Monday, 29th May 2023

Lagos is not working, but we will fix it, says Rhodes-Vivour

Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, has said Lagos, a once-promising state, is wallowing in a sickening state of mediocrity,

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour

Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, has said Lagos, a once-promising state, is wallowing in a sickening state of mediocrity, captured by a fraudulent and mercantilist political class that has held sway for 21 years.

He said: “To start with, the wealth of Lagos is directly tied to the productivity and sweat equity of its citizens. More than 80 per cent of Lagos State’s revenue comes from income tax, consumption tax and several other forms of taxation.

“Hence, while successive administrations brag about increasing internally-generated revenue, they have spectacularly failed to hold up their part of the social contract.

“Close to N10 trillion has been spent during the period but Lagos still ranks as one of the most unlivable cities in the world. Of what use are the trillions generated in tax revenue if it doesn’t improve the life or livelihood of the average citizen?

“The harsh reality is that the current political elite and their cronies have not only mismanaged Lagos’ commonwealth but are also now dehumanising Lagosians in several ways unimaginable.

“People now spend an average of six hours commuting to and from work in rickety vehicles, driving on roads in terrible conditions. Traffic robberies are now on the rise because cars must slow down on bad roads in dark spots without streetlights.

“It is worth mentioning, at this point, that more emphasis is placed on acquiring more tolling vans than managing potholes and providing streetlights, which directly benefit the people.”

Rhodes-Vivor asked: “Why should low-income earners spend over 40 per cent of their monthly income on transportation? Why do close to 40 per cent of Lagosians live in slums or neighbourhoods with almost no social amenities? Why should local governments be income-generating centres for party faithful instead of a tier of government that works to improve the lives of the people?

“Why are there very few investments in social housing for low-income earners? The reasons aren’t far-fetched: the current administration is set up to serve the interest of a small but greedy elite against the interest of the general public.

“Under the Babatunde Fashola administration, $200 million was earmarked by the World Bank to revitalise slums in Lagos State. Instead, the state chose to apply brute force to evict residents of places, like Badia, that fell under the slum renovation plan.

“Till date, no substantial urban development has taken place and the practice of evicting slum dwellers without providing a sustainable housing system for the poor continues to persist with respect to the forceful eviction of OtodoGbame and Tarkwa Bay.”

“What is even more worrisome is that when these helpless settlers are forcefully evicted, they are replaced with luxury apartments sold at a premium to the rich and affluent.

“What part of the social contract says it is okay to take huge loans from the World Bank to supply water, yet the moribund Lagos Water Corporation covers less than 30 per cent of the population within the metropolis.”

Vivour said: “Rather than investing in the development of Lagos, the Lagos State government would expend public resources on Public Relations firms to ‘package’ Lagos, such that the world is made to believe that Lagos starts in Ikeja and end in Lekki.

“Sadly, from Badagry to Amuwo-Odofin all the way to Ajeromi-Ifelodun, to Mushin, Apapa, Surulere all the way to Lagos East, Shomolu, and Ikorodu, the state is in disrepair, and one can’t help but ponder on how Alhaji Lateef Jakande built so much in four years.

“In four years, Jakande built over 14,000 units of low-income housing, far more than the APC administration has built from 1999 till date.

“Interestingly, he also started the Metroline rail project that was subsequently cancelled by General Buhari in 1983. Thirty-seven years on, a government and party that has been in power for over 20 of those 37 years have been trying to build one metro line for the last 14 years.”

“Lagos is far from excellent. Lagos is simply not working, and we can change this ugly reality.

“It starts with citizens believing that they deserve better and voting differently in the coming elections.”

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