OPINON: Rehabilitation of Roads and the Unending Lagos Gridlock (1)
The perennial traffic that have bedeviled the Centre of Excellence in the recent months obviously represents a colossal failure of its leadership and the inadequate planning for growth of the lager nation of Nigeria; Lagos for many years even before the advent of current democratic dispensations served as the nation’s capital city thereby attracting presence of major businesses and metamorphosing into the commercial capital of West Africa, yet its leaderships have neglected planning for its current demographic trend.
With its estimated population of over fifty million and with daily migration from other states into Lagos state, it has remained the fastest growing state in the sub Saharan region hence the resultant surge on its infrastructure. If not mistaken; the state witnessed its last major infrastructural contribution in the early 90s with the commissioning of the third mainland bridge in 1991 by the then military regime led by General Ibrahim Babangida. Till date the state has been dehydrated of such development that cuts across its breath.
The movement of the nation capital would have been the opportunity to check its population growth but this may have not been achieved as most of the businesses still see Lagos as its operational base while the has continued FCT Territory Abuja to play the role of administrative, while Lagos continue to expand in all of its axis. The failure of decentralizing its development saw the brought about the surge witnessed between 1992 to date on the Lekki axis which today has degenerated due to influx of both human and businesses despite not meeting the accepted standards of a 21st century city owing to its perennial flooding.
In solving the current traffic menace the city in engulfed with, there is therefore urgent need for desperate actions to be taken which includes embarking on mass infrastructural development across its length and breath without politicking them. The long awaited commencement of the construction of the forth mainland bridge and possibly a fifth mainland bridge to birth. While the fourth mainland bridge will be focusing on terminating at the Ikorodu/Berger axis, the fifth mainland should aim decongesting the traffic towards the Apapa, Mile II, Badagry cum Alimosho routes.
The completion of the Badagry expressway and the light rail project is highly required now that ever. Also it’s time for the state to judiciously convert all federal assets in fallow to good use. The federal secretariat, Ikoyi and its likes can be converted to a massive affordable housing estate that will further bring people closer to their workplaces hence a reduction from pressure on the roads and traffic. The need to motivate businesses in possible relocation or lacking industries within areas with higher demographic by offering them (businesses) reliefs as this will equitably develop the center of excellence and achieving its Smart City Project.
With the commendable efforts of the state government in patching most of the dilapidated roads across the state, this may never solve the traffic situation rather; will only serve as a soothing balm on its effect on Lagosians as the state will continue to grow both in population, business wise hence attracting even greater number of vehicular movement across. Further more, in tackling the traffic menace its time for the leadership of its local government areas/ local council development areas (LGs/LCDAs) to wake up to their responsibilities in maintaining most of the state’s inner roads which are the piling points of the traffic.