Why No State Can Catch Up with Lagos Economically

Why No State Can Catch Up with Lagos Economically

Gbenga Adeoye

I read a book in 2022 with the title “Success is not an Accident.” In deed the author has a clear understanding of the impact of deliberate decision. One of the reasons I like one young man I am providing mentorship for is that his words of prayer reads every time as follows: “God will intentionally bless you sir.” The word that attracted me most in this prayer is that word “intentionally”.

Lagos is a state that has been so deliberate and intentional in what they do. The development in Lagos is not an accident.  Recently I got an SMS in Lagos stating that I have been penalised for driving with expired vehicle license and the vehicle papers was actually renewed that same day after it was brought from a workshop where repairs and upgrade were carried out.

“How do they get to know this?” This was the first question I asked. Through traffic camera probably at Ikoyi was the answer from a brother who understand auto database management. Of course, the only error was that the system has time lag between the renewal of papers and the database to which camera pictures were synchronised. They understand that they may not be right at all times and so there is a room for you to contest or object to the bill if you can prove the basis was wrong, and they will delete the fine.

Payment option was also there with card. I objected because my papers were renewed that same day when the car were brought out of workshop. What a wonderful state moving towards US and UK in billing and traffic offence management. Beyond this experience, there are two major factors and one of the factors had 13 other reasons why no other state in Nigeria can catch up with Lagos State.

The fact that Lagos was a former capital of Nigeria is an advantage that will continue to work for the state. That has made it the commercial capital of Nigeria to the extent that even when the capital was moved to Abuja, Lagos remains a centre of Excellence.

Apapa Sea port and the Airport at Ikeja could be regarded as part of key projects that put Lagos at an advantage, which is as a result of being the capital of Nigeria as at when most of such projects were developed. Regardless of the “capital advantage” of Lagos, there are deliberate and intentional projects that set Lagos apart. Since the time of Baba Jakande, Lagos have been so deliberate in its development programmes.

If we take it from 1999, here are the list of deliberate projects whether completed, ongoing or those about to start. Join me as we take a look at those projects.

Lekki Free Trade Zone: Most manufacturing aimed at solving our import dependence problem are at Lekki Free Trade Zone.No State in Nigeria can stand shoulder to shoulder with Lagos on this.

Lekki Deep Sea Port: One major asset that any nation require for international business is sea but sea can only be useful if the port is well-developed. Newly completed Lekki Deep Sea Port is a Lagos state idea and that is one key project that is unique in Africa.

Dangote Refinery: If anyone is in doubt about the impact of Dangote Refinery in Nigeria, the person just needs to wait a little and see how Nigeria will stop importation of finished petroleum products. In addition to that, Fuel Scarcity and heavy demand for Forex to import fuel will end with Dangote Refinery.

Again, kudos to Lagos. Even though I am Jealous of Lagos because I was expecting that project at Olokola in Ogun State but Lagos and Ogun are two states difficult to separate and as such we rejoice with Lagos in South-west. It is our collective gain and glory.

Ikoyi Link Bridge and Lekki Epe Expressway: These two projects are wonderful. Those who link Ikoyi from Admiralty Way in Lekki Phase 1 understands better. The kind of traffic people experience before that bridge was hell. When the road from Victoria Island is fully completed to Epe, then driving around Lagos Island will be as easy as eating Pap and Bean Cake.

Lekki Airport: There is no doubt about the fact that the population of people in Lagos require more than one Airport. The Economic impact is so huge that it will be difficult to project the positive impact now. No State in Nigeria can match that as well.

The new Blue Rail Line: Very soon, moving around Lagos will become so easy as most cars will be off the road, once traffic is reduced, productivity will increase. Rail Transportation is one thing that set London apart from any city in the world. China is doing all that can be done to have rail lines and stations that beat the western designs.

The Tax Collection System: The Lagos Tax System is Super. If you pay tax in any bank in Lagos, they will issue you the receipt instantly. In some states in Nigeria, you may not get receipt for one month. In Lagos, there are some dedicated staff that calls taxpayers and they are so pleasant on the phone while reminding tax payers to pay within a particular time. The system is really working in Lagos. Other state should go and learn from Lagos.

The BRT Lanes and Buses: This is one project that is unique and it will complement the metro rail. No state can match it.

Lagos Judicial System: Lagos has Fast Track Courts, Small Claims Courts and a lot of uncommon innovations in the administration of Justice in Lagos State. God bless Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for his role when he was Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice but in addition, kudos to those who came after him and continue to improve on those foundations. The system is different.

Lagos can also be regarded as The Capital of Commercial Legal Practice. Most of the law firms that are of international standard are located in Lagos. Even Lagos Campus of Nigerian Law School is said to be the most tedious in Nigeria for students. I can testify to that having passed through that Campus, but for me, I will say it is positively tedious.

Entertainment and Social Gatherings: There is no state in Nigeria that has the kind of Social life like Lagos, we call it Eko for Show, may be because Ijebu and Egba people are plenty in Lagos, because when it comes to social gathering in Nigeria, you cannot beat the Egbas and the Ijebus. In fact may be Egbas and Ijebus can say in Yoruba that” Awa laleko”, meaning, we own Lagos. There is no need to prove this. It is just a mere expression of demography or their percentage in Lagos Social gatherings.

Where in Nigeria can you find the kind of men at Ikoyi Club, Metropolitan club, Polo Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, Boat Club and so on? No State has such. Lagos is unique. Everyone wants to be in Lagos.

One interesting thing is that members of these clubs in Lagos are drawn from the entire country and not necessarily Lagosians by birth. The network of these men and women is beyond normal.

Even young people for their NYSC want to be in Lagos. Many still want to live in Lagos despite the traffic. There is something so special about that Lagos.

Churches and Church Leaders are more in Lagos: Even though a lot of people argued that churches should have been factories, but God’s factor in history have been instrumental to the greatness of Israel and some other countries founded on the foundation of righteousness. America started like that till today, you still hear “God bless America.”

RCCG model parishes in Lagos are unique places of worship, House on the Rock, Winners Chapel, CMS Church, Ikoyi Baptist, Methodist, Foursquare, MFM, Trinity Church in VI, Deeper life, Citadel formerly Latter Rain, Apostolic Church, Covenant Christian Centre, Day Star Christian Centre, The Shepherds Flock among many others are wonderful places of worship.

The fact that Pastor Kumuyi and Pastor Adeboye (who are exceptionally Holy men God) are touching the soil of Lagos regularly is like Elisha & Elijah dwelling in a given land. Ogun State shares in the unique blessings of having RCCG camp, MFM, Canaan Land and Deeper life Camp too but more importantly having the first Church in Nigeria.; (The St. Peters Cathedral in our own Ake @ Abeokuta) is not in vain. Back to Lagos, the Church Community in Lagos is beyond human imagination. You need to just wors≠hip in these churches, and you will know that Lagos must be blessed.

Eko Atlantic City in VI: US has laid the foundation of their Embassy which has the office and residence of staff. The project is one unique one that attracted investors from all over the world. No such anywhere in Nigeria.

The giant of it all is the 4th Mainland Bridge which has a four years completion time. The kind of business impact along that bridge is beyond explanations and imagination. The bridge will traverse Abraham Adesanya to Badore and then on the lagoon to Ikorodu, and it will burst out on Lagos Ibadan Expressway way around sparklight. This is more than a Miracle because it means that anyone going to Lekki from Abeokuta or Sagamu have no business to drive to Berger and Alapere nor Iyana Oworo but just join the 4th Mainland Bridge from the express.

The impact on real estate for offices, residential, and cottage industries will be phenomenal. Congratulations to Lagos State and Congratulations to South West and Nigeria.

If any state want development, they should attend a School in Lagos to learn strategic development and I am recommending to Lagos Business School to start an Executive MBA Programme titled:  Lagos Strategic Development Model – (MBA-LSDM).

Practical nexus between development, increase in IGR and those projects will show clearly why no state in Nigeria can catch up with Lagos. Some will even say, Lagos can stand as a country, and they may not be wrong.

Dr. Adeoye is a Lawyer and a Chartered Accountant. He believes that National and Economic Development is a function of the quality of people in leadership. He can be reached via e-mail on dga@gbengaadeoye.com

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