12th July, 2010
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, has blamed the rain for the bad roads in the state, begging Lagosians for understanding as the government will fix the roads after the rains are gone.
The governor said even in Europe, there are bad roads during the winter, saying that the situation was not peculiar to Lagos State alone.
â€œThere was a bad winter in Europe. Immediately after it, almost all the roads were bad. They are now just fixing them,â€ he said.
According to Fashola, â€œin this period of increased rainfall, we want to say it once again that we are a coastal state which is very close to water and there is not much the state government can do until the rains are over.
â€œWe have to stabilize and be prepared that immediately after the rains, we will intervene. That is why LASTMA men are there to help make the roads motorable. Even the process of producing bitumen is not sustainable in this wet weather.â€
The governor spoke at a Retreat for cabinet members and the Permanent Secretaries in Lagos, Nigeria, saying that in the last three years, his administration had built more roads than even a country like Ghana had done.
He stressed the need for the existing roads to be maintained, adding that they had a lifespan which must be adhered to.
â€œSome are built to last between 15, 20 and 25 years, while some are feeder roads which are built on lower specifications and would need regular rehabilitation and maintenance.
â€œFrom the last quarter of last year till April this year, the state government carried out a lot of road repairs, patching and maintenance which the people did not complain about,â€ he stated, while appealing to the media to help in sharing information with the people on the need to understand that this was a rainy season.
He Â said it could only be left to the imagination what would have happened if Lagos goes without rains for eight months, adding that Â the people would not only complain but would also face the prospect of a dwindling source of water supply.
The governor sympathised with the people for the discomfort they were currently facing as a result of the heavy rains, saying that flooding normally Â occurs when there wasÂ tidal lock, depending on the area the people chose to live.
â€œYou chose to live close to water. Those who chose to live in cold regions also live with the discomfort that snow and winter brings when they cannot go out or travel. It is only three months. The rains will subside and we will have our lives back,â€ Fashola said.
On the issue of flooding which had been reported in some areas in the state despite measures put in place, Fashola reiterated that one of the recent laws he had passed, the law on physical planning, would have huge impact on whether an area was flood prone or not and how it could be quickly drained.
He described the rainy season as a good season for farmers and fishermen who would not complain about this period, stressing that the season representsÂ discomfort in the metropolis but a blessing in the rural areas.
â€œWe also haveÂ ports in Lagos which we make profits from, but this comes with a cost. Lagos isÂ two metres above the sea level and despite all the drainages that we have done, once the water level is higher than the drains, we will have the problem of floods. We have to be patient with nature to do its work.
â€œWe should be thankful to God that no casualty or devastation has happened as we are seeing across the world. 19 people died in France last week from floods. Government continues to rise to those challenges. Those bad areas in Gbagada, Idi-Araba, ilasamaja we have conquered the flood problems in those areas and implemented solutions and we will continue to do our level best,â€ he stated.
Fashola also disclosed that the performance of the 2010 budget in the second quarter of the year was 80 percent, which is an improvement of the first quarter budget performance, which stood at 49 percent.
â€œWe will continue to task ourselves to even do better by dedicating ourselves. We expect that if the revenue continues to perform, we will continue to use it to deliver services that will meet the hope and expectations of our people,â€ he said.
Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze, said the state had done very well generally in terms of performance but was not fully on its target yet just as it had also done well with other sources of funding.
According to him,Â inÂ the second quarter, the state took great advantage of the dry season to step up its project execution, stressing that this explained why its capital expenditure on performance grew and covered whatever shortfall it had in the first quarter.