The stage is now set as the two main parties in Lagos state, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), have announced their flagbearers for the governorship election which is scheduled for February next year.
It is no longer news that the Ambode-led administration will come to an end on May 29 next year. Last week, Nairametrics started a series on projects that may be threatened with the exit of the present administration in Lagos state. This week, we bring the concluding list of ongoing projects and policies that may suffer after a new administration comes onboard.
The Onikan Stadium
Last year, the Ambode administration announced plans to reconstruct the 5,000 capacity Onikan Stadium. According to the Governor, the reconstruction of the oldest stadium in the country became necessary in order to promote the state’s desire to attain a host city status for local and international tournaments, as well as boost revenue generation of the state government.
The contractor handling the reconstruction project, SlavaBogu Limited, had noted that the rehabilitation works would include demolition of existing facilities, removal of old turfs, paved driveways, perimeter fence amongst others. It was also stated that the project would be delivered by December this year.
A visit by Nairametrics to the site reveals that work has slowed down on the project, as very few workers were seen working half-heartedly on the site. Apparently, the December 2018 delivery date is no longer feasible.
Residents are hopeful that a change in government will not affect the completion of this project.
The Red BRT buses
In 2007, the Babatunde Fashola-administration introduced the Lagos State Bus Asset Management Limited (LAGBUS) scheme. The LAGBUS was set up as a limited liability company and as a management collaboration between the Lagos state government and the NURTW.
In 2008, the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was born. The transport system employs a dedicated lane to deliver a fast, comfortable and cost-effective bus service to Lagosians.
The first phase of the Lagos BRT operated on a 22-kilometre highway that connects Mile 12 and Lagos Island while the second phase of the BRT, extending from CMS to Mile 12 to Ikorodu, was later implemented.
To enhance its operations, while allowing private sector participation in the BRT scheme, a franchise system was devised by LAGBUS. In 2012, the LAGBUS franchise became operational. It started with 10 franchise companies, 17 operating routes, and 238 buses.
When the Ambode Government assumed power and while the contract signed with LAGBUS by the franchisees was still running, the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) went into a controversial BRT franchise with another private firm, this time, Primero Transport Services Limited.
In 2016, the Ambode-led government banned the LAGBUS buses from the BRT scheme. It meant that LAGBUS-NURTW-controlled buses were no longer allowed to utilize the Ikorodu-Mile 12-CMS BRT corridor to load or drop passengers; they could only use the road like other private commercial vehicles.
Many residents blame operators of the Red buses for lack of proper management, as taking a ride in LAGBUS buses is now reminiscent of the old Molue. The old habits have returned, with some of the buses having more than one conductor. Indeed, more than three persons stand at the front and back doors calling out to passengers or shouting at those already inside the vehicles.
A new administration in the state may decide to return to the Fashola model or maintain the Ambode model.
The Fourth Mainland Bridge
On May 25, 2016, in a bid to reduce traffic on the three bridges connecting the Mainland to the Island, the Ambode administration signed a concession agreement with a consortium of domestic and foreign firms to construct the 4th Mainland Bridge with a length of 38 kilometres at a whopping cost of ₦844 billion.
The consortium comprised Visible Asset Limited, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc., Hi-tech Construction Limited, J.P. Morgan, Eldorado Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Westminster Dredging and Marine, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and Access Bank.
After the concession agreement was signed, an Advance Engineering Consultant, Mr. Ger Horgan put the actual cost of the bridge at ₦790 billion, though the 10-year follow-up programme for structural pavement between 2018 and 2033 would gulp ₦5 billion. Sadly, on May 22, 2017, the state government announced its decision to terminate the MoU it had entered with a consortium of the firm to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge at ₦844 billion.
On completion, the bridge will pass through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeiku towns along the shoreline of the Lagos Lagoon estuaries, further running through Igbogbo River Basin and crossing the Lagos Lagoon estuaries to Itamaga Area in Ikorodu. The alignment would further cut through the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu – Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos – Ibadan Expressway at Ojodu Berger axis. The four-lane dual carriageway is also designed to have eight interchanges to facilitate effective inter-connectivity between different parts of the state.
Work has since stopped on the very important project while Lagosians are hoping to heave sighs of relief on the completion of this project soon.
Governance should be a continuum, where an incoming administration continues with the projects and policies of the preceding administration, but this is not the case in the Nigerian political landscape as several projects are starved of funds immediately a new government comes into power. The Ambode administration also scrapped several policies and projects of the Fashola administration.
Whichever way the pendulum swings at the next governorship election in the state, the new administration should act maturely by improving the existing infrastructure in the state. The race of making Lagos a “smart city” can only be achieved if there is a consistent improvement of infrastructure in the state.