BY OWOLABI FALANA
As part of the efforts to combat problems of gridlock and wasted man-hours in Lagos, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu after his assumption into office on May 29, 2019, expressed his commitment to bring the Blue and Red Line projects to completion during his first term in office. In order to fulfil this promise and reach this milestone, our amiable governor was able to deliver this project and get it opened in December 2022, giving Lagosians a remarkable Christmas gift.
It is imperative to note that men will always make their own history in life, but they do not make it just as they please neither do they make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past.
In this instance, the vision of Governor Sanwo-Olu for a greater Lagos through the Lagos Blue and Red Line Rail project has resulted in the making of history at the Centre of Excellence, adding a significant step to his list of illustrious accomplishments.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the 15th governor of Lagos state has built on the legacy of his forebears in the highly sought-after position of the chief executive officer of the Centre of Excellence, creating history and breaking records in the process.
History has been made in Lagos state with the completion of the 13km electronic-powered Lagos Blue Line Rail Phase 1 Scheme (Marina to Mile 2) infrastructure, which was tested on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, and officially commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 24, 2023.
The Blue Line rail project of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit being constructed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) 27-kilometre rail route designed to run from Okokomaiko eastwards to Mile 2 and then proceed to Marina via Ijora. The 13km of Phase One of the Blue Line rail project is fully ready for operation with five stations, which are Marina, National Theatre, Orile, Suru-Alaba, and Mile 2. The Phase Two of the project is from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.
This project which is coming just exactly 120 years after the first tramway system was launched here in the city of Lagos in 1902 is expected to transport 250,000 passengers daily and, when completed, the entire 27km will transport about 500,000 passengers daily with each train comprising four coaches and each coach taking up to 180 passengers conveniently.
Given that Phase 1 of the Blue Line, which is the first segment of the network was supposed to be completed in 2011, but construction has been delayed due to a lack of funds and a change in government, there is no doubt that the start of this project’s operations last year sparked new hopes for an improved transportation experience. It is however expedient to remind us that the Lagos state government began talks with potential investors for the line’s operation and maintenance in May 2012.
Historically, the monumental idea of building a Rapid Transit System (RTS) in Lagos dated back to former Governor Lateef Jakande’s administration’s proposal of the Lagos Metroline network in 1983, as well as the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s significant reforms of the Lagos state transportation system that began in 1999 while he was the governor of the State.
In line with the aforementioned, traffic management and transportation, which is the first pillar of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s six pillars’ THEMES agenda, outlines his vision for an integrated transportation system and a multimodal transportation strategy that seamlessly brings together all the various transportation components which include road, rail, and water systems. It is therefore important to emphasise at this juncture that the fact that our working governor has accomplished so much since his assumption in office testifies to his love and enthusiasm for the socio-economic advancement of Lagos and its residents.
The governor understands that investing significantly in entrepreneurship skill development, innovation and creativity, public finance management, and human capital development is the one major way to realise the greater Lagos dream, more reason why education is also a key component of the THEMES agenda.
We have hundreds of our teachers, as well as many traders and business operators, coming from these border towns to work in Lagos, and with the completion of the Lagos Blue and Red Line Rail System, I believe that their disposable incomes and productivity will greatly increase and their stress levels drastically reduced to a bearable level. Additionally, students living near the axis will be able to commute freely and more quickly from and to their various educational institutions. As a result, this will significantly aid in the teaching and learning process and lead to better learning outcomes.
With this fantastic development and other notable initiatives to raise the standard of living for every Lagosian, Mr Sellable and our working governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu has set a remarkable record for a greater Lagos and he is undoubtedly poised to do more. I think the Lagos state government under our amiable governor deserves a resounding clapping ovation for this unprecedented achievement.