According to recent statistics, about 23 million people inhabit Lagos while about 86 others move into the city every hour. Due to this massive rate of urbanization, Lagos experiences severe pressure on its infrastructure. In spite of this, Lagos remains resilient; instead of being traumatized, the City-State has transited from being a symbol of disorder to a reference point in governance in the country.
Presently, the State is under the visionary leadership of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode whose administration is committed to transforming the State to the third largest economy in Africa.
Towards achieving this, the Ambode administration is creating the enabling environment that will sustain Lagos status as the commercial and financial hub of West Africa.
A key driver of this mission is massive infrastructure development in critical sectors of the State’s economy. Recently, the State Government commenced the process of awarding contracts for the construction of 181 community roads across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State.
The initiative to rehabilitate the roads within the communities was introduced in 2016 to fast-track development simultaneously with other major road projects across the State.
Through the project, a total of 114 roads were either constructed or rehabilitated, two per each of the 57 Council Areas, in 2016. It is in a bid to consolidate on the success of the initiative thus far that the State Government is increasing the number of roads to be rehabilitated or constructed from 114 to 181.
Presently, the list of concluded and on-going infrastructure development projects in the State is endless. Indeed, the tale around town now is that Lagos has become one huge construction site. From Abule-Egba to Agege, from Ikorodu to Epe, from Yaba to Ajah, from Iyana Oworo to Ojodu Berger and all across the State, visible infrastructure projects are massively on-going.
Realizing the role of stable power supply in moving the State’s economy to desired height, the Ambode administration has devised strategies to improve power supply in the State. Though power is on the exclusive list of the Federal Government, considering its centrality to the economic development and growth of the State, the State Government is justifiably desirous of intervening in the sector.
Governor Ambode recently acknowledged that the major problem of power is transmission and advocated an embedded power initiative that would allow clusters of Independent Power Projects (IPP) to run in cities. According to the Governor, the quest by the country to achieve energy security can no longer be left for the federal government alone to address. Therefore, Lagos has developed a plan to attain 24-hour power supply through the generation of 3000 megawatts of electricity by 2022. The embedded power initiative of the State Government was designed to permanently resolve power crisis in the State.
Waste management is equally receiving top attention. This is quite understandable as a 2008 report estimates that Lagos generates about 9,000 metric tons of waste daily. But a more recent report has, however, puts the waste generates daily in the state at 10,000 metric tons, almost three times higher than what the whole of Ghana generates daily. A major headache for successive administrations in the state has been how to device appropriate and efficient waste management mechanism that would enhance a cleaner, safer and healthier environment. This is why the Ambode administration is embarking on a reform in the State’s waste management system in partnership with the private sector.
Unemployment is equally being addressed in the State through diverse strategic platforms. One of such is the N25 billion Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. Governor Ambode recently presented cheques worth about N1billion to 705 beneficiaries of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (ETF) pilot scheme, charging them to utilize the funds responsibly to grow their businesses, create jobs for the unemployed youths and contribute to the growth of the Lagos economy. At the event, the Governor revealed that the ETF was established to address the challenge of unemployment as well as provide support to youths, entrepreneurs, artisans and other unemployed residents of the State.
The promotion of T.H.E.S.E (Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, Sports for Excellence) is also another platform through which the State government is empowering Lagos residents. T.H.E.S.E is an initiative conceived basically to grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State and offer wider opportunities to operatives of the sector.
To boost the promotion of entertainment, arts, culture and tourism in the State, the State government plans to construct an Art Theatre and a Cinema in Igando and also build five new amphitheatres in Ikorodu, Ikeja, Lagos Mainland, Badagry and Epe in 2017. The main objective is to give greater opportunities to youths that are creatively inclined to fulfill their dreams. Similarly, the state government is prepared to assist exceptionally resourceful talents in the state to access needed fund through the ETF.
While addressing the crowd at the 2016 One Lagos Fiesta, Governor Ambode declared that: “I want to encourage you to take opportunity of applying for the Employment Trust Fund. We have fund already established to take care of your expertise. We have earmarked over N6 billion and we intend to push N1 billion to the entertainment sector. So, it is left for all of you to bring out your best. Whatever it is that you are doing, if you can’t get a white collar job, the ETF is there for you to help promote your talent”.
When all this is added to the maiden edition of the just concluded Rasheed Gbadamosi Eko Art Expo, the upgrade of Tinubu Square, on-going plans to redevelop the National Museum among many others, the State Government great vision for the arts and creative sector is well on course.
Sports is also being promoted as the recently concluded Access Bank Lagos City Marathon attracted the presence of Athletics Federations Presidents from other countries across the world, elite athletes from 15 countries covering 4 continents and a total number of 50,000. Coming on the heel of the success of last year’s edition, the Lagos City Marathon has metamorphosed into a globally renowned event.
Alexis de Tocqueville, in his immortal classic Democracy in America (1835), insists that “building the people is more necessary than creating wealth, for the value of the latter is tied to the existence of the earlier”. No doubt, if the current investment in Lagos infrastructure renewal and economic advancement matures, Lagos will be a better place for all.