Infrastructure development is critical to achieving human capital development
in any society. 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.
As it is reflected in its six Pillars of 21st Century Economy is an integral part of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s plan to make Lagos greater. This, indeed, is what informed the administration’s recent flag-off of reconstruction work at the long-abandoned Lagos-Badagry Expressway. Conceptualized by the Lagos State Government in 1974 and constructed by the Federal Government in 1977 to inter-connect all countries of the West African sub-region as agreed upon by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Lagos-Badagry Expressway is one of the gateways that connect Nigeria with neighbouring West African countries such as Republic of Benin, Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast and a host of others. Considering its importance to local and foreign investors, tourists and many others, many have likened the road to the famous “The King’s Highway” in the United States, that is acclaimed the busiest road in the world, with about 500,000 vehicles daily. Unlike other roads in the country, the Lagos – Badagry Expressway clearly influences the first impression conceived by first time visitors to the country. Unfortunately, this much strategic road had suffered needless neglect for years. Its current state, no doubt, constitutes a serious dent on the image of not only the State, but the country at large.
It is, thus, quite logical that Lagos residents were extremely enthusiastic when the State Government recently flagged off the reconstruction of the road. For a government t h a t h a s m a d e i m p r o v e m e n t o f infrastructure across the State a prime mission, the reconstruction of the road is a plus to the Sanwo-Olu administration. Among others, notable features of the redesigned road include its reconstruction from 4 lanes to 10 lanes, comprising 2-toll lanes, 2 service lanes, 1-Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, Central reserve for 2-way Light Rail Mass Transit and various support infrastructures.
It is particularly pleasing to note that, unlike in the past, the Federal Government is actually providing the much desired support for the State Government in its bid to transform the road and bring succour to the people.
For a Government that has made improvement of infrastructure across the State a prime mission, the reconstruction of the road is a plus to the Sanwo-Olu administration.
It is equally gratifying that the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has commenced maintenance work on the 9.7km Okokomaiko to Agbara. It is equally instructive that the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing is also working on the reconstruction and expansion of the 28.5kmAgbara –Seme segment of the road to 6 lanes, to ease movement on the axis.
Being an investor’s friendly State, what the Lagos State Government will eventually achieve with the reconstruction of the Lagos- Badagry Expressway is a masterpiece, with aesthetic infrastructure and an explicit environment serenaded by street lights illuminating the 10 lane route to aid the convenience of local and foreign investors as well as residents along the route.
T h o u g h , a F e d e r a l G o v e r n m e n t responsibility, the Lagos State Government took up the enormous task of rebuilding the road in view of its strategic importance to the socio-economic well being of the State and, indeed, Nigeria at large.
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. We, however, appeal to Lagosians and all other critical stakeholders to cooperate with the contractors, as well as the State Government in order to ensure speedy delivery of the project.