Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Tuesday publicly presented the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025, stating that quite a number of the items that form the bedrock of the Development Pan are already in progress.
The Governor who publicly presented the document at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Ikeja before an august gathering that included the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode added that infrastructure is being built to redress the infrastructure deficit that the state has suffered.
He explained that the investment pillars upon which the Development Plan is being implemented is the people for whom it is also all about, stressing that everybody has a part to play in its realization.
He added that the Development Plan document is about the vision for the future and how it would affect the Lagos Mega City which he explained only describes the reality that Lagos has a very large population which could be a burden or an asset.
According to the Governor, the population size has been turned into an asset with the support of the people.
“That is why for a state like Lagos irrespective of what happens to the price of oil, this state would survive because it has been built not on extractive resources but on the very strong immigrants that make up the human resource of this state”.
“Different people from all over the world have a place here so long as they have content and quality to provide. Our developmental partners feel at home, our international community’s feel at home with this place because they bring value to our table.
Noting that the Mega City status came with clear challenges, Fashola said that the identified challenges were those areas in which the administration set clear targets and worked assiduously to address
“So for me Lagos being a mega city yes, but we asked ourselves then what kind of mega city can we hope to survive without infrastructure, without water supply, without power supply and what kind of quality of life would those people live with the degraded kind of environment and what kind of mega city would we have been talking about if the criminals should rob the banks everyday without response from the law enforcement agencies”, he explained.
He explained that what the administration did was to set very modest targets that would ensure that Lagos led Africa first by being Africa’s model city, adding that today by many measures in terms of crime management and security, Lagos has already achieved that comparably in Africa.
He added that if compared to cities like Cairo, Nairobi, Johannesburg the security numbers for Lagos are high up despite the fact that there is still work to be done, saying night life and economy has been restored.
According to the Governor, some of the positive spin-offs of the restored night economy include the fact that fuel could be purchased at 2am along with other essential services like pharmacies. “Not only are those businesses running and giving us the second economy, nite clubs, hotels, hospitality facilities have come in numbers and there are more to come”, he said.
He noted, however, that the State cannot afford to sit down and wallow in what has been done because what has been done is already behind hence attention should be focused on what lies ahead which is bigger than what has been achieved. This, he said, is why the state dared to think of what Lagos would be like by 2025.
“So when we began to talk about a Horn Free day, we were not joking, we were concerned about health, environment and sustainability issue. They seemed small but when we begin to talk about rape, about crime, sexual offenders register, that is the heart of living. All our telephone numbers is out there because we understand it is about you. You must be able to reach us because we cannot guess where the problem is. We plan for the worst and hope for the best”, the Governor explained.
Fashola said for him, Lagos is a work in progress because continuously there has been progress which can be envisioned far ahead, stating that if anyone takes a trip through EKO bridge today, he can see the pillars of the intermodal transportation that the government talked about which is heading to Marina.
“The Ferry is there, the Bus Terminus is already laid there and hopefully the next government would make the final connection. At Mile Two, the jetty is reclaimed, the Mile 2 Train Terminus is already built, Orile Train Terminus is already built, Costain Train Terminus is already built, so there are four Terminus already in place and more are on their way”, he said.
Continuing, the Governor gave further insights into the various ongoing projects in the transport sector. “So the water transportation networks are also expanding. The Ferry Terminals in Badore and Ikorodu have been finished, the one in Osborne is almost completed but some people have taken us to court that they don’t want the Terminus near their residence, so those are issues we have to go and thrash out in court”, he said.
He stated that in terms of connectivity, the ridership on water transportation today in Lagos is in excess of 1.5 million passengers per month from barely 150,000 passengers per month in 2007 adding that there are over 250 licensed ferries and taxis running on Lagos Waterways already.
Fashola said in terms of Waste Water, work has started at the Odo Iya Alaro Waste Water Treatment plant located at the Ojota Motor Park, which has been designed as a Waste Water Treatment and effluent Management system that would make Lagos that model city when completed.
He explained that In terms of water supply, the State now has full power at Adiyan Water Works which is the only waterworks that generates its own power supply adding that Adiyan phase two with capacity for 70million gallons is being added with construction ongoing.
“Adiyan Phase Two does not end the work because as I said many of us are busy in other departments, so more people are going to come. So there is Odomola, there is Ishashi and then we are already thinking long term desalination because our raw water sources are limited so we have to begin to think how we can get water from the sea and remove the salt content”, he explained.
He said in terms of housing, homes construction are ongoing at 21 different sites, adding that the State has kept the promise of delivering 200 new homes every month to qualified residents.
He stated that today, Lagos is taking responsibility of producing fish, rice, cassava and vegetable and is making spirited efforts to ensure that it would be in a position where she would never go with her hands in her back in search of food.
According to the Governor, in the next four years, the Lekki Free Trade Zone is where all of Nigeria’s petroleum needs would be produced and that work has already started there with the prospect to produce enough for Nigeria and some left to export.
“The airport is coming, the seaport is coming so that we can remain competitive because our ports are losing their competitiveness because of the depth and most of the ocean going vessels are getting bigger and if we do not respond, we would become just a trans shipment hub and that is the justification for the Lekki Port and Badagry Ports”, he said.
Fashola maintained that with on-going work and Development Plan in place, the challenge is about sustained implementation noting, however, that the decision lies with the people. He reminded them that as they go out to vote next year they should remember that Lagos is too important to be left in the hands of those who want to experiment with it but should be kept in very safe hands.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, Mrs Iyabowale Aluko said the Development Plan provides an overarching long term strategy to guide developments in the state towards agreed Vision for Lagos by Year 2025.
She added that the purpose is to provide overall direction for the growth and development of the state and also provide a framework through which all sectors of the economy can direct their energies to improve the quality of life of the people in the State.
In a message of goodwill, the World Bank Country Director, Marie Francoise who was represented by Jariya Hoffman congratulated Lagos State for achieving an important milestone which is the launching of the Lagos State Medium-Term Development Plan 2012-25.
She said the launch is a symbolic step marking the transition from the development phase to the implementation phase and signals to all stakeholders that the government is ready to carry through with its development plan.
She stressed that the World Bank stands ready to support the government to ensure the successful implementation of the development plan, adding that partnership has come a long way and has reached the highpoint.
In another goodwill message, the representative of the French Development Agency, AFD, Constance Brehaut thanked the Lagos State Government and the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget for allowing AFD to partner with her in the Development Plan, adding that AFD looks forward to pushing forward the partnership in Waste Management and Urban Renewal.
Also speaking, the State Programme director of DFID –State Partnership for Accountability Responsiveness and Capability (DFID-SPARC), Mr Ifeanyi Peters Ugwuoke said the Development Plan presents an opportunity for Lagos State to be strategic, forward looking and responsive in meeting the desires and aspirations of Lagosians.
In another message of goodwill the representative of DFID, Mr Sina Fagbnro-Byron congratulated the State Government for the project said emphasis should laid on engaging communication to ensure that development projects are presented in terms of what the government is doing with the people rather than what it is doing for them.
The State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze who made a power point presentation of the Lagos State Medium Development Plan 2012-2025 said the Development Plan should not be seen as a just a government plan but a framework for the people of Lagos State.
He added that with the development plan, Lagos would provide a conducive environment for business and external support that encourages the private sector to play its envisaged role.
He said the Development Plan is one which the average resident of Lagos must take ownership of because it provides a framework by which all sectors of the economy –public, private and civil society can direct their energies and contribute to the improvement of the quality of life.
The Governor later presented the Development Plan at the event which attracted members of the State Executive Council including the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Ranti Adebule, the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Florence Oguntuashe, several Permanent Secretaries including that of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Bayo Sodade and several invited guests.