His Excellency, this treatise to your quarter comes as a concerned resident of Lagos State who’s deeply troubled by the state of road infrastructure in the good old city of Lagos nestled by the Atlantic Ocean. The current condition of Lagos roads is a matter of great concern, and I believe that now is the time for decisive action in the form of a “Marshall Plan” for our roads.
Lagos, as the economic and commercial hub of Nigeria, plays a vital role in the nation’s growth and prosperity. Our roads are the arteries of this great city, facilitating the movement of people, goods, and services. However, the deplorable state of many roads has not only resulted in inconveniences for residents, but has also had a negative impact on our economy, environment, and overall quality of life. The torrential downpour and rain bombs – Which are no fault of yours thanks to fangs of climate change that has been unleashed in this part of the world and other places. Naysayers and do no good entities might egg you on that these drawbacks are not your fault thanks to rain that makes roads a no go area. Woe betides you, if you find yourself on the roads when the floodgates are opened.
It’s no rocket science therein, as you have done it before and you can do it again. Reminiscent of the bandwidth you employed in your early days in 2019 when you engineered a consortia of construction companies like Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), Julius Berger Nigeria (JBN) Plc China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), Craneburg Construction, Hitech Construction, Arab Contractors amongst others to address 116 roads then – It was a delight to see you drive this initiative earlier with a televised press conference on the well manicured lawns of the Marina House where you laid bare your plans that restored sanity on the roads. Lest we forget, Lagos State has peculiar characteristics, which experts say is less than two meters above sea, in a precarious state, given that a chunk of Nigeria’s coastline is low-lying. Remediation can be engineered on these roads that are in a pathetic state with a huge toll on the vehicles that ply these roads.
Sanwo-Olu is implored to advance a supplementary budget to shoulder these costs and its not too much to address the potholes and deterioration that holds all and sundry to ransom. Many roads are riddled with potholes and are in a state of severe disrepair. This not only damages vehicles but also poses risks to road users. It’s heartwarming to see you as the helmsman in polo shirt and jeans pants while reading the riot act to individuals and business owners acting as impediments on the Mile 2-Badagry Corridor. The rains expose the lipstick of ugliness in when the rains pour and it’s not a bad idea to pave roads in the good old city of Lagos in the manner that Dangote Group through Hitech Construction paved the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway to the Ojota Interchange with concrete. That stretch of road looks like a Formula One track that makes drivers and vehicles glad whenever they navigate that key arterial infrastructure therein.
After all the cement and concrete majors such as Dangote, BUA and Lafarge are nestled in the economic nerve centre of Nigeria – Never say never, PPP initiatives can be crafted to advance this development. Your administration has implemented this novel initiative through Craneburg Construction in the Lekki-Epe corridor -These milestones should be extended to other parts of Lagos to save the perennial headaches of pothole ridden roads when torrential downpour is experienced. It’s also commendable that the mint fresh Special Works and Adviser reports to the quarter of the Deputy Governor – That constitutes eyes on the ball appointment to ensure executive oversight(s) at all times.
In addition, road safety concerns arising from these drawbacks at key transport touch points contribute to accidents and road safety concerns – In fact, no area in Lagos is spared from these lacunae from highbrow areas like Ikoyi, VI, Lekki (That’s now a huge swimming pool), Ikeja GRA, CBD, Alausa to suburbs that dot the whole city. It’s ridden with tales about the poor state of roads. Lives are lost in road mishaps and families are devastated as a result. Then the economic impact is beyond comprehension, as our economy suffers due to delays in transportation and the high cost of vehicle maintenance caused by bad roads cannot be understated. These factors impacts businesses and job creation.
Then lastly, the environmental impact of traffic congestion and air pollution from these deficiencies has severe environmental consequences. We must address these issues to ensure a sustainable future and a Marshall Plan for Lagos roads should encompass the following elements such as comprehensive road rehabilitation that’s hinged on systematic approach to repairing and maintaining our road infrastructure, including the use of modern construction and maintenance techniques. Thankfully the colossal Opebi Interchange that’s close to completion by JBN Plc will change the state of transportation on the Mainland.
In a nutshell, road initiatives that prioritize road safety through improved signage, road markings, and the enforcement of traffic regulations should come on stream across board with multi-sectoral advocacy campaigns that involve LSPWC, LAWMA, VIO, LASTMA, LIRS, MoE, MVAA, FRSC amongst others to educate the public to desist from dumping refuse via drains amongst others.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, your leadership and commitment to the development of Lagos State are commendable, and I believe that a Marshall Plan for our roads is not only necessary, but also achievable. This plan should be seen as an investment in the future of Lagos, one that will improve the lives of its residents and strengthen its position as a global city amongst it’s peers.
I urge you to prioritize this initiative and work collaboratively with relevant stakeholders, including the federal government, local governments, private sector partners, and civil society organizations. Together, we can transform the state of our roads and pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous Lagos.
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue in advance, as we look forward to witnessing positive changes in our road infrastructure in the near future.
Ayoola Ajanaku is a Communications and Advocacy Specialist based in Lagos, Nigeria.