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LAGOS AND THE BEAUTY OF CONTINUITY

Temilade Aruya

One of the hallmarks of good governance is continuity in policies, programmes and projects; especially those that are progressive and developmental. Political ideologies that are favorable to the growth and development of the people and the society are built and established on the structures of continuity as one government takes over and continues where the previous stopped. Therefore, continuity ensures effective resource management. This not only encourages development, growth and productivity, it also promotes the execution and completion of capital projects that are usually abandoned by subsequent governments who discard the ideologies of the previous government as they take up new ones. This has continued to be a source of wastage public fund is often wasted on abandoned projects. According to statistics, there are thousands of abandoned projects in Nigeria.

Continuity is not just about a particular political party being in power over a long period. Rather, it about the ability of a government to have unity of purpose, focus and clear cut direction. It is about subsequent governments operating within and upon the same ideology and political principle which are ultimately beneficial to the people.

Presently, in Nigeria, Lagos state represents a shining example of the dividends of continuity in governance as it has enjoyed and is still experiencing tremendous growth and development which make it a leading economic and industrial hub in the country.  In the current political dispensation, the foundation for Lagos’ current political and economic development was laid by the then administration of Asiwaju  Bola Ahmed Tinubu which actually set the pace and put in place the development template which subsequent governments in the state has continued to build on. The legacy of good governance enshrined in the state continues to grow as the baton of leadership and authority pass from Tinubu to Fashola and now to Ambode.

Subsequent governments have continued to work within the frame work of the Lagos Development Master-plan for a mega city since 1999.  Lagos state has since enjoyed the dividends of the master-plan while also blessed and endowed with visionary and pro active leadership. For instance, the immediate past governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), working with the master plan, consolidated on the achievements of his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as he embarked on vigorous infrastructure development projects across the state. This is evident in the light rail project which he started and which the current administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has continued to creatively improve on. This is the beauty of continuity as Lagosians are now certain that the light rail project is a reality and there is no fear of it being abandoned.

This was made possible because there is a genuine unity of purpose and agenda which breeds accountability. Past and present leaders in the state have been able to deliver on their mandates as they measure their performances against the backdrop of their unanimous vision and purpose and also gauge the pulse of the people for feedbacks on their performance through their various medium of feedbacks such as the Town Hall meeting, community interaction programmes among others.

T effectiveness of the Lagos Master-Plan dating back to 1999 is particularly reinforced through the establishment of trail blazing agencies such as the Lagos state Signage and Advertisement Agency, Lagos Waste Management Authority, Lagos state Traffic Management Authority, Bus Rapid Transport Scheme, KAI, Citizen Mediation Center, just to mention a few. Through these agencies, lots of jobs have been created for Lagosians and revenues generated for the state while also helping to advance the course of good governance.

Presently, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is diligently working and consolidating on all the achievements of his predecessors and he is setting new pace and also breaking new grounds. As at now, plans are on to construct an International Airport in Lekki Free Trade Zone as well as two Deep Seaports in the Badagry and Epe axis. This will, no doubt, improve the commercial viability of the state and engender further development.  Massive urban renewal projects are equally ongoing and the face of Lagos is fast changing with places like Ojodu Berger, Oworonshoki, Ketu, Ojota, Mile 12 and so forth being the better for it. The financial prudence of the incumbent administration in the state has helped to ensure that the state regularly meets up with its financial responsibilities across board. That all this is taking place in a recessional economy speaks volume of the great work that past and present leaders of the state have done to build a strong and economically viable state.

The state is gradually being weaned from depending or waiting on the Federal Government for financial derivation, a point that has been proven once by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 1999 when former President Obasanjo refused to release Lagos State Local Governments allocation. Through sheer administrative, financial and economic prowess, the state government was able to meet its financial responsibilities to the 20 Local Government Councils and 37 Local Council Development Areas, without any financial support from the then Federal Government.  It is noteworthy to say that the ground work and foundation for the Lagos that we now enjoy was laid at that trying time in the political history of the state, and a legacy of good governance, true leadership, exemplary service and sacrifice was established. All these are truly the beauty of continuity in a democracy.

There should be continuity in government in order to make appreciable progress. Lack of continuity is the blight of governance in Nigeria. If succeeding governments had continued with the plans and programmes of their predecessors, Nigeria would have been a better place.

As the Akinwunmi Ambode administration approaches the second year of its mandate, there is reason to believe that that no part of the state will be left untouched in its developmental efforts. From the opulence of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island to the modest communities of Epe, Ajegunle and Ijora Badia, the administration remains unwavering in its commitment to building a new Lagos.

This is what the people wanted. This is what they voted for. This is what they deserve.

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