The candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi, says the traffic nightmare that Lagosians have contended with for years can be solved by focusing on three things – rail transport, use of barges and devolution of powers.
Mr Gbadamosi said this during The Platform’s Lagos Governorship Debate on Sunday evening when asked about the inability of successive governments to solve the gridlock, especially in the Apapa axis of the state.
He said, “There are a number of ways to tackle this problem. The most obvious one is rail. Secondly, barges to lift containers from the actual wharfs and take them to lighter terminals all around Lagos, and, thirdly, devolution of powers. It’s time we started this discussion about devolution of power.”
According to Gbadamosi, the ports, being in Lagos and the level of revenue being lost as a result of the gridlock is unconscionable.
“I’m not having it,” he said. “So, the first thing we are going to do is to copy the Ethiopians and build a heavy rail line, the length of Lagos State – all the way from Badagry to Ode Omi with branches going up to every exit point by road of Lagos.
“The point with this is that all of these exit points must have container terminals where the trains will pass through Apapa and Ibafo will deposit their goods so that people coming from out of state, which is quite common, will not clog up the roads with their trailers.”
Beyond this, Gbadamosi said Apapa, which is worst hit by traffic in the state is one of eight local governments that are captured under his Lagos Integrated Regeneration Plan.
“We are going to be pouring the money that AlphaBeta is currently taking to make sure that we regenerate that,” he said.
The ADP candidate had earlier identified traffic as a priority for him should he get into office and he intends to immediately tackle it simultaneously with the pay of public servants – his top priority.
“We are going to be looking at traffic – simultaneously, at the same time (with public sector pay). We are going to be looking at the traffic situation because we are spending too many man hours in traffic,” he said.
In his estimation, every Lagosian spends an average of six hours every day going to work and back.
Part of his plans to tackle the issue is water transport.
“We are going to introduce high volume, high-speed passenger ferries across Lagos,” he said.
Gbadamosi who informed Lagosians that he had not been in government or handled public funds, stressed that his private sector experience would help him effectively govern the state, especially as it has instilled in him the much-needed understanding of prudence which is needed.
“Very much like Alhaji Lateef Jakande, that oft-quoted former governor of Lagos State, I am coming in from the cold. I have never been in government, I have never been a banker, I have never handled public finances at all,” he said in introducing himself.
For him, what was more important is his experience in the private sector, especially how he avoided pitfall synonymous with Lagos in growing his business.
He said, “I am coming in from the private sector. I have built an estate – pretty much in the model of what I plan to build in Lagos State, provided infrastructure, provided power for the last eight years non-stop, provided water for the last eight years non-stop, built a network of roads and drains and somehow, despite being in the Lekki Peninsular area, I avoided being flooded out.”