One major index of social change and development today, especially in Africa, is infrastructure development as particularly epitomized by the construction of roads and bridges. No nation can boast of having achieved development if a large percentage of her roads are impassable.
Infrastructure development is critical to achieving human capital development in any society. The economic impact that infrastructure improvement has on nation building cannot be over-emphasised. The growth of any country’s economy hugely depends on the status of its infrastructure. The dearth of needed infrastructure in a given society places serious limitation on human capital development.
It is in view of its crucial role to achieving rapid economic growth that advanced nations of the world commit huge investment to infrastructural development. J.F. Kennedy, a former President of the United States of America, USA, once put the relationship between infrastructure development and economic prosperity into a proper perspective when he affirmed that: “America has good roads, not because America is rich, but America is rich because it has good roads”.
According to the World Bank, every 1% of government funds spent on infrastructure leads to an equivalent 1% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which invariably means that there is a correlation between any meaningful inputs in infrastructure development which reflects on economic growth, indices, hence the value of infrastructure cannot be underplayed.
It is, therefore, in an effort to ensure even and accelerated development in all parts of Lagos State, that the Akinwunmi Ambode administration places high premium on infrastructure development as evident in the construction and rehabilitation of road network across the state. It is, indeed, particularly soothing to note that the state government has placed a great emphasis on development of more inner roads in order to ease the peculiar Lagos traffic gridlock.
Just a few days ago, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, gave the people of Alimosho a rare Easther gift when he commissioned newly completed 21 roads and three bridges connecting the state with Ogun State, with the intent of easing traffic movement and improving inter connectivity between the two states. The roads commissioned are Ikola Road with Odo Obasanjo Bridge – 6.4km (from Ipaja/Command to Ilo River); Ogunseye Road – 1.75km (from Ajasa/Command to Ikola Road);Oko Filling Road – 1.5km (from AIT to Ilo River).Others include Osenatu Ilo road – 620m (from Ibari Road to Ilo River); Amikanle road – 3.1km (from AIT to Ogunseye Road); Aina Aladi road – 1.9km (from AIT to Ilo River) and Aiyetoro Road with a bridge– 1.4km (from New Market/Ishefun Road intersection to Ilo River).
Speaking at the commissioning, Governor Ambode paid tribute to his predecessors, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for their pacesetting works in opening up Alimosho and indeed the entire Lagos West for rapid development. Reiterating the significance of the project, Governor Ambode said: “What we are doing today is momentous as we are connecting over 60 communities together and we are happy to do this.” With this new development, Lagos residents along the axis need not take the usual LASU-Iyana Iba course to Badagry. Hopefully, this will help in stabilizing traffic along the Lagos-Abeokuta Road as well as the Iyana-Ipaja/ LASU-Iyana Iba route.
In furtherance of the Lagos State government’s resolve to open up more communities in the state through the construction of inner roads, the Aboru Link Bridge was constructed and commissioned for public use two years ago. The 500 meters bridge, which was designed to last for over 100 years, serves as a major link road to Iyana-Ipaja from Abule-Egba, Abesan Housing Estate, Ayobo-Ipaja, LASU-Iba and Okokomaiko. It has huge positive socio-economic effects on eight communities along the axis. These are Agbelekale, Aboru, Abesan, Iyana-Ipaja, Ayobo, Ipaja and the neighbouring Ogun State. With the coming of the Link Bridge also came construction of numerous other link roads along the axis such as Aboru road, Ogunfisayo Street as well as Kasumu Street. In order to sustain current tempo of development along the axis, additional seven link roads are on the verge of being completed.
Similarly, in the Badagry axis, a major leap towards improving infrastructure was taken with the completion of the Imeke-Ajido Bridge, a major link bridge in the axis. Similarly, construction of a 17km network of roads connecting Aradagun to Whispering Palms, a major tourist resort in the State, is on-going. The completion of the project is essentially strategic to the opening up of the entire Badagry axis.
It will be recalled that the Ambode administration had earlier empowered Local Councils in the State to rehabilitate 114 inner roads, estimated at a cost of N17.5billion across the 20 Local Governments (LGs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State. The inner roads project was executed to standard requirement with street lights, sidewalks and covered drains. More significantly, about 6,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs were created in local communities across State through the initiative. Aside making life better for Lagos residents, these roads now simplify the ease of doing business in several local communities.
Similarly, a total of 181 community roads across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State are currently on the brink of being completed. The initiative to rehabilitate inner roads aptly underscores the resolve of the Ambode administration to even development across the State.
In the last three years, there has been an audacious attempt to renew infrastructure across the state. Just recently, President Buhari commissioned a World Class Bus Terminal at Ikeja while many of such are to be replicated at strategic centers across the state. Similarly, while commemorating last year’s Democracy Day, the state government commissioned a host of projects which include the Ajah and Abule-Egba Jubilee Bridges, the Ojodu-Berger Pedestrian Bridge as well as numerous inner roads across the state.
Presently, work is also on-going on the Pen Cinema /Agunbiade Flyover which is an obvious next step in the provision of sustainable infrastructure and a means to relieving the traffic grid lock within the corridor. The project entails the construction of reinforced concrete Bridge over Pen- Cinema junction and Agunbiade/Old Abeokuta road junction respectively with a spur linking Old Abeokuta road to the elevated deck and rehabilitation of adjoining roads. The adjoining Roads will be improved upon to act as effective detour during construction of the flyover. The project is complemented by traffic signalization of the intersections. When completed, Pen Cinema flyover will help reduce the traffic grid lock along the axis.
Similarly, the redevelopment of the Lagos Airport Road into a 10 lane international standard highway is on course while work is equally progressing on the Oshodi Transport Interchange which when completed is bound to change the face of public transportation in the entire country.
If governance is truly about adding value to people’s lives and propounding creative solutions to critical societal needs, then the Lagos State government is actually on the right path in its pact with the citizenry. Lagosians are implored to protect and preserve these roads infrastructure as they represent our collective heritage.
Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja