And Matori Industrial Estate. The Project Would Reduce By 46 Percent What The State Spends On Diesel Monthly As Well As Reduce Poverty, As Many, Who Were Into Small- And Medium-Scale Businesses, Would Be Able To Do Their Jobs.

In A Bid To Address The Housing Deficits Confronting The State, The State Government In September, 2011 Formally Handed Over 362 Housing Units At The Odoragushi Housing Estate In Epe. In Order To Ensure That The Less Privileged Could Also Access Decent Accommodation, Provision Was Deliberately Made For Room And Parlour And One Bedroom Units In The Estate. Similarly, The Government Recently Handed Over Another 80 Units Of 8-In-1 Three Bedroom Flats At The Olaitan Mustapha Housing Estate, Ojokoro 11 In The Ijaiye-Ojokoro Local Council Development Area. The Handover Of The Units, Made Up Of 42 Units And 38 Units N Came Barely Two Weeks After The Governor Handed Over The First 362 Units Of One And Two Bedroom Flats At Odorangushin In Epe As Part Of The Series To Form The Pool Of Houses To Kick Start The Lagos Home Ownership Scheme (Lagos Homs) Due To Be Launched Soon. Under The Scheme, Beneficiaries Are To Pay 30% Of The Cost And Pay The Balance Spread Over Ten To Fifteen Years. In The Build Up To The Formal Launch Of The Scheme, The State Government Has Launched A Website To Provide Information Platform That Will Ensure Its Transparency And Competitiveness.

It Is Equally Gratifying To Note That The Redevelopment Of The Badagry Expressway Into A World Class Highway To Include Ten Lanes, Light Rail, Brt Lane, Among Others Has Continued To Record Considerable Progress. Indeed, Fashola Was One Of The Governors In The Country To Quickly Disregard The Celebrations That Accompanied Victory At The April Poll To Move On To More Useful Things. It Is On Record That, After The Election, The Governor Immediately Traveled To Canada In Continuation Of His Mission To Ensure That The Badagry Light Rail Project Becomes A Reality. On His Return From Canada, He Commissioned The Lagos Island 10 Megawatts Independent Power Project That Guarantees 24 Hours Un-Interrupted Power Supply To Some Public Institutions And Street Light In 20 Streets On The Island. In Same Vein, The Governor Recently Commissioned The Falomo On Ramp Bridge Which Has Been In Helping In No Small Measure To Reduce Traffic Pressure In The Area. It Is Also Important To Reveal That The Coaches To Be Used For The Badagry Light Rail Project Are Already Here In Lagos. There Is Hardly A Sector In The State That Has Not Been Touched By The State Government In The Last Six Months In Its Bid To Give Lagosians Better Standard Of Living. The Government’s Various Health Missions Have Continued To Attend To The Health Needs Of People Across The State, Operators Of The Informal Sector Are Being Given New Lease Of Life, More Rural Projects Are Being Commissioned, To Mention Just A Few.

Recently, The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, While Delivering A Lecture On “Aid, Trade And Democracy” At The Pan African University, Ajah, Lagos State,

Declared That Fashola Had Demonstrated That True Democracy And Accountable Leadership Was Possible In The African Continent, Adding That His Visit Had Made It Possible To Give A Personal Testimony About How Lagos Is Working Under Fashola. Equally, Minister Of The Federal Capital Territory (Fct), Abuja, Senator Bala Mohammed, And His Team, Recently Visited Lagos To Find Out Why Lagos Is Working. Interestingly, According To The Minister, It Was President Goodluck Jonathan That Instructed Ministers ‘ To Go, Understudy And Learn The Art Of Good Leadership And Governance From Governor Fashola Of Lagos’.

On A Final Note, However, It Is Important To Empahasise That Lagos Is A Part Of A Larger Polity Called Nigeria. For Lagos To Continue To Be A Work In Progress, Nigeria As A Country Must Equally Be Seen To Be Moving Towards The Right Direction. Imagine A Nigeria With 24 Hours Of Un-Interrupted Power Supply! It Is No Longer News That There Is So Much Pressure On Lagos Because Of Its Status As The Commercial Melting Point Of The Country. The State Spends More On Infrastructural Upgrading And Provision Of Other Basic Life Necessities Than Any State In The Country. In Order For The Pressure On The State To Be Reduced, It Is Important That Governments Across The Country Embrace Good And Creative Governance. It Will Also Not Be Out Of Place If The State Is Given A Better Deal In The Revenue Sharing Formula In The Country. The Need To Accord A Special Status For Lagos Is A Non-Political Project. There Is Hardly Any Nigerian That Doesn’t Have A Stake In Lagos. An Investment In Lagos Is, Therefore, A Necessary Blueprint For The Development Of The Country Since Lagos Remains The Window Through Which The World Sees Nigeria.

•Lateef Ibirogba is the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State.

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