The governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Lagos State, Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse at the weekend promised to build the Fourth Mainland Bridge and complete the light rail project if elected the governor of the state next year.
Pearse said when completed, the two projects would ease traffic congestion in the state while promising to complete the eastern route that the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode started.
He unveiled the plan during an interview with THISDAY, noting that he had an ambitious plan to construct an alternative corridor route from eastern corridor to western part of the state to decongest Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
He lamented that everybody “is now passing through Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to the west. We will develop our waterways because Lagos is an island. We cannot continue to depend on road alone to move our people from one part to the other.
“The state’s first civilian governor, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande started the water transportation system. But as soon as some other governors came in, they messed it up.”
“I will renew water transportation so that we can move around Ikorodu and Badagry by water. If there is an emergency, you can move by water. The major problem in Lagos is congestion. If you want to build an economy, you improve transportation.”
He SAID the gridlock on the state’s roads “is destroying economy. Imagine someone who is ill being trapped in a gridlock. It happened to someone I knew who died in a car after spending three hours in the traffic and this happens all the time.
“The first thing I will do is to build drainage all over the state so that when rain falls, the water will flow into the canal, which will run into the river. Water on the roads damages the roads and create problem of traffic.”
He said a megacity like Lagos could not work if it did not have the 21st Century transportation system and that only the light rail could do this.
According to him, let me give some statistics about rail transportation. If you use rail, you would save 70 percent of movement of people. South Africa uses 20 percent rail, while Nigeria uses 2 percent. This is how we lose income, damage our economy, and damage life because people cannot move fast.”
He proposed that the Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) “should be empowered. The collection and disposal of garbage can be done at the local level, while the treatment and the management can be done by a company at another level.”
If elected the governor of the state, Pearse promised not “to set up his own private company with the intention of getting contracts from the state government. This is why nothing is being done now. That is why we are not getting results.”
On the extent of the popularity of his party in the state, Pearse said the SDP was in 155 out of the 245 wards in Lagos and that they were able to manage their primaries without any acrimony.
He said, “If I say I want to mobilise 1,000 people in any local government now it would be done because we are well structured, we had ward congresses between end of July and early August. We had local governments and state congresses. The only local government where we are weak right now is Epe.
“We are very strong in other local governments. Our structures are there. I am being invited everywhere. I have visited radio and television stations. I have featured in many newspapers. The SDP is the oldest party among all the parties in Nigeria now.
“The last democratic elected president in Nigeria before 1999 came from the SDP and this is the party Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu went through to become a senator in 1992. This is a strong party, the military government of General Sanni Abacha disrupted the whole thing before we got back to democracy in 1999.”