Defeat of Lagos special status bill; A collateral damage:
The National Assembly again made a show of its prebendal narrow-mindedness in shooting down a bill aimed at giving Lagos state a special status as a former nation’s capital. With a ballooning population greater than many countries in Africa, even the antagonists of this bill cannot contest the fact that the state has been over stretched beyond limit in provision and maintenance of social amenities to carter for rural-urban migrants desperately exploring greener pasture and exiting the parlous condition of unemployment and low living standards in other states of the federation.
Housing in Lagos has almost assumed a crisis proportion. The proceeds of a special status could have afforded the state government a latitude for provision of affordable mass housing compatible with minimum wage. Secondly, Lagos civil service is forced to absorb many none indigenous staff as a carry-over of its former status as the nation’s capital.
In other climes, cities with Lagos explosive population cannot be serviced with no fewer than three airports, multiple seaports and state of the art network of roads and railway to befit the commercial nerve center that it is.
The road to Muritala Mohammed International Airport for instance is an eyesore to say the least. It is doubtful if there is any airport in the world with such a decrepit access road,a special status would have made more resources available to Lagos state to assist the Federal government in providing ultra modern access road. Lagos as it were is a lost paradise even though fortunate to have been serially administered by progressive governors with creative ingenuity and leadership acumen in the like of Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and the incumbent award winning Gov Ambode,a special status would have made Lagos another Dubai in Africa.
For the myopic lot who shouted nay to eclipse this promising dream, it is a disservice because the first investment destination of any visionary Nigerians including members of NASS who practically live in Lagos and work in Abuja.
The sponsor of the bill, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu should not be deterred by this setback and should re-present the bill at a more auspicious time. The bill actually towers above the rhetoric of political reductionism festering in the National Assembly it has a pan Nigerian exigency.