Re: Why Lagos is experiencing global recognition

An aerial view taken on February 12, 2019 shows the historic centre of Lagos, economic capital of Nigeria, with the harbour in the background. – Nigerians are scheduled to cast their ballots on February 16, 20119 in presidential and legislative elections. The presidential contest will see incumbent Muhammadu Buhari seek to win a second four-year term against former vice president Atiku Abubakar. (Photo by Florian PLAUCHEUR / AFP)

Sir: as I read the article written by your reporter “Gbenga Salau” (The Guardian of January 7, 2019) on comments by Ambode, I suddenly burst into great laughter.

I typically do not amuse myself with articles as one discussing with another invisible friend but something deep inside of me burst out laughing with the silent comments…..global recognition for mind boggling unnecessary traffic, touts reigning and ruling on the streets with beggars adorning the streets like Christmas lights.

Not only those, filth fills the streets and construction sites and roads not managed properly befitting of a mega city to minimize disruption.

The tolled roads are just a sham and a huge deception in that the benefits of a tolled road such as street lights, sidewalks, coordinated public transportation and beautiful ambience all lost particularly to all the roadside mechanics and businesses rather than nice palm trees and beautiful grass by the roadside.

Sadly, places like Tejuosho that had billions pumped into constructing a nice road layout to ease traffic has been taken over by traders and the government sits by. Maybe the same awaits the Lekki tolled road? The level of lawlessness on the roads are at its highest ever with LASTMA gone to bed completely.

According to the article, Ambode says “we should be thankful for the numerous achievements and growth so far recorded”.

Contrary to my opening comments, I tend to agree with him. Not only do I agree with him but when I see politicians in Nigeria boxed into corners like Ambode has been, more and more these days, I tend to believe he is trying to do the right thing.

Of course, it’s just my opinion that corruption is fighting back but I believe eventually, no one can stop Lagos state from becoming a mega city (except natural disasters or wars).

When I look at the work on the railway around Costain, the humongous construction at Oshodi, the lighted mega bus stops at Oworoshokin and Maryland, the bridge at Ajah, road construction at Epe and so much more work that he has done that many deny or fail to acknowledge, I must commend Ambode.

Moreover, he attended a Federal Government College so it is easier for him to be non partisan than others since that was the foundation of education in those schools back then.

Despite all the praise, like God told Joshua in the Bible….”there is still so much land to conquer”, there is still so much more Ambode could have done to make us even more thankful.

Could the next Governor do what Ambode couldn’t?

The entire beach coastline from Bar beach to Epe could be transformed to a haven for tourists, not just Eko Atlantic if he would have just created the enabling environment and put standards for all beach owners or service providers rather than all the scrappy and filthy businesses people claim are beach front.

Compare our beach line with that of South of France, Greece or Portugal to understand how we as a country so love mediocrity. We need not decorate it like the western world but make them neat, decent, safe and let people put the African touch to it like La Campaigne Tropican or Whispering Palms tried to do and are slowly failing returning into oblivion.

A simple policy passed by the state house of assembly that regulates driving within the metropolis and ensures cars that hit other cars pay for the damage they cause could change Lagos into a developed city in one day (maybe the law already exists, just not enforced or one cannot easily apply the law to his or sphere own benefit).

Lagos has no choice but to be a mega city however, we need not take so much time by allowing those that do not have the interest of Lagos rule this city for their personal gains.

So, should we be thankful? Yes. Should we desire much more? Yes. Much more not being something extraordinary but the normal standards obtained in any other mega city around the world like Tokyo, New York, London and so on. There are so many talented and hard working individuals in Lagos that are willing to give so much to Lagos so it can be transformed in exchange for a little value in terms of financial returns if only the markets would open the floodgates to them.

Ambode, APC, PDP, what are you waiting for? I throw back the problem on your laps to provide the solution that Lagosians so much yearn for.

Frank Ipani, is author of a religious book and passionate about professionalism in every area of life.

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