Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a governor in Nigeria’s state of Lagos is pursuing audacious development programmes in water and rail transportation in 2020.
With a population of over 21 million, Lagos is the third largest mega city in the world and Africa’s most populous city, with lots of transportation challenges due to absence of integrated transportation system.
Sanwo-Olu is upbeat that he can solve the transportation challenges in the mega city by prioritising investment in critical infrastructure with a new vigour.
“We are prepared to shift the burden of transportation away from roads alone, there will be renewed focus on waterways and rail transportation in the current year. The objective is to disperse traffic on the roads and give residents a new choice in mass movement across the State,” he says.
With the signing of the State’s N1.168 trillion 2020 Budget into law last Tuesday, the administration seems statutorily emboldened to fully tap into the potential of its waterways and rail corridors by pursuing fresh investment and partnerships that will help government deliver an inter-modal transportation model.
Traffic management and transportation is a key pillar of the Sanwo-Olu administration’s development agenda, known as Project T.H.E.M.E.S, seeking to assuage the pains of Lagos residents occasioned by road gridlocks by reducing travel time and scaling up productivity.
The Governor said: “We are prioritising investment in infrastructure this year to shift the burden of transportation away from the roads unto the waterways as a means of moving our people around safely and efficiently. Lagos is endowed with a large body of water that has been under-exploited over the years. This is why we have set up a challenged ourselves to investment in this underutilised channel.
“Work will begin to happen on our waterways and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has been saddled with this responsibility. In terms of the pace of work that is going on our Blue Line Rail project, which stretches from Okokomaiko to Marina, we expect the work to pick up and get Phase 1 of it completed for operations. Also, construction work to commence on the Red Line that will stretch from Agege to Ebute Metta, this year.”
Sanwo-Olu observes that Lagos State Public Works (LSPW) had been complementing his administration’s infrastructural renewal programme with persistent rehabilitation works on existing roads to ease flow of traffic on feeder roads. The repair work, he said, will continue across the State.
He says the State has doubled its budgetary allocation to healthcare purposely to boost human capital and productivity. He discloses that the government will be building more tertiary healthcare facilities in underserved areas across the State. This, he said, will make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for residents irrespective of income level.
He says: “There is so much to look forward to in this New Year. I solicit for full cooperation and support as we take the first step into 2020. Together, we can achieve the ‘Greater Lagos’ of our dreams. Let us join hands and usher in the New Year with hope and confidence, with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead of us.
“In spite of whatever challenges that the New Year might bring, we will not retreat from the challenges; instead, we will convert the challenges to stepping stone to success and true greatness. I wish all Lagosians a happy and prosperous 2020.”