The Lagos Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Jimi Agbaje, has promised that his government would declare an emergency on roads, rid the state of potholes and complete the Apapa-Badagry Expressway in record time.
Agbaje also promised that his regime would spread even distribution of infrastructural development through the 20 local governments as well as embark on a programme of mass housing.
“As at today, Lagos has just about the worst network of the tributary, primary and secondary roads amongst the world’s megacities. We are going to bring a drastic improvement to the situation by launching OPERATION ZERO POTHOLES as soon as we come into government in the state,” Agbaje said. “This policy shall be the fulcrum of the emergency on roads that we shall be immediately declaring.”
In a press statement signed Tuesday by his Director of Media, Felix Oboagwina, Agbaje also promised that his government would unfold a pocket-friendly mass housing scheme targeted at the urban poor as part of his government’s plan to improve Lagos’s liveability index.
He said the housing scheme would partly be directly handled by government and through creating an enabling environment for private building agencies.
According to him, his government would be bringing residents close in proximity to industrial and commercial centres.
“We shall not be waiting for the Federal Government to bring palliative solutions on the roads, but we shall lead in the maintenance of the Federal highways and present our invoice for repayment,” he promised.
According to Agbaje, these programmes would happen by turning the works and housing ministries and directorates into a robust project-executing arm of the government and by placing the resuscitation of the Public Works Department on the priority list.
He said that the unhealthy condition of roads in Lagos meant that people spent much of their day in traffic, but that improvements in the road network would automatically slash travel time.
The PDP candidate said that under him, the Apapa-Badagry highway that had been left hanging for years would be completed, even if it meant funding the project and retrieving its cost from the Federal Government.
Agbaje lamented: “It is scandalous that a road project that began in 2009 with a delivery time of three years has stretched to 10 years with no end in sight. Neither the highway nor the Blue Line, the first phase of the accompanying rail-line design, has been delivered going on 10 years now. Even worse, the entire project has become a stinking cesspool of corruption. Travelling has become a nightmare. And the travelling experience in that axis has become an international embarrassment.”
Also, he promised to complete the ongoing development in the Epe region.
“A study has shown that tackling traffic gridlocks will cut travelling time by 50 per cent and boost tourism by 500 per cent,” he said. “You can begin to imagine the windfall in revenue generation to the state and the Federal Government.”
The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority will be given a human face, equipped with modern gadgets as well as an orientation in its area of core competence to manage traffic flow, he said.
“Lagosians spend too much time on the road, with attendant stress that results in accidents and health issues,” he noted.
Reiterating that his government’s infrastructural development policy aimed at placing the individual at the centre of planning and implementation, Agbaje said: “We will go slow on mass demolitions, but where we must uproot residents for societal interests, their compensation and rehabilitation will be topnotch in line with international best practice and United Nations stipulations.”
On his formula for solving the Apapa gridlock, Agbaje said he would keep it under the lid for now, but “suffice to say that we shall be forging a close collaboration with the Petroleum Target Drivers of NUPENG, tanker employers and other players in the transportation and haulage industry.”