‘A Greater Lagos Rising’, the theme of the second term campaign of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, is quite apt. It appositely captures the efforts of the current government in Lagos toward making life more meaningful for the citizenry.
In the last three and a half years, through a combination of resourceful thinking and sincere desire to achieve impactful governance, the Sanwo-Olu administration has carved a niche for itself as a people-centred government.
Considering its conviction that the entrenchment of a well-oiled social security system is essential for the evolvement of a better society, the administration has embarked on populist programmes aimed at enhancing Lagosians’ standard of living.
Perhaps, the most befitting proofs of the enormous transformation that has taken place under the Sanwo-Olu administration is the festival of projects commissioning that took place during the recent 2-day state visit of President to the ‘Centre of Excellence’.
Some of the projects that were commissioned by the president include the Phase 1 of the Blue Line Rail from Marina to Mile 2, the Lagos Rice Mill in Imota, Ikorodu, First Phase of the Lekki-Epe Expressway and the J Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, as well as the signing of the deal for the Phase II of the Blue Line Rail from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.
The Blue Line is one of the six rail lines and monorails prescribed for Lagos in the state’s strategic transport master plan (STMP).
The construction has been divided into phases for ease of implementation and it is expected to move more than 500,000 passengers when the entire line is completed.
The first phase is a 13-kilometer stretch from Marina to Mile 2 and has five stations at Mile 2, Suru-Alaba, Orile Iganmu, National Theatre and Marina. It is expected to move about 200,000 passengers daily.
With this, the government is on course with its plans to change the face of public transport system in the state.
Meanwhile, the government is equally working hard to ensure the commencement of the Red Line. It has taken delivery of new trains from Milwaukee, United States, for that purpose.
The delivery was in line with government’s determination to deliver the operation of the Red Line Rail System by the first quarter of this year.
Each train can carry 1500 passengers and is expected to run on the Red Line Rail from Agbado to Oyingbo, with the journey taking less than 30 minutes.
One other remarkable project commissioned by the president is the $1.5bn Lekki Deep Seaport. Located approximately 65km in the Eastern part of Lagos, the Lekki Deep Sea Port spreads over 90 hectares of land bordered on the South by the Atlantic Ocean. It is the biggest port in Nigeria, and one of the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is a joint venture enterprise owned by a group of investors led by the Lekki Port Investment Holdings Inc., the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government. It is a resounding testimony to the power of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), which the Lagos State government has been championing for long.
The Lekki Deep Sea Port is Nigeria’s first Deep-Sea-Port, and first fully automated port in the country. It is one of the largest in West Africa and it is poised to revolutionize the way goods are transported and traded in our nation.
Expectedly, the Lekki Port would not only improve efficiency and connectivity, but would also serve as a major driver for economic growth in the region.
It is projected to generate about $20b in employee salaries, an estimated $201b Revenue for state and federal agencies from taxes, royalties, and duties and estimated business revenue impact of US$ 158 billion across the value chain.
The 32-metric tons per hour Lagos Rice Mill in Imota, Ikorodu was also commissioned by president Buhari. The integrated rice mill at Imota is a 22-hectare facility and the largest in Africa and third largest in the world.
It is projected to generate about 250,000 direct and indirect jobs for Lagosians. This will contribute enormously to the economy of the immediate community where the mill is located, Lagos State and the country as a whole.
The Rice Mill, is a 2 by 16 Metric Tonnes per hour standing on an area of 8.5Ha land with an annual paddy requirement of over 240,000MT to produce 2.5 million bags of 50kg rice per annum.
The integrated rice milling operation in Lagos State started on the success of the Rice for Job Programme, which began in 2008. The programme covered all aspects of the rice value chain such as Paddy processing among others. It graduated about 1,000 rice farmers across the value chain.
In-spite of its numerous giant strides, the Sanwo-Olu administration is not resting on its oars. The long-term target is to situate Lagos among global cities with 21st century attributes.
Hence, the government has already tidied up all the loose ends toward the flag-off of construction on the audacious Fourth Mainland Bridge project.
The 37 kilometers Bridge, which will define the cityscape of Lagos upon completion, is to be the second longest bridge in Africa with three toll plazas, nine interchanges, and 4.5 kilometers Lagoon Bridge, and an eco friendly environment.
Certainly, a Greater Lagos is rising under Sanwo-Olu and the proofs are visible for all to see.
Lagosians are now living with the reality of the delivery of two intra-city Rail Mass Transit projects.
Infrastructure has been scaled up in public transportation services by improving BRT services. New taxi schemes have also been injected into the system, while traffic management has been re-energized. More roads have been delivered across the state, while more are still ongoing.
The government has delivered new hospitals in Badagry, Ikorodu, Igando, Epe and Eti-Osa, while new ones are currently being undertaken in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Island.
In the environment, the state is currently constructing 210 new drainage channels to address the issue of flooding in vulnerable communities. The level of infrastructure in emergency response agencies has also been enhanced. Recently, four fire stations were commissioned across the state, while new fire fighters have been employed.
In education, over 1,000 new classrooms have been added to public schools, while over 1,097 projects were completed in schools. Public schools teachers have been trained in modern teaching techniques through Eko EXCEL and given tablets to boost teaching. Overall performance of Lagos students in WAEC has improved from 42 per cent to over 83 per cent.
Similarly, in order to bridge housing deficit in the State, 16 new housing schemes were completed and commissioned.
The whole essence of governance is to enhance the standard of living of the people. That has been the driving force of the Sanwo-Olu administration in the last three and a half years. This, no doubt, is why a Greater Lagos is rising!
Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.