Wale Adeyemo writes that Lagos is committed to making the state livable
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu took over the reins of power at a critical time when there was near collapse of public infrastructure in Lagos State. He was faced with a similar daunting task Bola Tinubu encountered when he took over from military Governor Buba Marwa in 1999. The city reeked of filth and heaps of refuse.
Governor Sanwo-Olu’s predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode had departed from the trajectory of excellence public service delivery by discarding the master plan and working templates. Sanwo-Olu inherited a state at a throe of collapse. Massive potholes everywhere and motorists had to choose lesser gullies thereby causing unprecedented gridlock across the state. It was a total lockdown!
Unfazed by the daunting challenges, Sanwo-Olu rolled out his ambitious THEME Agenda, an acronym for Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century state; Entertainment and Tourism; Security and Governance.
The governor remobilized Lagos Public Works Corporation which has been on sabbatical under the immediate past government. The corporation hit the roads, patching and ameliorating discomfort on Lagos roads.
The public works’ men worked round the clock on scheduled basis. The tension and public outcry subsided when Lagosians noticed that the governor was walking his talks.
Aside fixing collapsed portions of the roads, the governor was decisive on irate drivers who often throw caution to the winds when driving. Executive Order came in to whip lawless motorists to order. Those who drive one way risk forfeiture of their vehicles to the state government.
On the collateral setbacks caused by the incompetent Visionscape, Sanwo-Olu re-empowered Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA and reinstated sacked waste managers popularly known as PSP and the heaps of refuse gradually disappeared from highways and neigbourhoods. Sanwo-Olu’s administration creatively deployed massive movable LAWMA detachable compactors at designated points across the state pending when the PSP will effectively service allotted wards.
The Sanwo-Olu administration is obviously clear on his vision for Lagos. With the passage of over N1trillon budget for 2020 and fast assent of the governor before the close of last year signaled readiness to turn things around in the new year. Therefore, Mr Governor’s new year message re-ignited hope amongst the citizenry.
From the message, Sanwo-Olu was pragmatic about his plans. He admitted to the fact that resources of the state are not limitless and was truthful enough to concede that it was impossible for all the infrastructure challenges to be solved simultaneously. But he assured that development train will berth at every community in Lagos.
In the same manner, the governor discarded elitist toga and blended with the people who saddled him with mandate to know their topmost, expedient need. He identified transportation as a common need that cut across all strata of Lagos. He responded accordingly by redesigning roundabouts in the upscale Lekki axis to ease vehicular movement in the area. Massive roundabout at popular Allen in Ikeja will also be pruned; ditto for other junctions that constitute bottlenecks.
More alternative routes are being mulled. The Agric/ Ishawo road in Ikorodu will link Arepo enroute Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. High Tech Construction is busy in the axis to make it a reality. When completed, the road will ease vehicle traffic on Ikorodu Road as dozens of Ikorodu residents and other motorists heading outside Lagos can make use of Agric/Ishawo Road to link Ibadan or Sagamu.
The renewed vigour of Sanwo-Olu administration to ensure that the much-touted 4th Mainland Bridge materialize is being commended by Lagosians. Likewise, in the Mile 12 axis, the government is considering linking Agiliti with Isheri /Berger to ease logjam at Mile 12, Kosofe, Ketu enroute Ojota.
The latent potential of waterway as a critical transport option is also on the card. Aside from incentivizing investment in the sector as seen in the pact with Uber few months back, Lagos Ferry has also taken up the challenge to move thousands of Lagosians via waterways daily. LagFerry had begun operations with deployment of fleet of modern boats.
Adiyan Water Works which was abandoned for years was revisited last year. When completed, it will address the water shortage in the city and also create more jobs for teeming Lagosians. Many other abandoned projects are getting similar attention. The Ilubinrin Housing Scheme which was halted by the preceding administration had been identified for completion.
In a mega city themed on smart city, human capital development is key in building and sustaining a virile mega smart city. Therefore, the huge investment in education and health was a deft move. The Sanwo-Olu government has been a great pillar of support to bourgeoning technology hubs and incubation centres springing up across the state. There is a linkage between town and gown following the mentoring and recommendation of suitable ideas and projects by scholars at the prestigious University of Lagos.
He said, “Fellow Lagosians, in the area of technology, we are determined to make Lagos a city fit for the 21st century, and a globally recognized hub for technology and innovation. This we are doing through our Smart City Initiative, and the generous funding we are making available to support innovation by young Lagosians”.
Under Sanwo-Olu’s watch, teachers are getting huge reward here on earth. He recently approved that teachers and other eligible government workers should be paid arrears of the minimum wage of N35,000. “A similar commitment to reform is manifesting in the education and technology sectors. Within our public school system, we are hiring new teachers, boosting the capacity of existing ones, and implementing a school rehabilitation programme that started with fixing infrastructure in 300 public schools. Provision has been made for all of these in our 2020 Budget”, the governor added in his New Year message.
Lagosians can only hope for the best in 2020 under Sanwo-Olu. From education to entertainment and infrastructure, every sector will get their due under his government. Hopes are high and he knows it.