It is 8.00 am, Thursdays morning ,commuters and passengers are stranded! On their lips ,they are wondering when the next bus will come? This is Abesan Estate , a suburb of , Lagos. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) is nowhere to be found and the blue ones are almost extinct! Abesan Estate is some thirty minutes drive to Ikeja ,the capital of Lagos State ,the commercial heartbeat of Nigeria and biggest economy in Africa !
One the features of a modern city and a smart city is good transportation network. A feature Lagos is trying to attain and is confused on how to attain this. It looks as if the transport sector in the hands of mostly illiterate urchins and touts, the city’s transport sector can be said to be in a state of limbo,leaving the commuters helpless and confused. Driving to work is a no go area…due to traffic jam and this affects the vehicle in the long term.
The present governor of Lagos State, Mr, Ambode is desirous and keen in making Lagos work, like an Augean stable, he must clean it, as it stands now, he is doing a great job in that regard.
The long years of neglect by previous administration especially during the military era has left a city of over 15 million inhabitants with no decent transpiration and lack metro and modern railway systems that could be found in other climes.
As efforts are being put into place to salvage whatever that is left of the transport by building railways. There is need for palliative measure. Buses can be deployed in some areas that have been under services such as Ipaja, Ayobo, Idimu, Abule Egba and environs.
Badagry – Lagos Island metro is seriously ongoing but has started on or off track over 6 years now. The locomotive from Ogun via Oshodi and terminating at Iddo is still on though, dilapidated and over used. As we can find in the pictures.
Lagos is a mega city and must be given a mega status by the Federal Government, the infrastructural decay is too huge and mind boggling for the state to bear alone. Transportation is one place that the city needs intervention. Stakeholders have called for a public sector private partnership (PPP) arrangement. This has proven to work in other cities of the world like Tokyo ,which accommodates over 35 million people and almost double the size of Lagos ! With an efficient transport system, Tokyo has demonstrated that in the midst if crowed places, there can be sanity.
According to a report by Stephen Smith, an analyst at City Lab “… in 1987, the government privatized the Japanese National Railways (JNR), which operated every type of transit except trams and inner-city metros. JR East, JR Central, and JR West, the three spin-offs operating around Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, respectively, emerged healthy and profitable. They were able to pay back their construction debt and make capital improvements to their networks, reversing the stagnation and decline that JNR had seen over the previous decade.
Privatization was later applied to Tokyo Metro, the largest subway network in the city. And according to Tatsuhiko Suga, who has been active in Japanese railways for decades and now leads Japan’s Foundation for Transport Publications, the city’s other metro network, Toei, may also be thrown into the mix by the time the process is complete. (Privatization in Japan has been nothing if not slow, a strategy which seems to have paid off.) All railways now strive to emulate the private firms, but metro systems outside of Tokyo have not attempted privatization”, he concluded. Lagos must emulate and copy Tokyo !
In a capitalist economy, productivity is measured in man hours, this is what the Lagos government and other African government must have a good grasp of. The idea of having to wait for a bus for hours before one can board can be said to be counter productive due to man hours lost.
As Lagos tries to “seek” for an admission into the elitist club of smart cities. One of the vital places the state must look into is the infrastructure. An efficient transportation is the key, manned by specialist not by some urchins that might harass people after such a long wait.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu