A major symbol of good governance is steadiness in policy formulation and implementation. One of the banes of development in the country is lack of continuity in government’s policies, programmes and projects. In our clime, the abandoned project syndrome has been a serious albatross to infrastructure development, as every new government wants to embark on new projects, without paying attention to those on the ground before.
This, no doubt, is inimical to growth and development, as political ideologies that are favorable to the prosperity of the people are built and established on the structures of continuity to ensure effective management of public resources.
Continuity is not just about a particular political party being in power over a long period. Rather, it is about the ability of a government to have unity of purpose, focus and clear-cut direction. It is about subsequent governments ensuring that projects embarked upon by preceding ones are not abandoned.
Presently, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State represents a shining example of this model of continuity. One of the major promises he made, upon inauguration on May 29th, 2019, was to complete outstanding projects in the state. Till date, he has kept faith with the promise.
A few examples will suffice. In the health sector, the Sanwo-Olu administration completed and commissioned the Eti-Osa Mother and Child Centre (MCC) in its first 100 days in office. The project was initiated in 2013 as part of efforts to tackle maternal death in the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu mobilised men and resources to ensure the project saw the light of the day. Today, as they say, the rest is history, as residents along the axis have continued to enjoy the dividends of that singular effort. Currently, work has equally reached an advanced stage on the Badagry MCC, which baring all odds, is slated for commissioning this year. It needs to be stressed that the project commenced about eight years ago.
In the housing sector, a similar trend is equally noticeable. A foremost part of the Sanwo-Olu administration’s strategy in the sector is to complete all inherited housing projects within the first year of the administration’s life span.
It is important to note that many of the projects had been neglected for over four years. Some had exceeded the project life span, thereby requiring extensive modifications and variations. Suffice to say that, this plan was also to curtail the unwarranted wastage which would have resulted from continued abandonment of such housing projects.
In this category, there were 15 housing schemes comprising over 4000 home units at various locations in the state at different levels of completion. Some of the scheme sites are Igando, Igbogbo, Sangotedo, Ajara, Egan-Igando, LASU main Campus, Iba, Sangotedo, Epe, to mention a few.
It needs to be stressed that a total of 1,576 of the inherited homes have been completed which include 120 units at Courtland Luxury Villa Igbokushu and 132 units in Lekki Apartments (through the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation), 492 units in Alhaji Lateef Jakande Estate in Igando, 360 units at LagosHoms Igbogbo llB, 252units at Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme in Idale, Badagry; 132 units at Iponri Housing Scheme and 92 units at Lekki Phase 2 scheme in Eti- Osa Local Government. Many others are slated for commissioning before the end of the year.
Same strategy is being deployed in addressing the state’s unique public transportation challenge. This inspired the construction and commissioning ofthe 31 networks of roads in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA). Recall that a contract for the construction of the roads, which adds up to a total of 20.216km in length, was awarded in 2017 in two phases, but construction work was stalled shortly after, leaving the roads in deplorable condition.
In 2019, a few weeks after coming on board, the Sanwo-Olu administration moved promptly to complete the roads in order to relieve residents of the agony brought about by perennial traffic gridlock in the area.
Same goes for the 3.68-kilometer Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT corridor, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Pen Cinema Bridge, Agege and the Lagos Light Rail project among others. The Pen Cinema Bridge, especially, is slated for commissioning by the end of the year.
In the area of food security, the Imota Rice Mill, which has passed through the life span of two previous administrations, is also being given utmost attention. Governor Sanwo-Olu made a solemn pledge to complete the all-important project, located in the Ikorodu division of the state, in record time.
With the level of work done so far, the 22-hectare facility consisting a complete set of new mills, two warehouses, 16 silos with a storage capacity of 40 metric tons each, water treatment plant, effluent processing plant, staff quarters, administrative block, car park and firefighting facility amongst others, is due for commissioning.
There should be continuity in government in order to make appreciable progress. If succeeding governments had continued with the plans and programmes of their predecessors, Nigeria would have been a better place.
Governance achieves better and faster results when it is anchored on continuity. It is only then that it would be able to function as a system and not a personality driven project.
––Tayo Ogunbiyi, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Lagos.