In terms of landmass, Lagos State is the smallest State in Nigeria, yet, it has the highest urban population which is 27.4% of the national estimate (UN-Habitat). Lagos is to the people of Nigeria, what the head is to the body of an individual.
Since his assumption of office on May 29, 2015, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has left no one in doubt about his capability and competence as a tested and trusted administrator and technocrat of repute, in the discharge of his constitutional responsibilities to the people of the State.
Like his other illustrious predecessors, Ambode has followed in the tradition of responsibility, innovative governance, responsiveness and focused leadership. Till date, he has been faithful to his electoral promises by ensuring prompt delivery of democratic dividends to the people.
In a recent media interview the Governor affirmed thus: “I usually concentrate on projects that would have the greatest social impact, ones that really touch the majority of the people. If I say my government is people driven, I should be able to choose projects that affect them and also have the greatest impact on their lives”.
It is, however, in the upgrade of basic infrastructure across the State that the Governor has really distinguished himself as a leader with a mission.Infrastructure development is critical to achieving human capital development in any society. The economic impact that infrastructure improvement has on nation building cannot be over-emphasised. The growth of any country’s economy hugely depends on the status of its infrastructure. The dearth of needed infrastructure in a given society places serious limitation on human capital development.
It is, therefore, in the realization of this that the Ambode Administration has made road construction a major part of its developmental agenda. Towards this end, construction of major roads such as Ago-palace Way, Capitol Road, Ajasa Command Road, Ejigbo Ikotun Road, Okota Road, Isolo, Metal Box Road, Ogba Daleko Road Mushin, Brown Street and Oshodi have been completed. Also, inner roads have not been neglected. For instance, the construction of 114 inner roads, two each of the 57 councils delivered in September 2016, had been applauded by the beneficiaries.
To address traffic gridlock around critical spots across the state, the state government constructed flyover bridges at Ajah and Abule-Egba. Pedestrian bridges were also constructed at Ojodu Berger in response to the yearnings of residents to enable pedestrians navigate both sides of the ever busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where some people have lost their lives in the past. A novel feature of the bridge is that it accommodates the easy movement of people with disabilities with their own wheelchair. Many described the project as a brilliant thinking out of the box, while some residents now humorously refer to the area as “Ojodu Ambode”.
Similarly, the construction of a segregated bus park at the Iyana-Oworo end of the 3rd Mainland Bridge to alleviate the suffering of the people has halted the avoidable impediment of the free flow of traffic. This is also complemented by the Alapere lay by and slip road which has drastically reduced traffic congestion at the Ketu-Alapere junction.
During the period between 2015 till date, the State government undertook a total of 342 roads rehabilitation and construction projects amounting to 365.258km of single carriage way and an approximate width of 7.5m and 5.322km length of bridges. These roads include the 114 and 181 roads on the phase 1 and 2 of the state intervention on Local Government roads. Furthermore, 125 public buildings comprising of three(3) General Hospitals, Forty-Nine (49) Public Centres, four (4) Skills Acquisition Centers, Three (3) Combined High/Magistrate Courts, Ten (\10) Fire Stations, Five (5) Police Commands, Three (3) Youth Centers, Ten (10) Residential Development, Twenty-Eight (28) Institutional Buildings, Five (5) Sport Facilities, Two (2) Elderly Centers, a Hall, a Multi-Level facility/Car park and a Multi-PurposeCenter across various Local Government areas in the state were also executed.
It is also pertinent to state that there were other projects prior to 2015 inherited by the Ambode administration that were also continued and at various levels of completion. Some of the on-going land mark projects include: Reconstruction of the Oshodi Airport Road, Pen Cinema Agege Flyover Bridge, Agric Ishawo road, Igbe-Igbogbo road and building projects such as construction of J.K Randle Center for Yoruba Culture and History Onikan, Construction of Multi Agency Building Complex Alausa, reconstruction of Onikan Stadium among others. These are iconic infrastructure projects need to be completed because of the derivable socio-economic benefits to the citizenry and enhancing the beauty of the Lagos landscape.
The completed projects have been able to impact positively on the life of residents including addressing traffic gridlock, reduce time travel and improve road connectivity within Lagos; abate flooding within Lagos, general improvement in the socio-economic activities of the state; improvement in health care service deliveries within the state as well as urbanization of rural areas within the state.
Furthermore, the State plans to undertake the construction of some strategic roads and bridges to alleviate the problem caused by traffic gridlock and open up rural areas to increase the economic activities. Among the areas listed for intervention include the construction of Opebi-Maryland Link Bridge; expansion of Ibeju Agbe-Epe Road including Bridges; construction of Ago Palace-Jakande Estate with Bridge; construction of Flyover from Agiliti-Alausa.
No doubt, Governor Ambode’s administration has excelled in the area of infrastructural renewal. Within a period of four years, nearly every area of the State has felt his Midas touch. To a large extent, the State government is firmly on track with its development plan to evolve a safe, secure and livable city.
It is expected that the incoming administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu would continue in the trajectory that is already on ground and build on the achievements the State has recorded in the last 20 years under successive progressive governments. It is this progressive continuity that has been the hallmark of governance in the State in the past 20 years. And this is what has clearly distinguished Lagos as a pace setting ‘Center of Excellence’ where investors get quality returns on their investment.
Thorpe is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Alausa, Ikeja