Fashola’s Lagos: The Truth, The Myth And The Reality

pmnews-placeholder

Recently, in the thick of the politicking that heralded the primary elections in the political parties, one of the aspirants to the office of the governor of Lagos State raised a poser through his campaign poster with regards to whether Lagosians’ lives have changed for good under Fashola’s administration. Since one distinguishing feature of democracy is freedom of speech and expression, we deem it necessary to resort to our constitutional right of expression, based on information and facts at our disposal, to reiterate that the four years of Governor Fashola in office has left Lagosians better than he met them.

It should be clearly stated, from the outset that, there is no government anywhere in the world that could tackle all developmental challenges facing its people in the course of its lifetime in office. However, one thing that separates leaders who make history from others is ability to make use of available resources for the benefits of all. This is where Fashola has made his mark!

His landmarks in Lagos are already too familiar as the administration has spared no effort in ensuring that citizens of the state enjoy the dividends of democracy to the fullest. For instance, Lagosians now enjoy unfettered access to qualitative healthcare without geographical, financial, cultural or political barriers. This has been done through the building, upgrading and equipping of General Hospitals in all the Local Government Areas of the state and the siting of maternal and child care centres in 13 locations across the 5 divisions of the state. This is in addition to the “Eko Free Health Mission”, which is aimed at saving the lives of Lagosians by diagnosing and treating of ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, eye problems, and dental ailments as well as performing of basic surgeries free of charge.

In the area of education, the “Eko Secondary Education Project”, which was inaugurated with the assistance of the World Bank, has significantly led to improved results in core subjects such as English, Mathematics and the sciences compared to the baseline assessment done at the beginning of the project.

Equally, massive rehabilitation of public schools has been embarked upon by the Fashola administration as students now learn under conducive environment. Free text books are also being given to students in public schools to assist in their educational development. Realising that the efforts of the state government alone could not be enough to meet the challenges in the sector, the Fashola administration decided to partner with the private sector through the ‘Support Our Schools’ initiative. This idea has yielded result with donation of blocks of classrooms, text books and other facilities by individuals and corporate bodies.

Lagos has since 2007 become a huge construction site, with developmental projects being embarked in unprecedented proportion across the state, as the administration continues its untiring effort in making Lagos Africa’s fastest growing megacity. In demonstrating its commitment towards the provision of an enduring infrastructure that will improve the economic growth of the state, in 2008 and 2009 alone, the state government committed a total of N91.96bn for the construction of new roads and rehabilitation of existing ones as well as the provision of other road infrastructure.

Some of these roads are: LASU-Iba road, Ago Palace Way extension, Bourdillon-Tokunbo Road, Lekki Expressway, Adetokunbo Ademola street, Kingsway Road in Ikoyi, Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, Okota-Itire link bridge, Amuwo-Festac, Olowopopo Road, Alausa, Ikeja, just to mention a few.

In the area of public security, the state government has become more creative and daring in its effort to ensure a secure state where all could live, invest and interact without any fear. This is the motive behind the establishment of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund in 2007 through which the state government partners with individuals and corporate organisations in the state to effectively address the security question. Before the fund was established, crime rate in the state was alarming, bank robberies became rife in different parts of the state, and the use of public buses to rob was on the increase, car snatching, ritual killing and burglary had become almost normal activities in the metropolis. But the trend has now changed tremendously as evident in the 2010 report of the Lagos State Police Command. The former state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo at the Fourth Town Hall meeting of the fund held at the Civil Centre, Victoria Island,

He reported that crime had drastically nosedived by 79 percent between October 2009 and September, 2010. He added that through the fund, the state police command had taken delivery of 1,500 bulletproof vests, 1,000AK-47 rifles, 500 walkie talkies, 1500 patrol vehicles, 444 motorcycles, 20 APCs were purchased as well as 2 helicopters. To date, the fund has increased to over to N6.2 billion in material and funding in aid of the police and other security agencies. The effect of this flow of resources has been continual security as official police statistics and independent reports have shown.

Other sectors where the Fashola administration has touched the lives of Lagosians include the environment, rural development, provision of potable water, grassroots sports development, youth development among others. Like it has been said earlier, no government, the world over, has the resources to meet the developmental aspirations of the people, but given what it has done so far the Fashola government has demonstrated that it has genuine intention to transform the lives of the people.

—Biliqis Bakare