Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lagos is working, even in a recession. The federal government has a lot to learn from Lagos State by Kelechi Deca

If you know the Alapere-Ketu end of the Oworonshoki-Ogudu-Old Toll Gate stretch of the expressway. You will discover that say seven weeks ago, there was nothing spectacular on that end. But today, a beautifully constructed 800 meters long, two lane road with awesome beside the expressway, complete with drainage, neon road signs, and street lights, has been built to take traffic away from the expressway and divert towards Alapere for those going to Mile 12,Owode and Ikorodu axis.

It took about six weeks. The workers were there day and night and worked with flood lights. That is commitment.

The fence demarcating the road from Alapere Estate has been beautifully painted in beautiful Lagos colours and coat of arm with and positive graffiti depicting the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos splashed all through.

Lagos is thinking.
Before Ogudu, exactly at Oworo, another construction is going on, and coming towards Ogudu, a new U-Turn is being constructed under the bridge to shorten commuting time for those who wish to make a U-Turn. Instead of getting all the way to Ogudu, they will now turn before the canal. And visible walls fence have been erected to ensure free flow of traffic at that spot.To forestall the build up at the bus stop which usually leads to massive traffic up to Oworo. Great initiative if you ask me.
From Ketu down to Stadium, the BRT Bus Stops are being expansively reconstructed to accommodate more buses, and ensure passengers have comfortable waiting areas. As you can bear witness, the impact of the BRT Buses in Lagos has become so huge that any day the buses fail to show up, the entire city will grind to a halt.

All over Lagos, construction work is going on, either roads are being built or resurfaced, or drainage are being constructed, or street lights erected. They are not giving any excuse that they are waiting for the rains to stop before they can start road construction. An excuse that has found a home in the eastern part of the country.The governors are perpetually waiting for the rains to stop......

Infact flying into Lagos at nights now present a pleasant picture of a city that is quite illuminated such that you can see the streets from up there. It was not like this before. Almost every major road in Lagos is now illuminated with street lamps such that you can conveniently drive from Lekki to Ikeja without your car headlamps.

Moreso, the Lagos Light Rail project is still ongoing, the erection of the heavy piers for the bridge has got to CMS, and the Chinese firm CCECC is actively on site. Looking at the snaking bridge from Iganmu down to Ijora-Olopa has added to the beauty of the Lagos skyline. Iconic scenery......

Does this mean that there is no corruption, nepotism and all the other negative isms? No. In spite of those,they are working.

They are planning for two deep seaports in Badagry and Epe axis. An international airport in Lekki Free trade zone. If Lagos is a country, it would be Africa's sixth largest economy, bigger than Ghana and Kenya. If Lagos was a country, it won't be in a recession.

According to a McKinsey Report released yesterday, massive urbanisation will lead Africa's next phase of economic growth. Innovative leaders are already planning with this in mind. Africa is poor, and poverty is an opportunity because it provides a huge headroom for growth.

No other state in Nigeria, not even the federal government is concerned about urban renewal as Lagos State. Two years ago, the State won an award for increasing its green vegetation cover by over 65%. Those who were busy asking Fashola " na flowers and trees we go chop"? do not know the health implications of growing more green canopy across the State.

What am I saying....
Lagos is already working towards weaning the State from dependence on federation allocation and oil money. Infact, a policy is already in place to reduce dependence on oil revenue from the federal government to 20% by 2018, and 10% by 2020.Lagos can afford to run without any shishi from Abuja.

How many states are thinking in this direction?
True continuity....
I support true continuity where there is unity of purpose. Starting from Tinubu in 1999 who in 2003 launched what we have today as Lagos Development Master-plan, which Fashola followed and expanded on, and now Ambode is religiously implementing. Continuity is not just having one political party in power for 16 years. Continuity is having people who buy into an idea follow it through without deviating, or trying to bring in their own.

The People's Democratic Party(PDP) was in power at the federal level from 1999 to 2015. Yet we cant call that continuity. Obasanjo came up with the NEEDS document, a development gospel that if well implemented could take Nigeria to el dorado. But what did Yar Adua do, he set the NEEDS aside, and came up with his own 7-Points Agenda. He even stopped works on the power rehabilitation, railways etc etc. When Jonathan came, he launched his own template called Transformation Agenda which re-incorporated the power road-map, and also rail infrastructure.

In essence, the same political party can be in power for 20 years, yet the full impact will be lackadaisical at most. If you doubt me, check some states that have had same political party holding sway since 1999.

Lagos is working, even in a recession. The federal government has a lot to learn from Lagos State.If you know the Alapere-Ketu end of the Oworonshoki-Ogudu-Old Toll Gate stretch of the expressway. You will discover that say seven weeks ago, there was nothing spectacular on that end. But today, a beautifully constructed 800 meters long, two lane road with awesome beside the expressway, complete with drainage, neon road signs, and street lights, has been built to take traffic away from the expressway and divert towards Alapere for those going to Mile 12,Owode and Ikorodu axis.

It took about six weeks. The workers were there day and night and worked with flood lights. That is commitment.
The fence demarcating the road from Alapere Estate has been beautifully painted in beautiful Lagos colours and coat of arm with and positive graffiti depicting the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos splashed all through.
Lagos is thinking.
Before Ogudu, exactly at Oworo, another construction is going on, and coming towards Ogudu, a new U-Turn is being constructed under the bridge to shorten commuting time for those who wish to make a U-Turn. Instead of getting all the way to Ogudu, they will now turn before the canal. And visible walls fence have been erected to ensure free flow of traffic at that spot.To forestall the build up at the bus stop which usually leads to massive traffic up to Oworo. Great initiative if you ask me.

From Ketu down to Stadium, the BRT Bus Stops are being expansively reconstructed to accommodate more buses, and ensure passengers have comfortable waiting areas. As you can bear witness, the impact of the BRT Buses in Lagos has become so huge that any day the buses fail to show up, the entire city will grind to a halt.

All over Lagos, construction work is going on, either roads are being built or resurfaced, or drainage are being constructed, or street lights erected. They are not giving any excuse that they are waiting for the rains to stop before they can start road construction. An excuse that has found a home in the eastern part of the country.The governors are perpetually waiting for the rains to stop......

In fact flying into Lagos at nights now present a pleasant picture of a city that is quite illuminated such that you can see the streets from up there. It was not like this before. Almost every major road in Lagos is now illuminated with street lamps such that you can conveniently drive from Lekki to Ikeja without your car headlamps.

Moreso, the Lagos Light Rail project is still ongoing, the erection of the heavy piers for the bridge has got to CMS, and the Chinese firm CCECC is actively on site. Looking at the snaking bridge from Iganmu down to Ijora-Olopa has added to the beauty of the Lagos skyline. Iconic scenery......

Does this mean that there is no corruption, nepotism and all the other negative isms? No. In spite of those,they are working.

They are planning for two deep seaports in Badagry and Epe axis. An international airport in Lekki Free trade zone. If Lagos is a country, it would be Africa's sixth largest economy, bigger than Ghana and Kenya. If Lagos was a country, it won't be in a recession.

According to a McKinsey Report released yesterday, massive urbanisation will lead Africa's next phase of economic growth. Innovative leaders are already planning with this in mind. Africa is poor, and poverty is an opportunity because it provides a huge headroom for growth.

No other state in Nigeria, not even the federal government is concerned about urban renewal as Lagos State. Two years ago, the State won an award for increasing its green vegetation cover by over 65%. Those who were busy asking Fashola " na flowers and trees we go chop"? do not know the health implications of growing more green canopy across the State.

What am I saying....
Lagos is already working towards weaning the State from dependence on federation allocation and oil money. Infact, a policy is already in place to reduce dependence on oil revenue from the federal government to 20% by 2018, and 10% by 2020.Lagos can afford to run without any shishi from Abuja.

How many states are thinking in this direction?
True continuity....
I support true continuity where there is unity of purpose. Starting from Tinubu in 1999 who in 2003 launched what we have today as Lagos Development Master-plan, which Fashola followed and expanded on, and now Ambode is religiously implementing. Continuity is not just having one political party in power for 16 years. Continuity is having people who buy into an idea follow it through without deviating, or trying to bring in their own.

The People's Democratic Party(PDP) was in power at the federal level from 1999 to 2015. Yet we cant call that continuity. Obasanjo came up with the NEEDS document, a development gospel that if well implemented could take Nigeria to el dorado. But what did Yar Adua do, he set the NEEDS aside, and came up with his own 7-Points Agenda. He even stopped works on the power rehabilitation, railways etc etc. When Jonathan came, he launched his own template called Transformation Agenda which re-incorporated the power road-map, and also rail infrastructure.

In essence, the same political party can be in power for 20 years, yet the full impact will be lackadaisical at most. If you doubt me, check some states that have had same political party holding sway since 1999.

Lagos is working, even in a recession. The federal government has a lot to learn from Lagos State.

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