On Lagos’ strategic infrastructure development plan
Good road network remains key to the economic development of any nation as it is vital for smooth socio-economic activities. The economic impact that good infrastructure has on any society cannot be over-emphasized. It gives direction to the developmental plan of any society. The main secret of most advanced economies of the world lies in the availability of basic infrastructure.
Evidently, the industrial stride of nations such as China, Malaysia, and Singapore is enabled by the presence of basic infrastructures. Famous American businessman and investor, Roger McNamee, clearly underscores the indispensability of infrastructure development to economic advancement when he affirms that: “We need to stop thinking about infrastructure as an economic stimulant and start thinking about it as a strategy. Economic stimulates Produce Bridge to nowhere.
Strategic Investment in infrastructure produces a foundation for long – term growth”. Investment in key infrastructure is as good as laying solid foundation for economic edifice of a nation. It is a source of attraction to investment. This explains why industrial estate such as Ikeja industrial park is still relevant till date due to road network provided by the defunct Western Region led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The prosperity of the defunct Western Region was anchored on the availability of well planned essential infrastructure.
Sadly, over the years, one of the banes of our nation has been poor infrastructure. This has resulted in extreme poverty, needless loss of lives and retarded growth. We have not been able to really attract the investment that would stimulate economic growth and create the much needed jobs that would reduce unemployment in our nation because of dearth of basic infrastructure. So, we have continued to move in circles like the proverbial barber’s chair that specializes in motion without movement.
It is in order to halt this regretful trend that the Lagos state government has resolved to give infrastructure development the top priority it deserves. In the last 16 years, successive governments in Lagos State have committed huge resources into the upgrading and renewal of infrastructure, thus creating massive employment opportunities for engineers, adhoc workers and artisans who are engaged employed on construction sites.
Of course, this is quite essential in a city-state like Lagos in view of its ever growing population which puts constant pressure on infrastructure in the state. Contrary to widespread expectation, relocation of Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja has not in any way reduced the population of the state. Similarly, commercial, economic and industrial activities have continued to be hallmarks of Lagos State. Without doubt, Lagos remains the commercial nerve centre of not only Nigeria but the entire West African region. Also, the megacity status of the state further places enormous demand on the government towards providing enabling environment for individuals and corporate entities to actualize their dreams.
At the inception of this administration in May 2015, His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode embarked upon a state wide tour to assess the state of infrastructure in the state. Arising from his consultation with relevant stakeholders at the grassroots, he approved the construction of Ajah Flyover/ Upgrading of Freedom Road to Admiralty Road. Eti-Osa. Construction of Abule – Egba Flyover in Ifako-Ijaye Local government. Others includes, rehabilitation and upgrading of strategic arterial/ inner roads in Epe, construction of pedestrian bridge and slip road at Ojodu Berger Bus-stop along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, construction of 2nd Ojota Pedestrian Bridge, Ojota, reconstruction of Brown Road, Oshodi in Oshodi – Isolo LGA, rehabilitation/ upgrading of Aiyetoro Road (Section 1) in Alimosho L.G.A, rehabilitation/ Upgrading of Ishefun/Camp Davis/ New Market roads in Alimosho L.G.A among numerous ones.
Perhaps, the most audacious of Governor Ambode’s strides in infrastructure development is the construction of 114 roads in 57 local governments/local council development areas. This project is a demonstration of the fulfilment of the governor’s pledge to run an all-inclusive government in which no section of the state is left behind. It is a massive statement that authenticates the state government’s desire to even development across the state.
To further highlight its desire to sustain the tempo, efforts are in top gear to replicate the process all over again through the construction of additional two roads per local government area across the state. Expectedly, the rate at which roads are being constructed and rehabilitated in the state has attracted widespread commendations from far and near. One positive impact of on-going road repair across the state is employment generation. For instance, it has been estimated that over 1450 jobs for both skilled and unskilled labour have been generated by the on-going road rehabilitation exercise in the state. In the same vein, some of these road projects have also increased the capacity of Lagos residents to create wealth.
For instance, it has been observed that, among others, business enterprise and other socio-economic activities have significantly improved along the axis where roads have been constructed and commissioned in the state
A chief motivating focus of the Ambode administration is poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth through infrastructure renewal and development. To sustain current gains, the state government has continued to maintain and actively create an enabling environment for both the people and corporate entities to thrive. This is why the infrastructure development programme being promoted by the administration is very vital.
Benefits, strategic to the state economy, which the government will get from on-going road projects, for instance, include a strategic response that addresses the infrastructure gap occasioned by the 34-year surge in population; government’s plan for tourism; open access to the 250 million strong market on the West African sub-region; potential to create job, and improvement in property value. A prime test of democracy in developing nations is how to connect the government with the governed. In Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has been able to creatively connect with the people through his systematic programme of improving infrastructure in the state. Today, it is clear to all that Lagos is undergoing a major infrastructure regeneration process. It is there- for all to see and it is for the common good of all.
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