One major index of social change and development, especially in developing societies, is infrastructure development. No society can boast of having achieved development if a large percentage of her infrastructure is comatose.
Infrastructure development is critical to achieving human capital development. The economic impact that it has on nation building cannot be overemphasized. The growth of any country’s economy hugely depends on the status of her infrastructure. The dearth of needed infrastructure in a given society places serious limitations on human capital development.
It is in view of its crucial role to achieve rapid economic growth that advanced nations of the world commit huge investment to infrastructural development. J.F. Kennedy, a former President of the United States of America, USA, once put the relationship between infrastructure development and economic prosperity into a proper perspective when he affirmed that: “America has good roads, not because America is rich, but America is rich because it has good roads”.
It is, therefore, in an effort to ensure even and accelerated development in all parts of Lagos State that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration places high premium on infrastructure development.
Since his assumption of office in May, 2019, Governor Sanwo-Olu has made infrastructure renewal a major commitment of his administration. The momentum particularly gathered much steam in the last two months, as the governor has commissioned not less than 10 infrastructure projects.
The latest being 4 roads in Ikoyi, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the state. The commissioning of the rehabilitated/upgraded roads, which includes Thompson Avenue, Milverton, Macdonald and Lateef Jakande Roads, was part of efforts to regenerate infrastructure across the state.
While inaugurating the road projects, the Governor stated that his government embarked on infrastructural renewal and upgrade/rehabilitation of the roads and drainage projects within the axis in July, 2020 because of the economic importance of Ikoyi as a real estate hub.
Sanwo-Olu said the inauguration is an indication of the determination of his government to provide good infrastructure and improve the living condition of the residents. He said the newly constructed roads would improve interconnectivity, ease gridlock and address the perennial flooding in the axis.
Before then, Sanwo-Olu commissioned the first phase of the newly constructed Ijede Road, Ikorodu. The road cuts across four Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs). The commissioning marked another fulfillment of the governor’s pledge to deliver infrastructure that would assuage the pain and bring comfort to the electorate.
In addition to the road, the government is also constructing a jetty at Ijede waterfront to create a hub for waterways transportation in the town in line with the State’s Integrated Transportation Master Plan.
Other projects being undertaken by the government in the axis include rehabilitation of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Road in Igbogbo, upgrading of Agric- Ishawo Road, rehabilitation of Oba Sekumade Road, and ongoing palliative works on inner roads.
The government will also be redesigning the Ikorodu Roundabout in the next phase of work, which is aimed at easing traffic congestion usually experienced around Ikorodu Garage.
The infrastructural renewal train also berthed at Yaba with the commissioning of the Yaba Bus Terminal. It was built as an ancillary infrastructure that will complement the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line, being constructed by the Sanwo-Olu administration along Yaba corridor.
The Terminal will connect to the Red Metro station to facilitate an integrated mass transit and seamless connectivity among all means of land transportation.
Earlier, the governor has commissioned the Mafoluku Bus Terminal, a gateway station that will serve Mafoluku, Oshodi, and Ajao Estate environs, providing bus connections primarily to Oshodi Transport Interchange, Ikeja Bus Terminal, Mile 2 and other parts of Lagos. The Mafoluku Terminal will also provide a means of connection to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) and the domestic wing of the airport.
Recently, Sanwo-Olu has also delivered two strategic projects aimed at saving lives and securing property in the Epe axis of the state. The first is a fully equipped 110-bed Maternal and Child Centre (MCC) built in the ancient town to reduce maternal mortality rate and address complications that may lead to birth defects.
The second is the Emergency and Security Regional Dispatch Centre in Epe town for swift response to emergencies and management of disasters.
Other notable road infrastructure developed by the government in the last two years include the Oniru network of roads, Victoria Island, 30 network of roads at Ojokoro, Pen Cinema Bridge, Oshodi/Abule-Egba BRT Corridor, Phases 1 and 2 Badagry Expressway, Lagos-OgunBoundary Roads, Ojota Bus Terminal, Agege/Iju Bus Terminal, NAHCO) Bus Terminal, Airport Road and six major Junctions improved at Lekki 1 and 2, Ajah, Maryland, Ikotun and Allen Avenue among others. This is aside from the numerous medical, housing and food security infrastructure, both completed and ongoing at various parts of the state.
In order to safeguard the residents and the infrastructure, the governor has also improved the security architecture of the state. He recently donated one hundred and fifty units of double cabin vehicles, 30 patrol saloon cars, four high-capacity troop carriers and two anti-riot water cannon vehicles as part of the crime-fighting equipment donated to the police.
Other gadgets donated by the Sanwo-Olu Government to the police include two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), 200 security patrol bikes, 1,000 units of ballistic vests, 1,000 ballistic helmets, 1,000 handheld walkie-talkies, office furniture, and other ancillary resources.
The gadgets were procured through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) – an autonomous agency that partners with the private sector and individuals to provide vital support to security agencies.
The investment in the security gadgets was timely, given the setback recorded in security operations occasioned by the coordinated violence that followed the EndSARS protests, last October.
A prime test of democracy in developing nations is how to connect the government with the governed. In Lagos State, Governor Sanwo-Olu has been able to creatively connect with the people through his systematic programme of improving infrastructure in the state. Today, it is clear to all that Lagos is undergoing a major infrastructure regeneration process.
If governance is truly about adding value to the people’s lives and propounding creative solutions to critical societal needs, then the Sanwo-Olu administration is actually on the right path in its pact with the citizenry. Lagosians are implored to protect and preserve these infrastructure as they represent the people’s collective heritage.
Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director (Public Affairs), Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.