Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu took off on a high note May 29 as one of those with a clear articulation of direction on inauguration at the Tafawa Balewa Square. Lagos State put together a beautiful display as expected of the city-state of fun and excellence.
Sanwo-Olu committed to a “Greater Lagos” that the government would achieve through six pillars of development. The components are T-H-E-M-E-S and would form the basis for assessing the governor in the next four years. THEMES represent Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century state; Security and Governance.
“Lagos must again rise and help lead this nation to fuller progress and to a closer realisation of the greatness that exists within all Nigerians”, Sanwo-Olu charged.
The governor has since charged into action in various fronts, most notably the challenge of traffic management and transportation.
Managing the challenge of transportation takes prime place in THEMES deservedly. Traffic Management and Transportation would challenge the policy and execution capacity of the new Lagos State Government. The broad outline did not offer any specifics but Sanwo-Olu and his deputy JideHamzat should be looking at a few strategic areas. The Lagos-Badagry Expressway currently provides nightmares for residents in that axis, from Mile 12 down to Badagry.
The Governor has ordered and must ensure implementation of the palliative measures to enable movement on the roads. Within the first 100 days, citizens should see proof of work on the Blue Line railway project suspended for so long.
There is also the matter of the evolving threat of the Lekki-Epe expressway. Forty years after Lateef Kayode Jakande built the broadway linking Lekki to Epe, it remains the single access way to that axis. Except that in the period, the area has become integral to the Lagos of today and tomorrow. It houses a Free Trade Zone, one of the largest refineries in the world and the proposed second Lagos airport. More fundamentally, it has become home to the New Lagos, housing Lagosians with no fewer than 80 housing estates.
The first order of duty in that axis is to extend the expansion of the road that stopped at Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate junction. Expand it to Epe. More significantly, commence the coastal road that has remained aspirational for Lagos State Governments. Implementation should happen now to avoid terrible gridlock on that axis from 2020 when the refinery and the various projects at the Free Trade Zone take off. From Eleko Junction to the FTZ deserves a dual carriageway as an immediate measure.
The other urgent and important one is to ensure completion of various road infrastructure projects on the Mainland, notably the Pen Cinema Agege bridge and its roads. Many inner city roads and, in particular, arterial roads beg for urgent attention as they would unclog the bottlenecks. An example is a stretch from CMS through the Yacht Club up to Bonny Camp. It causes so much traffic. Fill the craters and tar.
Lagosians would certainly appreciate significant progress on health and the environment. A cleaner Lagos should be the mantra at Alausa as the Government works out how to restore a structure for cleaning the city-state truncated earlier by the misdirected effort of one contractor replacing the many players of the PPP scheme.
Lagos is one megacity with more than 70 per cent of residents lacking pipe-borne water. Provision of pipe borne water in Lagos should represent for LASG the journey of a thousand miles. Sanwo-Olu “must set forth at dawn” by taking immediate steps at visioning and implementation.
Integration of technology into education as the Governor outlined is the way to go in Lagos. It should commence at primary education levels.
Lagos of the 21st Century should see the implementation of various approved projects for Smart City concepts in the state. It is heartening that the governor highlighted the critical role of power and sustainable urban settlements. Lagos should run on independent power already and lead the drive for the integration of green or alternative sources to our energy mix. Solar, hydro, and conversion of the enormous waste generated in Lagos into power should be on the cards.
Sanwo-Olu assured that he would be Governor, friend, brother, neighbour and servant to the citizens of Lagos State.
Lagosians would watch with anticipation for the fulfilment of the Sanwo-Olu promise of transparency in the management of Lagos State finances. Sanwo-Olu stated courageously, “To this end, my administration will ensure that we walk the talk as far as transparency, the rule of law and fiscal discipline are concerned”. The buzz is because Lagos State is notorious for the opacity of its finances with no figures available to the citizens for various infrastructure projects.
Sanwo-Olu promises to change all that. Godspeed and courage to the new team in Nigeria’s most visible state. “We must be prudent yet not afraid to act to ensure that this large population enjoys the economic prosperity and social security that our development agenda has to offer”, Sanwo-Olu assured.