by Julie Okonofua
I have driven into Lagos many times before. I have come into Lagos by road through the Ojodu Berger end, through the Ikorodu end, and through the Epe end. I knew what these places looked like. The last time I came in through Ojodu Berger end was three years ago. Early this year, I had another opportunity to come into Lagos through that route. It was late evening, the lights shone brilliantly; the traffic was slightly heavy but free-flowing. Everywhere looked beautiful as we entered. I looked around, amazed at the level of transformation that had happened in Lagos between the last time I came in and then. I was still basking in the glory of the evening beauty when the voice of my driver brought me back to life.
“Welcome to Las Bergers,” he said.
My driver is fairly educated and had lived briefly in the US where he worked as a taxi driver at some point in his life. Back in Nigeria, he still opted for driving as a means of livelihood. In many ways therefore, I could relate with some of his comments while comparing Nigeria to America. That evening, Ojodu Berger made a lot of sense when he likened it to Las Vegas in the US. I felt good to be coming to Lagos once again. And it didn’t stop there.
I put up in Victoria Island and had a ride to the Magodo end of Mainland a couple of times. First, I noticed the travel time from Victoria Island to Magodo was smoother, shorter and more exciting for the typical Lagos driver. I saw that efforts made by the previous administration of Gov. Babatunde Fashola had been improved upon by the current Gov. Ambode administration. Smart expansions have been made at the Alapere axis, the Ogudu axis, and the Iyana-Oworo axis of that road. It made a lot of sense to me and everyone I know that has been using the road.
In my short stay in Lagos, I saw a few other things and spoke to quite a number of persons. The jubilee bridge in Ajah was a saver of the people in terms of reduction of frustrations from vehicular and human traffic. The same thing applies at Abule-Egba bridge. Then Pen Cinema axis of Agege is another case in point. That location is particularly notable because Lagos roads are considered free-flowing on Sundays. But not Pen Cinema. The traffic there on Sundays would usually create discomfort to road users, let alone the weekday traffic with heavy market activities going on. The ongoing 1.6km flyover in that location has been designed to take care of the traffic issues there.
There are various other intervention projects going on in various locations in the State including the 10-lane reconstruction of the International Airport Road. There are too numerous to mention here. I also saw the Oshodi Transport Interchange and all the massive transformations that are going on there. I saw the Ikeja Bus Terminal. For a vacation in Lagos, it was worth my while.
Other sectors are also not left out. Health, Security, Traffic Management, Education, etc. We need to see some significant contributions in some other areas. But generally, we are seeing a facelift everywhere. I will not vote in Lagos when its election time because I don’t live there, but I and everyone I know have said there will be no fuss come 2019. It has to be Ambode because his government is on a journey worth protecting.
I am not a politician and cannot effectively dissect indices that political players use to arrive at their decisions. But for the larger people of Lagos, my humble self, and every right-thinking progressive that I know, APC and Lagos for that matter, cannot afford to slow down on a development train that appears to be auto run. Lagos is on its way to a super structure State. It is the commercial pride of Nigeria and an emerging mega global destination. I believe the people in APC are wise. And a word, they say, is enough for the wise.
AUTHOR: Julie Okonofua, a business woman is writing from Benin-City, Edo State.