Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Tuesday publicly presented the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025, stating that quite a number of the items that form the bedrock of the development lans are already in progress. The Governor who publicly presented the document at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Ikeja before a gathering that included the All Progressives Congress, APC governorship candidate in Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode added that infrastructure is being built to redress the infrastructure deficit that the state has suffered.
He explained that the investment pillars upon which the Development Plan is being implemented is the people for whom it is also all about, stressing that everybody has a part to play in its realisation. Fashola added that the Development Plan document is about the vision for the future and how it would affect the Lagos Mega City which he explained only describes the reality that Lagos has a very large population which could be a burden or an asset.
According to the Governor, the population size has been turned into an asset with the support of the people. He explained that what the administration did was to set very modest targets that would ensure that Lagos led Africa first by being Africa’s model city, adding that today by many measures in terms of crime management and security, Lagos has already achieved that comparably in Africa.
He added that if compared to cities like Cairo in Egypt, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa the security numbers for Lagos are high up despite the fact that there is still work to be done; saying night life and economy has been restored. According to the Governor, some of the positive spin-offs of the restored night economy include the fact that fuel could be purchased at 2 am along with other essential services like pharmacies.
He noted, however, that the State cannot afford to sit down and wallow in what has been done because what has been done is already behind hence attention should be focused on what lies ahead which is bigger than what has been achieved. This, he said, is why the state dared to think of what Lagos would be like by 2025.
Fashola said for him, Lagos is a work in progress because continuously there has been progress which can be envisioned far ahead, stating that if anyone takes a trip through EKO bridge today, he can see the pillars of the intermodal transportation that the government talked about which is heading to Marina. “The Ferry is there, the Bus Terminus is already laid there and hopefully the next government would make the final connection. At Mile 2, the jetty is reclaimed, the Mile 2 Train Terminus is already built, Orile Train Terminus is already built, Costain Train Terminus is already built, so there are four Terminus already in place and more are on their way”, he said.
The Governor gave further insights into the various ongoing projects in the transport sector. “So the water transportation networks are also expanding. The Ferry Terminals in Badore and Ikorodu have been finished, the one in Osborne is almost completed but some people have taken us to court that they don’t want the Terminus near their residence, so those are issues we have to go and thrash out in court”, he said.
He stated that in terms of connectivity, the ridership on water transportation today in Lagos is in excess of 1.5 million passengers per month from barely 150,000 passengers per month in 2007 adding that there are over 250 licensed ferries and taxis running on Lagos Waterways already. Fashola said in terms of Waste Water, work has started at the Odo Iya Alaro Waste Water Treatment plant located at the Ojota Motor Park, which has been designed as a Waste Water Treatment and effluent management system that would make Lagos that model city when completed.
He explained that in terms of water supply, the State now has full power at Adiyan Water Works which is the only waterworks that generates its own power supply and that Adiyan phase two with capacity for 70million gallons is being added with construction ongoing.
In terms of housing, homes construction are ongoing at 21 different sites, adding that the State has kept the promise of delivering 200 new homes every month to qualified residents. Fashola stated that Lagos is taking responsibility of producing fish, rice, cassava and vegetable and is making spirited efforts to ensure that it would be in a position where she would never go with her hands in her back in search of food.
According to the Governor, in the next four years, the Lekki Free Trade Zone is where all of Nigeria’s petroleum needs would be produced and that work has already started there with the prospect to produce enough for Nigeria and some left to export. “The airport is coming, the seaport is coming so that we can remain competitive because our ports are losing their competitiveness because of the depth and most of the ocean going vessels are getting bigger and if we do not respond, we would become just a trans shipment hub and that is the justification for the Lekki Port and Badagry Ports”, he said.
Fashola maintained that with on-going work and Development Plan in place, the challenge is about sustained implementation noting, however, that the decision lies with the people. He reminded them that as they go out to vote next year they should remember that Lagos is too important to be left in the hands of those who want to experiment with it but should be kept in very safe hands.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, Iyabowale Aluko said the Development Plan provides an overarching long term strategy to guide developments in the state towards agreed vision for Lagos by year 2025. She added that the purpose is to provide overall direction for the growth and development of the state and also provide a framework through which all sectors of the economy can direct their energies to improve the quality of life of the people in the State.
The State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze who made a power point presentation of the Lagos State Medium Development Plan 2012-2025 said the Development Plan should not be seen as a just a government plan but a framework for the people of Lagos State. He added that with the development plan, Lagos would provide a conducive environment for business and external support that encourages the private sector to play its envisaged role.
Akabueze said the Development Plan is one which the average resident of Lagos must take ownership of because it provides a framework by which all sectors of the economy –public, private and civil society can direct their energies and contribute to the improvement of the quality of life. Fashola later presented the Development Plan at the event which attracted members of the State Executive Council including the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Ranti Adebule, Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Florence Oguntuashe, several Permanent Secretaries including that of Economic Planning and Budget, Bayo Sodade and several invited guests.