It is no longer news that Lagos is the fastest growing mega city in the world. It is currently expanding at about five percent a year and is projected to achieve meta- city status by the year 2020. A recent study reveals that over 25,000 people, from across the world, move into Lagos on a daily basis. This is what makes Lagos a melting pot. The presence of people from diverse walks of life is partly responsible for the prosperity of Lagos. It is ironic; however, that this has also brought a huge pressure on the state as its sheer human population puts serious pressure on its infrastructure and resources.
Without a doubt, Lagos roads suffer significantly as a result of the city’s recent phenomenal growth in population. The sheer number of vehicles, of various categories, that ply Lagos roads on a daily basis is second to none in the whole of Africa. The pressure that that these vehicles daily exert on roads across the state makes them easily susceptible to wearing out before long. This is why successive governments in the state spend quite a fortune on roads rehabilitation and maintenance.
It is, however, not only the sheer size of Lagos that affects its infrastructure, the topography equally poses a major challenge to sustainable infrastructure in the state, especially roads. Many road projects are subject of massive soil replacements after series of seismological tests that has enormous cost implications for the projects. Other challenges of road maintenance in the state includes the lack of ownership of infrastructure that is, vandalization of road furniture and public utilities by indiscriminate dumping of refuse on roads and drainages, activities of roadside mechanics and carwash operators and axle overload on inner roads.
In our society, there is arguably no achievement that boosts good assessment of a government than construction and rehabilitation of roads. It is in the light of this reality that the Ambode administration has, in the last six months embarked on massive road rehabilitation and maintenance across the state. For the administration, which actually came on board in the thick of the rainy season, road rehabilitation is a necessity. In Lagos, the rainy season often has serious implications for human and vehicular movement. Since significant portions of the roads have been largely damaged by the rains, the Ambode administration came up with “Operation fix all potholes”, which is geared towards ridding all roads of potholes to enhance a hitch free vehicular movement. By defying the prolonged rainy season in its road rehabilitation’s quest, the administration has disregarded a universally held belief that road maintenance work is seldom done during the rains.
Through this process, over 300 roads have been improved across the State. These include Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Mongoro-Cement-Dopemu under bridge axis, Ijaye road, Moses Adedayo Street, Ojodu, Oba Akran Avenue, Ogba, Charity/Olayiwola/Olaniyi road network, Abule Egba, Ipakodo-Ijede road, Isaro road, Ikorodu, Ikotun-Ijegun road, Okekoto axis, Agege, Epe-Ijebu -Ode road, Odumola-Poka/College road junction axis, Ado road, Ajah, Obalende bridge descent inward NIPOST, Lekki-Epe expressway, Elemoro-Abijo axis, Billings way, Oregun, Ashabi Cole street, Alausa, Abdul Ouadri Adebiyi street, Magodo Ph II among others. This is aside major rehabilitation works that had been done on the recently commissioned Ejigbo-Ikotun road, Moshalasi-Ayobo road, ACME road among others.
Meanwhile, it is imperative to emphasize that the exercise covers and favours every Division, Senatorial district as well as Local Government Council Area in the State. This is in furtherance of the vision of Governor Ambode to operate an all inclusive government. Ambode’s idea of an all inclusive government is one in which “no one or segment of the society, irrespective of colour, race, faith, status, ability or disability is left behind”. It is, however, important to stress that the palliative works being carried out on some strategic roads across the state are not meant to provide permanent solution but temporary relief for Lagos residents pending the setting in of dry season, when real asphalt works will be applied to the depressed surface. Considering the level of work done so far on the roads, in addition to several on-going commitments such as the newly commissioned Mile 12-Ikorodu BRT lane and busses, it is expected that significant improvement will soon begin to take place in road transportation across the state.
Of late, the rate at which roads are being rehabilitated in the state has been impressive. Expectedly, this has attracted widespread commendations from far and near and has convinced the citizenry that with Ambode, Lagos is, indeed, in safe hands. One positive impact of on-going road repair across the state is employment generation. For instance, it has been estimated that over 815 jobs for both skilled and unskilled labour have been generated by the on-going road rehabilitation exercise in the state. In the same vein, some of these road projects have also increased the capacity of Lagos residents to create wealth. For instance, it has been observed that, among others, business enterprise and other socio-economic activities have significantly picked along the newly commissioned Ikotun-Egbe road as well as the new improved Ayobo-Ipaja road. This is against the backdrop of the massive infrastructural renewal that has taken along the axis.
A major driving force of the Ambode administration is poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth through infrastructure renewal and development. To sustain current gains, the state government has continued to maintain and actively create an enabling environment for both the people and corporate entities to thrive. This is why the infrastructure development programme being promoted by the administration is very vital. Benefits, strategic to the state economy, which the government will get from on-going road projects, for instance, include a strategic response that addresses the infrastructure gap occasioned by the 34-year surge in population; government’s plan for tourism; open access to the 250 million strong market on the West African sub-region; potential to create job, and improvement in property value.
Despite the relative success that have been achieved thus far in the area of road construction and rehabilitation in the state, government is not resting on its oars. New projects are being envisaged as captured in the 2016 budget. Therefore, considering the level of work done so far on our roads, in addition to several on-going commitments, it is expected that significant improvement will take place in road transportation across the state in the New Year. The implication of this is that the New Year would usher in greater prosperity for Lagos residents because it is a well acknowledged reality that improved infrastructure invariably improves the quality of life of the people.