DELIVERED BY DR. OBAFEMI HAMZAT, LAGOS STATE DEPUTY GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE OF THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) ON THE OCCASION OF THE ANNUAL AWARD NIGHT, ORGANISED BY THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS, LAGOS CHAPTER, HELD AT DIGITAL CENTRE, LAGOS STATE SECRETARIAT, ALAUSA.
I am very happy and honoured to be here today as the guest speaker on this very important event. Mr. Babajide Olushola Sanwoolu, the governorship candidate of our party, the All Progressive Congress, sends his greetings. Let me first start by appreciating the contributions of this esteemed Institution to the Nigeria economy and overall talent pool. As a registered engineer, I clearly understand the critical roles that members of the body have played and are playing in our national development, especially in the areas of infrastructural project designs, evaluation and implementation since time immemorial.
I am especially happy about this invitation to speak with you, as you all know, I was the immediate past Commissioner for Works and infrastructure in the State; in addition I recently worked as Special Adviser (Technical) to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, I therefore have the opportunity and advantage of understanding Lagos infrastructure landscape and comparing it to Nigeria as a whole.
Given that Infrastructure affects the quality of lives and the development of any society, the theme of this event: ‘BRIDGING THE INFRASTRUCTURE GAP, THE LAGOS WE KNOW,’ is not only apt in view of the growth opportunities in Nigeria, but also timely. Because Lagos, the melting point where the nation’s economic, social and political activities concentrate, is taking a larger share of these opportunities.
You are all aware that population of Lagos is currently over 20 million, with a projected figure of close to 30 million in the next decade. This is despite it being the smallest State in Nigeria with a land area of 3,577 sq.km (i.e. 0.4% of total land area of Nigeria – 923,768 sq. km).
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported that about 260 thousand people come into Lagos daily, and that only about 20-25 percent goes back to their original places. Hence, this huge migration influx to the city is overstretching the existing infrastructure and facilities. Therefore, there is an urgent need to be innovative in providing infrastructure in the State.
As people that have lived and worked in Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and I are not novices in Lagos and its governance. We are fully aware of the enormous task ahead. We are mentally and physically equipped, with your support and advice, to face these daunting tasks ahead of us. We cannot do it alone without the collaboration of every Lagosian, especially, the professional groups, business communities and every man and woman of goodwill.
It is a reality that building and preserving a mega city such as Lagos comes with great challenges. First, to provide a sufficient amount of infrastructure and other life’s necessities that would accommodate the needs of over 20 million people is not a mean task.
Our government, when voted in by the good people of Lagos must then run an “all inclusive government”. We will collaborate and partner with professional bodies, private sector, and development agencies where necessary.
Though the Internally Generated Revenue of the State has increased from N7.2 billion in 1999 to about N333 billion in 2017, it is still a lot lower than what is required to provide a Lagos of our dreams.
The government of Mr. Sanwo-Olu will explore options that will increase the States IGR. But most importantly, technology and rule of law will play a bigger role in virtually every sector of our economy. It is these applications of technology and rule of law that makes the difference between the advanced nations and the developing worlds, such as Nigeria.
Our plan will be to expand and improve on existing infrastructure project. Government is a continuum and we will continue with existing projects to the benefit of Lagos, Our focus remains “Towards a Greater Lagos: A Collective Effort.”
Our Promise to Lagosians is “THEME Lagos”. The pillar includes Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism.
It is necessary to inform you that one of the foundations supporting the five pillars is Infrastructure, which is the focus of our discourse today.
I will however, briefly describe the THEME-Lagos initiative as follows;
T- Traffic Management & Transportation.
Our plan will be to build an Inter Modal transport system by integrating road, rail and water transportation in Lagos to solve the problem of commuting within the metropolis. Therefore, we will move very fast to complete the ongoing Blue Line rail project from Okokomaiko-Marina and in the process aggressively prosecute the rehabilitation of Lagos Badagry Expressway. Explore the realization of the Red line from Agbado to Marina. In preparing for rehabilating various inner roads, the three Asphalt plants will be turned around and made ready to put people to work in order to make our roads motorable throughout the year.
As part of improving on the traffic experience of Lagosians, we have identified about 51 gridlock points in Lagos, each requiring different solutions. Examples of these are:
- Adeniji Adele/ Sura/ Obadenle / Muson centre / TBS
- Apongbon / Eko Bridge
- Maryland / Ikorodu Road junction
- Lekki – Ikoyi Bridge / Admiralty Way and Lekki toll plaza
- Ikorodu Roadabout
- Oba Ogunji /Agindigbi/ Awolowo Road / Allen Avenue
- Oko Oba /Abule Egba
- Ipaja Road Egbeda
- Awolowo Road Ikoyi
- Mile 12/ Ketu
- Ikeja – Oba Akran
Each of these will require different solutions, but be assured that they will all be resolved.
We will connect more communities through link roads and bridges in order to relieve traffic on existing road networks, and open up emerging communities such as:
- Agege / Alimosho/ Somorin Village / Valley Stream Estate/ Shasha
- Alimosho / Ijegun/ Ijedodo
- Ile Zik to Alimosho
- Expansion of Iyana Ipaja bridge to relieve traffic going towards Egbeda
- Commence the construction of the Coaster road to relieve traffic on Lekki Epe Expressway
- Commence the development of Agric Isawo Road linking Lagos Ibadan Expressway.
- Expansion of Ikotun Egbe bridge.
I must stress the issue of 4th mainland bridge. Experts have warned that we must review in order not to cause more traffic issues. The Lekki-Epe expressway is already at level A6, therefore discharging traffic onto it might cause more discomfort.
We are particularly committed to reducing travel time within Lagos. We are going to work with the FGN to complete the Lagos-Apapa road. LASG has identified a 5000-capacity trailer park and also work with the NPA for a strict on-call system that notifies trailers when to pick-up containers to avoid the indefinite waiting period.
We will improve navigation on our waterways to facilitate water transportation and promote private investment. We will
- Expand our major water transportation routes from 6 to 10 by 2021
- Scale up passenger operations at Ijede, Ijegun- Egba, Ipakodo, Osborne, Apapa and Badore and Mile 2
- Create economically viable routes and terminals at Epe, Marina
- Invest in additional water transportation water infrastructure in partnership with private sector
Expand and improve network of buses:
- Develop Quality Bus Corridors on 10 major existing bus routes for better commuting experience
- Extend the bus rapid transit network to include Oworonshoki to Apapa and Abule Egba to Sango Toll gate
- Increase our bus fleet from 800 to 2000 in collaboration with private sector by sustainably developing facilities to assemble and maintain buses
H- Health & Environment
Our healthcare plan will be anchored on the improvement of the State government recently launched comprehensive health insurance scheme for Lagosians to improve access and affordability. We will improve primary and complete many secondary health facilities. We will work with private investors to ensure that Lagos health care institutions are greatly improved. We will refurbish the over 250 primary healthcare centres (PHCs) to make them usable for our people.
To keep our environment clean and healthy, we will rejig the waste management system by getting LAWMA to deliver better on its mandate as the regulator, while the PSP model will be made to respond better in collection of waste in Lagos. On the advocacy, we have plans to turn waste to sustainable wealth. This we will do by incentivizing waste sorting by our people.
E- Education & Technology.
Our plan is to increase access to public education in Lagos, especially public primary and secondary schools. We will embark on renovation of our schools and make them conducive for learning. Teachers will be trained for capacity enhancement in modern teaching methodology. We will work with our educational institutions to improve curriculum and include entrepreneurial studies in our educational programmes.
We also want to create a smart economy on the back of technology because we understand the transformative power of Technology. Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes.
We will use technology to reduce approval process cycle in public-private sector dealings. This will greatly improve government efficiency. Technology will give our Entrepreneurs and SMEs the opportunity to thrive, which will lead to more jobs and more public-private sector partnerships. We will create incubation hubs in Lagos for technology startups to flourish, while also ensuring that we introduce coding into our public school curriculum.
M- Making Lagos a 21st century economy
We will support the private sector by creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Simplify access to government services to make the private sector blossom. We are going to work with the Discos to solve some of the challenges they face in Lagos, by improving distribution capabilities and expanding metering, build IPPs to power government institutions and streetlights. We will provide more infrastructures and improve the existing ones to support private businesses and increase productivity of Lagosians.
We will strengthen security agencies in Lagos and equip them to work better.
We will encourage mortgage system to enhance better housing for all citizens.
Making Lagos a model mega city requires the provision of water
Clean water is a basic human need, and one that should be easily accessible to all. Currently, Lagos has the capacity for about 220 million gallons of water per day – of which 30-40% is produced. Our administration will focus on increasing this capacity to the needed 550 million gallons per day. It is the responsibility of government to ensure continuous flow of clean and portable water. Our vision of a Lagos hyper-city cannot afford a shortfall of such a critical resource. Therefore, we will;
- Rehabilitate the 48 mini and micro Waterworks to optimise capacity utilization.
- Rehabilitate the major water works to optimise capacity utilisation
- Iju water work – 45MGD
- Adiyan I – 70 MGD
- Isashi – 4MGD
- Ota Ikosi – 4MGD
- Complete and operationalise Adiyan II and add 70MGD
- Expand and improve the public water network to reach more households
- Create an enabling environment for the actualisation of the Lagos Water Masterplan which sought to address the demand gap of the Lagos water sector
- Approve and implement the State E-WASH Policy towards the achievement of SDG 6 (ensure access to water and sanitation for all)
- Encourage water efficiency
Modern advancements in waste management offer innovative opportunities in a completely new business area. Historically, waste in Lagos was processed and disposed of with no consideration for waste commercialization, environmental conservation or energy generation.
The enormous amount of waste generated daily in Lagos, if addressed properly will have a lower impact on the environment and provide value from the creation of new industry sectors such as waste recycling and landfill optimization. An efficient, proactive and resourceful waste management strategy is the option that my administration will pursue.
In line with this, we will:
- Optimise waste management
- Reposition the waste management sector to effectively eliminate waste accumulation in Lagos
- Harness the potential for job creation and other opportunities in waste recovery, reuse, repair, remanufacturing and materials innovation
- Increase the adoption of waste sorting practices state-wide to promote recycling
- Drive waste-to-energy initiatives in partnership with the private sector
- Implement strong safety standards for managing hazardous waste
- Commence a massive water clean-up programmes working with the local fishermen, manufacturing industry and transporters
- Improve drainage and disposal of waste water
- Expand the drainage system to effectively capture new areas and other formal developments
- Provide more sewage treatment plants in partnership with the private sector
- Rehabilitate, and where required, modify existing treatment plants in the State
- Reduce proliferation of single use plastics for packaging in cooperation with businesses
E- Entertainment & Tourism
Lagos is the centre of culture and entertainment capital of Africa, as such we will boost our creative economy with tourism, culture and entertainment.
We will develop all our tourism assets in Lagos and create tourism calendar around our important events, like the Eyo festival – such that it will attract local and international tourists. We will work with the music, film and fashion industries to make Lagos an international tourist destination. We will make Lagos Africa’s sports hub by creating and sustaining a sport culture and industry.
Again, security and infrastructure are key to tourism, entertainment and sport economy because people must feel safe to go out anytime of the day and visit these centres.
Getting it done:
As Engineers, your role in berthing a country and State that is sufficient in terms of infrastructure cannot be overemphasized. However, the challenge for government is fund. How do we raise funding for all the viable projects? We will work with private sector to raise as much resources as possible. This is where institution like yours will come in handy to partner will the state government in building those infrastructure that will take Lagos to a greater heights.
To achieve all these:
We will Reposition Lagos as the ultimate investment destination for foreign businesses
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is one of the main drivers for creating and sustaining a vibrant economy. In my administration, we will work towards ensuring that the right investment climate is promoted.
In line with this, we will;
- Double the current $8.4 billion FDI inflow into Lagos by 2022
- Improve ease of doing business in Lagos by accelerating the development and provision of a State wide fully integrated multi-modal transportation network
- Streamline the process for procuring planning approvals, construction permits and enforcing contracts
- Reposition the existing Lagos State business support mechanism, the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investments (Lagos Global) as a One Stop Investment Centre by co-locating relevant government agencies
- Expand, strengthen and encourage the use of our dedicated Alternative Dispute Resolution / Multi-door Court System
- Enforce the Local Content Engagement Law to promote true local content engagement, as a prescribed minimum requirement for doing business in the State, thus resulting in transfer of knowledge and skills
- Continue to improve on the security of residents in the state, so that people can live and work in a peaceful and vibrant city.
As I conclude this address, I like to remind you that the work of taking Lagos to a greater height is a collective effort. Our team of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu and myself understands the geography of Lagos, and understand the master plan to continuously implement those policies that will make Lagos blossom. Trial and error approach will not help us. We plan to use this untapped resource to take Lagos to greater heights and make it a more livable city by improving physical and economic planning.
I solicit for your support to please, leave the comfort of your homes on the Election Day to go out and vote for our party, the APC. It will be costly to allow an apprentice to come on stage at this critical period of our State.
Thank you all and God bless you.