By ABUBAKAR YUSUF.
Lagos State is a Cosmopolitan city that was long overdue for special status in Nigeria being sought through a constitutional pronouncement.
As the economic and commercial capital of Nigeria with high percentage and comfort of ease of doing business, both for Nigerians and non Nigerians along take advantage of its habitable potentials.
The positive developement had attracted many visitors and residents to Lagos that engaged both in white collar jobs,public and private engagements, highly skilled and unskilled jobs, as well as self sustenance with a robust economy.
Aside the influx of people into Lagos State, many neighborhood states also depended on the thriving Lagos economy to key into the activities of Lagos State without resistance and hesitation.
Without mincing words,states like Ogun, Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Osun, Delta, Kwara, that had proximity of boundary and distance with Lagos State, also took advantage of the rich potentials of the state to annexe some daily activities of the heart beat of the Nigeria.
No doubt,many years ago,as the former Nigeria Capital,the leadership of the country at that point in time, envisaged a haywire congestion that included both human and vehicular movement, along with other activities, that muted the idea of relocating the Nigeria capital to Abuja,as the new Federal Capital Territory FCT .
Though,it served a purpose and the countenance of the overstretched facility in Lagos state,but the reverse of the case after so many years of relocation,Lagos still remained not only the most populated city in the West African sub region,but the fastest growing city in the world.
Contending with over 20 Million indigenes amidst COVID, according to the last population census in the early 2000,the influx into Lagos on a daily basis particularly in the last years had being at alarming rates,all geared towards the greener pastures as Lagos State is the hub of all activities.
With the official population figures and the unofficial figures,that had tripled ,it is obvious that the adminstrative wisdom of the current political leaders in the state,under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was modest, to arrest the present realities.
In doing this,efforts must go beyond being redoubled to address not only population surge, but inadequate facilities used by the highly/ densely populated Lagos State.
This ranges from Infrastructural development like Roads, Housing, Agriculture, as well as social services that will addressed myriads of social problems like provision of Water, Light, Education, Health and other engagements including Job creation at all levels in tandem with the fastest growing lagos population.
Even with high IGR and other sources of revenue accrued to the State, it is glaringly impossible to address the contending infrastructural and social services of Lagos State, hence the government decision to look inward and embrace assessment of Bond from the stock market rather than loans from the commercial Banks and financial institutions through the Lagos Debt Management Office.
With frugal leadership and well groomed professionals under the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration,as well as his financial advisors including the Finance Commissioner, Dr Olowo Rabiu to nip in the bud the desiring infrastructural upgrade , so as to avoid unforseen circumstances.
Because of the dexterity and professional advises of the political leadership under Sanwo-Olu’s administration,Lagos State has the capacity of assessing 500 Billion Bond life line in the life of this administration,but it choose to initially access 100 Billion Bond to mitigate infrastructural decay, and now it’s intention to access another 185 Billion based on the need assessment totalling 285 Billion when approved through the Lagos State DMO.
The justification of Lagos State assessing 500 Billion or more as Bond from the capital market,is the high demand of both Infrastructural and social facilities,as well as the robust IGR the state had maintained in the last two years of the present administration.
For a state that grew the IGR from 30s to 40s in the first quarter of 2021 and expected to do more in both the second, third and fourth quarter,with first quarter amounted to about 127 Billion from January to March 2021,the justification of hitting 500 Billion in 2021 was already evident.
With huge investments in all sectors of the economy of Lagos State under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu,the justification is obvious that the new request for additional 185 Billion Bond by Lagos Debt Management Office, will not only bridge the growing gap of infrastructure in Lagos,but will quickly and urgently improved on the existing template adopted by the present administration.
Lagos State is known as a stable of all Nigerians irrespective of creed, religion, section or tribe, it behoves and commendable on the current administration in the state to tackle all envisaged issues with proactiveness it deserved.
With successes recorded by the current administration and its hardworking team in the last two years,their is a strong conviction that the current request when approved,will be channeled for the purpose intended.
The laudable decision to approach the capital market by the Debt Management Office of Lagos State is modest, more lenient and more assessible not only to the government of Lagos State but ordinary Lagosians.
Abubakar Yusuf,Is A Media Consultant, Writes From Abuja.