Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State, say the massive population of Lagos State requires an intervention of the federal by way of critical provision of infrastructure.
They fear that unless such intervention comes, it may get to a point where Lagos as a sub national will no longer cope with the developmental challenges posed by continual migration of the citizens to the nation’s commercial capital.
Their concern comes as the United Nations estimates the population of the state at 24 million people, occupying a territorial landmass of 923,773 square kilometres with huge infrastructural deficits.
The Lagos government recently said it would require $50 billion over the next five years to bridge the state’s infrastructural gap, an amount way above its annual revenue capacity. This year, the state budget stood at N1.04 trillion, its highest ever since creation in 1967.
Duke, as guest speaker at Leadership Newspaper 2018 annual conference/awards, held in Abuja, observed that the 2018 Lagos annual budget was too meagre to fund its infrastructural needs.
“The leadership at the state and federal level must recognise that a state that contributes more than 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with majority of the nation’s industrial activities, needs support,” Duke said, adding that the time to do that was now.
Governor Ambode, represented at the event by Kehinde Bamigbetan, his commissioner for information and strategy, aligned with the position. He, however, restated commitment to the service of the people and sustained effort to upgrade existing infrastructure and build the ones for economic growth of the state.
Sam Nda-Isaiah, chairman/publisher of Leadership, urged the governors to act as the CEOs of companies who must make profits for their firms to keep their jobs.
“The days when states would go cap in hand every month to the Federal Government will soon be over because the federal itself will be too busy struggling to solve its own problems. The good news is that every state in Nigeria can survive as a rich entity, with a little imagination from its leaders,” Nda-Isaiah said.