Of Lagos and its potentials
THERE is a book entitled “Success is not an accident” which I read last year. Indeed, the author has a clear understanding of the impact of deliberate decisions.One of the reasons I like one young man I am currently mentoring is that he often says to me: “God will intentionally bless you sir.” What has attracted me most in this prayer is the word ‘intentionally.’Lagos is a state that has been so deliberate and intentional in whatever it does. Its development is not an accident. Recently, I got an SMS from a Lagos State agency stating that I have been penalised for driving with an expired vehicle license but the vehicle papers were actually renewed that same day after it was brought from a workshop where repairs and upgrades were carried out on it. How did they get to know? This was the first question I asked. ‘Through traffic camera, probably at Ikoyi’ was the answer from a brother who understands auto database management. However, the only error was that the system has a time lag between the renewal of papers and the database to which camera pictures were synchronised.They know that they may not be right at all times and so there is room to contest or object to the bill if one could prove that the basis was wrong, and they will delete the fine.
Payment option was also there with the card. In my own case. I objected because my papers were renewed that same day the car came out of the mechanic workshop. What a wonderful state moving towards the level of the advanced nations of the world in billing and traffic offence management.There are two major factors for this development. One of the factors is that Lagos as a former capital of Nigeria and two, there are intentional and deliberate development programmes.That Lagos is a former capital of Nigeria is an advantage that will continue to work for it. When the capital was moved to Abuja, it remains a Centre of Excellence. Apapa Sea port and the airport at Ikeja could be regarded as part of key projects that put Lagos at an advantage. Secondly, regardless of the capital city advantage, there are deliberate and intentional projects that have set Lagos apart. These projects include:
Lekki Free Trade Zone: Most manufacturing projects aimed at solving our import dependence problems are at Lekki Free Trade Zone. No state in Nigeria can stand shoulder to shoulder with Lagos on this. Lekki Deep Sea Port: One major asset that any nation requires for international business is the sea but the sea can only be useful if the port is well-developed. Newly completed Lekki Deep Sea Port is a Lagos State idea and that is one key project that is unique in Africa. Dangote Refinery: If anyone is in doubt about the impact of Dangote Refinery in Nigeria, the person just needs to wait a little and see how Nigeria will stop the importation of finished petroleum products. In addition to that, fuel scarcity and heavy demand for Forex to import fuel will end with Dangote Refinery. Ikoyi Link Bridge and Lekki/Epe Expressway: These two projects are wonderful. Those who link Ikoyi from Admiralty Way in Lekki Phase 1 would understand better. The traffic situation that people used to experience before that bridge came into being was hell. When the road from Victoria Island is fully completed to Epe, then driving around Lagos Island will be very easy.
Lekki Airport: There is no doubt that Lagos needs more than one airport, thus another one is proposed for Lekki. The economic impact is so huge that it will be difficult to project the positive impact for now.
The new Blue Rail Line: Very soon, moving around Lagos will become so easy, as most cars will be off the road. Once traffic is reduced, productivity will increase. Rail transportation is one thing that sets London apart from any city in the world while China is doing everything possible to have rail lines and stations that beat the western designs. The Tax Collection System: The Lagos Tax System is super. Whenever you pay tax in any bank in Lagos, you are issued the coloured receipt instantly. In some states in Nigeria, you may not get a receipt for one month. In Lagos, there are some dedicated staff that call taxpayers and they are so pleasant on the phone while reminding themto pay within a particular time. The BRT Lanes and Buses: This is one project that is unique and it will complement the metro rail. No state can match this. Lagos Judicial System: Lagos has Fast Track Courts, Small Claims Courts and a lot of uncommon innovations in the administration of Justice in Lagos State. Kudos to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for his role when he was Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, but in addition, kudos to those who came after him and continued to improve on the foundations.
Eko Atlantic City: The US Embassy has laid the foundation of its embassy which has the office and residence of staff at the site. The project is one unique one that has attracted investors from all over the world. No such anywhere in Nigeria. Finally, the giant of them all is the 4th Mainland Bridge which has a 4-year completion time. The kind of business impact along that bridge is beyond explanations and imagination. It will traverse Abraham Adesanya to Badore and then on the lagoon to Ikorodu, and it will burst out on Lagos Ibadan Expressway way around Sparklight estate. Practical nexus between development, increase in IGR and these projects, show clearly why no state in Nigeria can match Lagos State’s economic power.
- Dr. Adeoye, a lawyer and chartered accountant, writes in via email@example.com