No country can achieve development, if critical infrastructures like roads, rail, electricity and others are not built or in a bad state. It is a key driver for progress across the world and an enabler for productivity and sustainable economic growth.
Infrastructural development also contributes significantly to human development, poverty reduction and the attainment of the Millennium development goals (MDG).
Due to its impact on economic development, many nation commits large chunk of their annual budget oninfrastructural development to create economic prosperity for its people. A former United States of America President, J. F. Kennedy while trying to describe the relationship between infrastructural development and economic prosperity said, ‘’ America has good roads not because America is rich but America is rich, because it has good roads. Indeed, good roads and other relevant infrastructures make a wealthy country.
In view of this, Lagos State Government has embarked on massive infrastructural development to ensure that the state enjoys accelerated economic development. The administration of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode like his predecessor has placed high premium on building and rehabilitation of roads across the State since its inauguration three years ago.
In commemoration of three years in office in May, the government said it had completed the construction and rehabilitation of 450 major roads and 50 other impactful projects to make life comfortable and build a sustainable environment for residents and visitors
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Adebowale made this known during a press Briefing at the BagaudaKaltho Press Centre in Alausa as part of activities to mark the third year anniversary of Governor Ambode’s administration. He said,’’ aside the completed projects, several others were at various stages of completion and would contribute to the vision to make Lagos emerge as Africa’s model smart city and global economic and financial hub,’ adding that, ‘the provision of world class infrastructural facilities to support the growing population of the State has been one of the cardinal programmes of the Ambode administration, and it was gratifying that the effort was serving the intended purpose.’’
‘’ In the course of the three years,’’ he noted, ‘’ we have vigorously pursued the maintenance of existing roads, the rehabilitation and expansion of highways, as well as construction of new bridges. We have worked to deliver projects that will directly impact on the lives of all Lagosians.’’
‘’ The commitment to infrastructural renewal, expansion, upgrading and regeneration is borne out of the fact that an efficient and integrated transportation system can only be birthed through the provision of appropriate infrastructure. If you look at the major road projects and others we embarked on and completed, I can conveniently reveal that we have done between 450 and 500 and we still have a lot in stock for the people. In terms of the ongoing, we have about 60 or 70 projects, ‘’Akinsanya said.
He also gave the list of the road projects completed in the last one year. He said, ‘’ the State Government delivered pedestrian bridges, laybys and slip road at Ojodu Berger, the jubilee Bridge and adjourning roads at AbuleEgba, constructed Jubilee flyover at Ajah roundabout with signalized intersection and also rehabilitated Freedom Road and Admiralty Road in Lekki, completed 21 Lagos – Ogun boundary roads with two bridges, Aradagun- Iworo- Ajido Bridge in Badagry, rehabilitated and upgraded arterial roads in Epe and OmotayoBanwo/Kola Iyaomolere Road, as well as Alapere road and junction improvement works in Ketu, five new pedestrian bridges among others.
The Commissioner listed some of the ongoing projects to include Odo-Ottin-Mojoda( Epe-Ijebu Ode road); Poka-Araga Road, BusolaDurosi-Etti Road in Eti- Osa, Ladipo Street, AlhajiAkinwunmi Street and Obagun Avenue in Mushin, Irede Road in Amuwo- Odofin, Aradagun- Imeke- Iworo-Ajido- Epe Road in Ikorodu, Ilaje Road and Odunusi Street in Somolu, Agic-Isawo-Konu-Arepo to link Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, flyover and signalized intersections at Pen Cinema in Agege, facility management/ maintenance and beautification of Lekki Expressway, J.K. RANDLE Centre for Yoruba History and Culture and nine additional footbridges.
According to him, there are also newly awarded projects which include RemiOyefiade Street, EtiOsa, Happy Home- Alahun – Ozumba link Road, Kirikiri, Ifebajo Street, Amuwo-Odofin, Maiyegun Road, Ojo, Orisigun/Dada Aga Steets, Ajelogo, Mile 12 Road in Kosofe, OmolaraBadaru/Taiwo, Odekunle/Maridon Street and Bolaji Taylor/KayodeAlabi Streets in Ifako –Ijaiye, Social Science Road, Unilag Estate, Magodo Phase1 in Kosofe, Adeyemi Thomas Street in Agbowa-Ikosi, replacement of the worn-out steel pedestrian bridge at Fadeyi, construction of Eko Parks in Onikan which consists of the Lagos Museum, Lagos Heritage Centre for Leadership, Lagos Historical Centre, 55 ftEyo Statue, and the upgrading of Onikan Stadium.
Speaking on other projects that are near completion, he said,’’ the phase one of Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) lane from Oshodi to Abule was now at 55 per cent completion stage and the government was working towards delivering it between September and October this year while the Multi-Agency Office Complex in Alausa was also progressing well.
Toward improving on the achievement recorded so far, the commissioner also mentioned that the state government was putting planstogether to implement 10 major projects in 2018 including construction of 4th Mainland Bridge, Opebi-Ikorodu Road/ 3rd Mainland axis link bridge, dualization of Lekki-Epe Expressway from Eleko Junction to T- junction in Epe, upgrading of Adeniji Adele Road, Agboyi-Ketu Road, Ishefun- Camp Davis Road, Oke-Ira-Nla-SaliuObodo/Mojeed Road, Glover Memorial Hall and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway( Okokomaiko –Seme Boarder segment)
Also recently, the governor inspected the ongoing projects in the Lekki Free Trade zone, saying the massive investments being jointly made in the axis by government and private sector is targeted at making Lagos emerge as the next destination for business in Africa. With all these massive infrastructural development, Lagos can truly become Hub for tourism in Africa.
During the Lagos Tourism Summit with the theme ‘’ Destination Lagos’’ held in April, Governor Ambode said his administration was consciously investing huge resources to develop an enduring infrastructural architecture that would ensure that the state’s tourism potentials are fully harnessed for all round economic growth and development. According to him, the plans, concepts and executions of his administration are deliberate and well thought-out to make the highly populated mega city-state culturally attractive and functional.
‘’As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development. We have channeled a lot of resources into creating an enduring infrastructural architecture for business of tourism to thrive.’’
He said, ‘’ his administration was not unmindful of the fact that for the state to match up with other leading world tourism destinations like Miami, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo as well as African cities such as Cape Town, Cairo, Marrakech and others, the right infrastructure has to be put in place. In order to do this successfully, we must first build a solid infrastructure architecture that will endure. It must be safe and secure and provide functional and diverse venues for the arts, culture, festivals, creative industry, recreation and wildlife and it must constantly and productively engage with its critical stakeholders.’’
‘’So When you see us reclaim 50 hectares of land at the Oworonsoki end of our lagoon, when you see us clear a whole stretch at the Badagry and Epe Marina and insist that our prime waterfront must not be taken over by shanties and slum, embark on some ambitious road, flyover and modern bus terminal constructions, we are preparing the grounds for a major source of employment and prosperity.’’
‘’When you see us continue to plead for the control of wasting federal assets like the National Arts Theatre, National Museum and National Stadium and possibly declare our intention to have the Murtala Mohammed International Airport concessioned to us, we are focused on our tourism sector.’’
‘’When you see our unwavering commitment in changing the face of public transportation, committing more funds to providing jetties and expanding access to waterways, please know that we are driven only by the need to build and sustain the needed infrastructure upon which an enduring tourism landscape can stand and outlive our administration and those coming after us.’’
According to Ambode, the tourism sector contributed about $2.2 billion (N800bn) to Lagos GDP in 2017 and with more infrastructure and resources being deployed in tourism sector, we expect this figure to double or treble in the next five years.
‘’ The enormous resources we have deployed in physical and social infrastructure across the state will begin to crystallize by December 2018 into mega structures that will support tourism and market our state as a smart destination.’’
And with ‘’the Lagos Tourism Master Plan’’ drawn recently which focused on six key sectors; Culture and Heritage, Film, Art and Entertainment, Business Tourism, Nature and Adventure, Medical and Wellness, Beach and Leisure, Lagos is set to be the next Tourism hub in Africa
Apart from the benefit of employment generation and prosperity, there is potential billions of naira in revenue that the Lagos State Government could earn from tourism as it continues to develop the infrastructure of the state.