Achieving the Lagos of our dream
SIR: It is unfortunate that in spite of all the efforts of successive Lagos governments to make the city something everyone is proud of, Lagos remains the proverbial born-to-die child who makes a medicine man a fake practitioner. As a former capital of Nigeria, Lagos remains the much sought after state with daily massive migration because of its federal outlook and business potentialities. It, therefore, has a good representation of all the major states of the federation. But quite sadly, the giant strides of the past and present leaders and all the efforts aimed at making Lagos a smart city are always difficult to see especially after every heavy downpour.
Indeed, those who knew what Lagos used to be in the 70s may be shocked at the degradation and growth of shanties in almost every part of the metropolis, a situation which paints Lagos leaders as having gone to sleep. But the truth is that ever since the return to civil rule, the Lagos government has hardly left any stone unturned in its quest to achieve the very best not only for the state but also the entire country being the first port of call by foreign visitors.
An original master plan with the sole target of making Lagos a city that is at par with all other developed cities of the world has led to massive projects being carried out in different parts of the state almost simultaneously while new areas are opening up in order to have the impact of development felt in every nook and cranny of the state. Yet, Lagos continues to face more and more challenges owing to its being below the sea level and therefore prone to massive flooding and also the general decline in the economy of most of the other states of the federation which then puts more pressure on Lagos.
The problem of garbage has remained a major headache the citizens are forced to contend with. Yet, what is required is just a change of strategy. The more realistic approach is to confine the clearing of refuse to the night when the issue of traffic is eradicated. Doing so during the daytime even constitutes a major headache in that waste vehicles cause so much snarling traffic just as they themselves are unable to move freely and thereby most times do not cover all their target areas. All these will become a thing of the past if waste managers move their operation to the nights. All other major cities of the world have some major activities confined to the night and Lagos should not be an exception. Security operatives can also be detailed to work in conjunction with the waste managers so that the two tasks of cleaning the metropolis and securing the state can run simultaneously.
Another very vital issue the Lagos government has tended to ignore over the years is the need to get the National Assembly to approve the local council development areas as full-fledged local councils. With that, the state will be able to draw more revenues for developmental purposes from the Federal Government.
Jide Oyewusi, the coordinator of Ethics Watch International, wrote from Lagos.