This essay was submitted by Faji Olaotan, the second runner of the 2020 edition YNAG Generation Y Governorship Essay competition and winner of N150,000 Cash prize.
“Good governance never depends upon laws, but the personal qualities of those who govern” (Herbert, 1976).
With a population of 22 million growing at 3.2% per annum (Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, 2019) and the fourth-highest GDP in Africa, Lagos State is arguably the most economically significant state in Nigeria. It is home to one of the fastest- growing megacities in the world, Lagos, which is the most populated city in all of Africa.
If Lagos State were a country, it would be the fifth-largest economy in Africa. It is a vibrant, diverse business powerhouse that houses the nation’s largest urban area. These facts make it difficult to overstate the importance of good governance to the state. Electing me as governor in 2023 will be the next step in taking Lagos state to greater, previously unattained heights, which is the central tenet of my government.
We will be squarely committed to ending perennial problems, including traffic, flooding, land grabbing, and environmental pollution, among others. We will also focus on making Lagos a friendlier business destination, a 21st-century economy, and a cleaner, greener city – with the vision of making Lagos green by 2050.
The completion of praiseworthy projects initiated by previous governments will take pre- eminence in my administration. Projects such as the Ilubirin residential, Lekki-Epe international airport, 4th mainland bridge, Abule-Egba flyover, Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, and the very laudable Eko Atlantic city will take center stage and receive appropriate priority under my watch.
Ease and speed of transportation is key to free-flowing economic activity. Lagos is notorious for its perennial, hectic traffic jams, which contribute to a 75% loss of working hours to her employees and costs the state 42 billion Naira annually (Akinwunmi, 2018). I will be committed to ending the seemingly perpetual scourge of clogged roads within Lagos State.
We will retain the tradition of repairing all potholes and defective portions of roads as initiated by the incumbent governor. We will also identify and reconstruct all gridlock prone junctions, arteries, and roundabouts within the state to ensure free-flowing traffic in the first nine months. Correspondingly, we will employ and train to international standards, 2000 more Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) staff, and integrate congestion management systems to the streets of Lagos.
To further combat traffic jams, we will ensure the completion of the Lagos light rail red and orange lines by 2026 and increase the number of ferries and water transport vehicles in co- operation with the private sector, consequently easing the traffic between the island and the mainland. Furthermore, we will implement and enforce stiffer punishments for all traffic offenders. We will also clear existing and construct new drainage channels to prevent flooding during rainy seasons.
One of the consequences of the large population and high rate of industrial activity in Lagos is very disturbing carbon emission and solid refuse statistics. Lagos’ 22 million people generate 0.5 kg per capita, which amounts to over 10,000 metric tons of solid waste daily (Bakare, 2014), as well as the overall carbon dioxide emission for the Lagos Metropolitan area being 2.42×1016tons CO2-e per annum (Abimbola, 2019).
In line with the vision to make Lagos a green city by 2050, we will reform waste management in Lagos by revamping the systems of generation, collection, and conversion of organic, inorganic, medical, industrial, and scrap waste. We will sensitize residents on the blue box recycling initiative, which encourages waste sorting at the stage of generation. We will further procure 300 garbage trucks for the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) designated for different kinds of garbage to enhance the collection. We moreover will encourage the deregulation of waste collection and private sector participation.
Furthermore, we will construct one recycling and cogeneration waste-to-energy plant – which will generate 6000-7000 Megawatts-hours of electricity daily (ECO, 2020) – in each of LAWMA’s operational districts. The power generated will service the requirements of most residents and industries within Lagos and suppress the need for personal power-generating sets, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the state. Heat energy, which is a by-product of the incineration exercise, will be used to extract the salt from saltwater, which will serve as a source for irrigation in Lagos farms and pipe-borne water for residents. We also will ensure the construction of the first public electric car charging stations in the country.
In making Lagos a 21st century economy, my administration will increase the FDI into Lagos by 200%. To ease the logistic burdens from the Apapa port, we will construct designated holding bays, roads, and rail lines for tankers, trailers, and other container-carrying vehicles, consequently speeding the economy up. We will declutter bottlenecks and shed time required to procure approvals and permits by automating the processes involved in obtaining such documents. Guaranteed 24-hour power supply will be an attractive bait for foreign and local investors alike. We will also scale up the workforce, technology, and equipment available at Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Response Units, reducing the ratio of emergency personnel and facilities per capita.
The security of lives and property is the primary responsibility of any government. If elected, I will instigate a Judiciary reform and prompt the further automation of proceedings in Lagos courts to ensure speedy delivery of justice. We will recruit 5,000 people to the neighborhood watch and improve the relationship between them and the Amotekun corps to enhance border and internal security. We will also create a biometric database for all residents of the state and construct two additional forensic centers to aid criminal investigations. We will procure and install 2,000 CCTV cameras for efficient surveillance and create a designated watch for rape and sexual abuse perpetrators.
Statistics show that the population of Lagos State will double by 2050, consequently exponentially increasing the existing supply gap of housing, which currently stands at 2.5 million units (Wallace, 2019). In partnership with the private sector, we will provide 125,000 affordable housing units per annum in four years by scaling the Lagos HOMs project by 1000% in six more LGAs. We will provide one million Naira tax loans to tax-paying residents with no interest rates to allow them to afford landed property within the state. We will also cut land-use charges by 21% – implementing social media taxes instead – and end the tyranny of land-scammers (Omonile). Additionally, we will subject existing structures older than 50 years to periodic evaluations for integrity and enforce stricter building regulations.
Governance is inclusive when it effectively serves and engages all people. I will build my administration on the tenets of fairness, equity, accessibility, and responsiveness. I will appoint a cabinet with a benchmark of 50% female population. We will create internship opportunities for young people to encourage their participation in governance. In our first year, we will digitally overhaul all state parastatals and ministries, making them more accessible via their websites, optimized for the physically challenged and social media. We will provide skill acquisition centers offering youths, street sellers, and the less privileged in- demand skills, and provide employment and volunteering opportunities for them.
The education of our children will be of paramount importance in my tenure. We will remodel to world-class standards, all state-owned primary and secondary school facilities. We will also continue the noteworthy tradition of pairing well-doing private schools with neighbouring public schools to ensure the growth of the latter. We will further reduce the student/teacher ratio in all state schools by employing more teachers and prioritize girl-child education.
We will integrate entrepreneurship, and soft technology skills and hard skills to the Lagos State curriculum, to ensure our children are relevant in the modern-day economy. Also, we will sponsor the best 100 graduating students from secondary schools in Lagos to the best ten universities in the world and offer them employment opportunities upon their return. To ensure rounded and holistic education of our children, we will scale the IBILE and Lagos First Generation and Heritage Colleges Association (LAFGHECA) games to receive broader reach and recognition as well as provide adequate sporting facilities in all our schools.
Tourism is an essential aspect of the economy. As part of making Lagos a 21st-century economy, I will see to the construction of the first virtual reality museum in Nigeria. My administration will retain the vision of the previous regime of bringing Lagos’ traditional festivals to international standards and recognition. We will partner with private companies such as Google and Airbnb to make Lagos landmarks and tourist attractions more globally conspicuous. We will also fully renovate the Teslim Balogun Stadium to world-class status and bid for the rights to host the National Sports Festival, as well as any international sporting tournaments available.
Finally, we will lay the foundations for making Lagos a smart city by providing the necessary frameworks required for IoT technologies and leveraging Low Power Wide Area (LPWAN) technologies to connect and improve efficiency, convenience, and quality of life for residents and visitors alike. The future is indeed bright for Lagos State.
Ṣiṣe Eko bii iwọ ko tii ri tẹlẹ jẹ ojuṣe wa!