Alabi Olamide Victor
There is no denying the fact that Continuity Managers remain a sin qua non in every movie or music production. Just as it is in movie production, continuity in governance, especially when good and solid foundation is already laid as a template, makes governance seamless for successive administrations, regardless of political leaning or affiliation.
While most States in Nigeria may not be rated high in this regard, especially when it comes to continuing some developmental projects initiated by previous administrations, successive administrations in Lagos State since 1999 have followed a progressive antecedent which has, no doubt, greatly impacted on governance in the State.
Fortunately, since 1999, Lagos State has had the unique privilege of being governed by leaders that share similar progressive inclinations. These leaders have demonstrated rare commitment to the ideals of progressive politics.
Unlike the usual practice in the nation’s political space where every new dispensation comes up with its own signature projects mainly to downplay the achievements of its predecessors and embark on needless ego trip, successive administrations in Lagos State have kept faith with the progressive continuity model.
In Lagos State, it is noteworthy to emphasize that each administration, since 1999, has significantly worked hard towards sustaining and adding value to the legacies of preceding administrations. Cheerfully, this trend has even become more pronounced under the current administration of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo Olu.
It is essential to stress that the Governor clearly maintained that the focus of the State’s 2019 budget would be on the completion of all on-going and abandoned projects in the State. This is quite reassuring as it shows him as a leader who is more concerned in the well-being of the people than making lousy political gains.
Within a few weeks in office, Governor Sanwo-Olu embarked on tour of most of the on-going and neglected projects in the State for an on the spot assessment. A major objective of this is to understand the scope of work done so far to enable him evaluate what remains to be done. This is to aid future planning, especially as it relates to the swift completion of all the projects.
In the course of his project inspection tour, the Governor visited the popular Pen-Cinema in Agege to assess the level of work done on the construction of the Pen-Cinema Bridge. The Pen Cinema Flyover project entails the construction of Reinforced Concrete Bridge over Pen- Cinema junction and Agunbiade/Old Abeokuta road junction respectively with a spur linking Old Abeokuta road to the elevated deck and rehabilitation of adjoining roads.
The adjoining Roads will be improved upon to act as effective detour during construction of the flyover. The project is complemented by traffic signalization of the intersections. When completed, Pen Cinema flyover will help reduce the traffic grid lock along the axis.
The project was conceived to decongest the perennial traffic gridlock along the area and also ease commuting around and within the axis. The assurance from Governor Sanwo-Olu that the project will not be abandoned comes with a huge relief for residents along the axis. Indeed, the Governor’s promise to quickly mobilize contractors to site with a view to completing the project was met with a massive applause by the residents. True to his words, residents around the axis were overwhelmed when they saw that works had commenced.
The Governor has, no doubt, proven that the mantra; For A Greater Lagos, is not just a mere phrase to excite Lagosians, but one that he is committed to pursue with all vigour. Sanwo-Olu has taken the role of a Continuity Manager who is ensuring a seamless transition in every phase of governance. The Lagos Continuity Manager has ensured that no area is left behind in his administration’s continuity agenda.
The good thing is that every part of the State is having a positive feel of the Midas touch of this Continuity Manager. Presently, contractors working on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway have been mobilised for recommencement of works on the highway, after several years of inactivity.
It will be recalled that the State embarked on extensive expansion and reconstruction of the Lagos portion of the expressway in 2010 to maximize the potentials of the axis. Two of the expressway’s lanes are intended to be exclusively used by the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit System. Light rail is equally planned for the road.
Before the end of the Fashola’s administration (2007-2015), renovation and expansion work had been carried out from Mile 2 to Maza-Maza. But the project was abandoned in the last four years.
Cheerfully, the Sanwo-Olu administration has commenced reconstruction work on the road. .Performing the flag-off of reconstruction, the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, stated that the return to the road not only marks the fulfilment of a promise made during the June 2, 2019 inspection to the people of the State, but it is also designed to bring relief to commuters who daily experience hardship on the road.
Among others, the Sanwo-Olu administration has also directed that work should resume on the Ikorodu-Isawo Road as well as the Igbogbo Bayeiku Road, all in the Ikorodu axis.
His recent visit to the Imota Rice Millis is another proof that the Sanwo-Olu administration is determined to ensure the completion of all inherited projects. He has assured Lagosians that the Mill will be up and running in record time.
Upon completion, the Imota Rice Mill project would create between 1,000 to 1,500 job opportunities for Lagos residents. With a projected turnout of over to 2.8 million kg of bags per annum, the Imota Rice Mill has the capacity to meet between 15% to 20% of rice needs in Nigeria and will in return impact rice value chain.
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 favourable 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 is 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.
It is, therefore, encouraging that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Continuity Manager, is strategically transforming Lagos into a dreamed State, continuing good and lofty initiatives while also reviewing obsolete policies, all in the interest of the people.
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 Sanwo-Olu administration marks its 100 Days in office, 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.
Victor is of the Public Affairs Unit, Ministry of Local Government and Community Relations