“It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few and for the few and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity.” Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State.
The lives and prospects of the people are the boon of the State’s development and as such the need to hinge the success of the next administration on the people by ensuring that the government is reasonably wide-reaching. It’s no news that in a couple of days, the gubernatorial election of Lagos State would be held. As such, power might either change hands or the present administration would continue with the marathon for the next four years. Lagos state is a megacity with a burgeoning population.
Governing a city like Lagos is no small feat. The government of Lagos state should be lauded for the giant strides it has and is making towards the attainment of a prosperous administration. Indeed the slogan, “Centre of Excellence” is upheld as Lagos State sets the example for other states to follow. Lagos undertook it THEMES agenda which is its own simulation of the seventeen Structural Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations Organisation.
More steps need to be taken by the in-coming administration. In the succeeding paragraphs, the issues and concerns of the previous and present administration would be discussed as well as the changes that are expected to be made by the next administration. Every problem has a solution; it may sometimes just need another perspective. Problems need to be dug from the root and not by merely hacking at the leaves.
Lagos has been drawn back by some stumbling blocks over the years. These include: overpopulation, corruption, flooding, inefficient waste management systems, pollution, traffic jam, insecurity, housing matters, inadequate transportation services, inadequate power supply, unclean water, ineffective health care services and unemployment, amongst other issues.
Corruption is a menace that has deeply eaten into the fabric of previous administrations. The Freedom of Information Act has helped in exposing the activities of members of the administration, especially those in the Public Service. Citizens should be encouraged to come forward (without fear) to expose their grievances. Also, as regards the new cashless policy and the change in legal-tender. It has its advantages and disadvantages. The government has proposed this policy as a means to curb corruption. However, these policies have to be revised per-time because new times call for new or reformed laws.
Quite a good number of these issues flow from the fact that Lagos is densely populated. It common for certain areas in Lagos (Example: Idi-Araba) to be flooded during the rainy season. The government needs to build more drainage systems. Also, whenever houses are to be built (especially in places where roads might be expanded in the future) by individuals, the individuals should be advised to build their houses in such a way as to allow for the future expansion of roads and the construction of drainage systems.
Closely related to this, is the issue of inefficient waste management systems. The masses should be advised to dispose their waste in appropriate places. Fines and punishment ought to be meted out to defaulters. In addition, the waste management authorities should be more proactive and they should ensure that the waste of the citizens are collected periodically.
Another issue that is quite similar to the point stated above is, pollution. Pollution could come in diverse ways. It could be: Noise pollution, air pollution, water pollution, amongst others. Our world is fast-becoming a technology-driven world. Hence, activities that were stress-filled can now be done with little or no effort. Silent generators can now be used, unnecessary honking of vehicle horns should be prohibited and punishments should be meted out to defaulters. Non-fuel-using vehicles and machines can be used. Individuals should be educated on the disadvantages of pollution and how it depletes the ozone layer. Individuals should not dispose their waste in water bodies. Industries should be situated far away from where individuals live, so not to contaminate the air and water bodies.
Lagos has a burgeoning population and as such, the daily traffic jam rate is worrying. People who live in Apapa can testify to this. To solve this problem, the containers on the road should be cleared. They should have a site where these containers stay, so as not to cause any road obstruction. Also, these containers should be advised to move slowly at night to their site, when they would be minimal number of vehicles on the road. As regards housing, there have been unaffordable housing facilities. There have also been issues of faulty house structures. Collapse of built structures has been rampant over the years. To solve this, the government should provide accommodation facilities at affordable rates.
Also, the Lagos State Ministry of housing should carry out intermittent inspection of housing structures in the states so as to protect the lives and properties of its inhabitants. Transportation services have also been ineffective. Sometimes last year, the government banned the use of commercial motorcycles, generally known as “Okada” in some local government councils in Lagos State. This came with some advantages and some disadvantages. As a result of this ban, there was an increase in the fare of other commercial vehicles. This ban was aimed at reducing robbery and some unscrupulous activities. Also, commercial vehicles were instructed not to stay under bridges. To solve this problem, the government should regulate the activities of the motorcycles and as an alternative, other forms of affordable commercial vehicles should be established.
On the issue of insecurity, vandalism, robbery and other social vices have been on the increase over the years. During the End SARS a lot of public properties were vandalized by the masses. There have also been cases of robbery. To solve this, the masses should be educated on the effects of their vandalism. Closed circuit television should be set up in the state. Also, the police should be more active and ready to intervene when they are called upon.
Unemployment is a biting hard into the fabric of Lagos. There are a lot of graduates who or unemployed or under-employed. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. No wonder! There is an increase in social vices. To solve this, citizens should learn how to do things with their heads, hands and feet. If there are no jobs, we can invent new jobs. The government should make vocational and intellectual trainings compulsory for every citizen.
Inadequate electricity and power supply is one of the problems that affects every citizen. The prices of kerosene, diesel, petrol, cooking gas and kerosene, amongst others have been on the increase. Recently, the queues in the fuel stations has been nothing to write home about. To solve this, alternative sources of energy such as water, wind or solar energy should be used to supply power. Ineffective health care services has also been an issue that has affected the administration. Although laudable measures have been taken by the present administration, more measures still
need to be taken by the government. Health is wealth. Good state of the body and mind is a prerequisite for the development of the State. To solve this issue, health care services should be easily accessible and they should be provided at an affordable rate. Individuals should be advised on the disadvantages of brain, medical practitioners should be paid well.
In conclusion, “I’m tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t work. We are supposed to work it.” Lagos state is filled with milk and honey. I foresee a state that would lend to nations (without becoming bankrupt). Lagos is great! Nigeria is great! The governor and the governed have to collectively work out the success of the new administration. Change begins with you and me! Idagbasoke Eko lo je wa logun.
OYAWOYE OYINKANSOLA MARY
UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS