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From Dubai with a big dream

•As government officials relive plan to transform Lagos into another Dubai

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

THEY went and could not help but marvel at what they saw; so impressed were they  that they felt it would not be a bad idea to replicate same at home . The team of Lagos State Government officials which travelled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and Singapore have since returned to the country after their two-week sojourn and now seem to be in a hurry to bring their experience to bear in transforming Lagos into another Dubai in terms of infrastructural development.

Like enthusiastic students anxious to show off their newly acquired knowledge, these officials who spent two weeks in Dubai and Singapore understudying how these countries have been able to make so much progress within a short period, said it is possible to transform Lagos from a third world country to a first world country through dint of hardwork and commitment of the leadership

Indeed the team of 25 top government officials has a lot of story to tell about the  places visited, especially Dubai, aka “Heaven on Earth”.

Dubai: Lagos can look like this
Dubai: Lagos can look like this

“We lost our pride when we got to Singapore and Dubai.  These are people we were better than between 20 and 30 years ago.   Singapore was able to transform from a third world country to a first world country through dint of hardwork and commitment of the leadership,” said Mr. Joe Igbokwe, General Manager of theLagos State Infrastructural Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), who was one of the leaders of the team.

“We went there to see how they did it. Dubai and Singapore are now the destinations of the world and the pride of the Middle East . How come the people of Dubai were able to transform a desert to what it is today?   That is what we went there to study, we are loaded and are ready to replicate this in Lagos,” Igbokwe added.

According to Igbokwe, the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency come to the rescue of Lagos State , saying that there was the need for the central government to put in place massive investment in Lagos .

He stated that when compared with Singapore and Dubai , the roads in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole were nothing to write home about, adding: “We are very far behind.   There are massive constructions everywhere in Dubai ; the power there is non-stop; if they take light in Dubai , they may not be able to work because of the heat.

“We need power and roads to be able to move.   Everywhere in Dubai is air conditioned; even shops for ordinary people are air conditioned.  They invest so much in the power sector because that place is hot.

“We have not gotten there probable because we don’t have that kind of planning and we are not challenged by Singapore .   Nothing has challenged us in Nigeria , even the civil war; we learnt nothing from it, which is why we remain like this.   I don’t know whether to cry or shed tears.   We can replicate what is happening in Dubai and Singapore in Nigeria ,” Igbokwe stated.

*Sea-side view of Dubai: Lagos can look like this
*Sea-side view of Dubai: Lagos can look like this

Hon. Alawiye King is the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Education.   According to him, Singapore , because of her foresight invested massively in education, stressing that: “They have been able to invest so much in human capital and that has transformed into what they are getting today.

“We have seen massive and aggressive infrastructural renewal in Dubai, we went there to see how they did it in such a short period of time”, adding that he would soon sponsor two bills on the floor of the House on how to move education forward in the state.

Mr. Lateef Lawal, Secretary, State Consultancy Board said Singapore and Dubai had stable political systems which aided their development, saying that in the area of power generation, Nigeria was no where compared to them.

“They invested so much in human development and they made sure that they go into real development.   The least office in Dubai is 25 or 30 storey and they are even going higher.   The wonder of that place is that they are not going horizontal again, they are going down.   All the facilities are on the ground, such as the wiring, cables and others.

“They have direct investment which they have been able to transform into heavy development.   We should start and concentrate on massive infrastructural renewal.   In the area of power, we should not run away from it, we have to go back to our original master plan,” he said..

CITY BRIEFS

Latter -Day Saints  to embark on environmental exercise
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has called on Nigerians to imbibe the culture of keeping the environment clean just as she is set to commence her annual community service programme, All Africa Service Project.

Addressing journalists Tuesday in Lagos, Chairman, National Public Affairs Council in Nigeria, Elder Alexander Odume said the programme taking place on Saturday, August 22, was part of the Church’s contribution to rid the nation off dirt.

According to him, the programme would feature some members of the church across Africa  serving their communities for a minimum of three hours.

“This service project holds every year on a designated date. In Nigeria, about 100,000 members from 270 parishes of the Church would join other non-members who have agreed to partner with us to render service to the community and Nigerians.

We are going to keep the environment clean by sweeping the street, clearing the drains, painting and marking roads, cleaning markets and other public places, including hospitals, health centres, police stations, old people’s home, motherless babies homes, among others,” he informed.

Alexander also said the Church would partner with other churches and corporate organisations to make the programme a reality. “One of the partners in this service project is Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, which has been working with us since 2007.

LAWMA has always provided the requisite tools for the cleaning of the environment and our members provide labour and other requisite materials, depending on what the project is,’‘ he said.

On the need for the programme, he said, ‘’Our church is embarking on on this service project in Africa because of the importance we attached to service. By serving others that day, we would be doing what Jesus did. he served others and washed the feet of His Disciples. Our members and those partnering with us would wear a yellow apron and vest while the carry on the project,’‘ he added.

24-yr-old driver docked for killing a soldier
A 24-year-old commercial bus driver, one Anthony Friday has been arraigned before an Ojo Magistrate court, Lagos on a two-count charge of alleged reckless driving and killing a military personnel, Zakari Ibrahim.

Friday who drove a Volkswagen kombi bus was accused of “dangerous and reckless driving leading to the death of the young soldier attached to the Ojo Cantonment was said to be on high speed when the incident happened.

The accident was said to have happened on July 20, 2009 at about 1100hr at a point opposite Ojo Military Cantonment along Badagry /Lagos Expressway in Ojo area of the state.

The charge sheet preferred against the accused person reads:“That you Friday Anthony on July 20, 2009 at about 110hrs at a point opposite Ojo Military cantonment along Badagry/Lagos Expressway in Ojo magisterial district being the driver in charge of a vanagon bus with Reg. No XU 304 APP did drive the above mentioned vehicle on the public highway in a dangerous and reckless manner having no regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature and condition of traffic which is expected at the time or might reasonably be expected on the highway and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 18 of RTA Cap.124, Vol.6 Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 1973.”


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