- Gov. AMBODE Explains His LIGHT UP LAGOS Initiative
When people wonder why we introduced the Light up Lagos initiative they often forget that I had a life before I became the Governor of Lagos State”. That was Gov Ambode, a few weeks back reacting to a question by City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE who had gone to interview him. “I have lived all my life in Lagos.
I have lived in remote places where many people have not lived in. I have lived in Badagry. I have lived in Somolu. I have lived in Iju, Ogudu. I lived almost 15 years in Ikoyi and I am back here in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos. So I am Lagos in and out. I worked in Ikotun, I have worked in Ajegunle. I have worked in Somolu. I am Lagos. So, I have seen the pains and the joys of Lagos. I know it. I have been through it. I know where the shoe pinches. I have lived in the good side of Lagos. I have enjoyed the good side of Lagos. I have also seen the bad side of Lagos. I have been through it all.”
“So, if you’ve gone through all these and you now have the singular opportunity to head it as a Governor. There is nothing else than to just change those things that I have gone through. I have seen darkness on our streets. I have seen crime on our streets. I have been a victim of crime and robbery before. I have seen things like that before. So, why would I sit down here and not do anything or not to even attempt to change it. That is the story of our Light Up Lagos. That is the story about helping the Police provide security.
I have been a victim so I don’t want my children to go through that route. I made up my mind to correct all the things I have been through. I have seen traffic on the 3rd Mainland. I used to live in Ikoyi and work in Ikeja. Anytime I am travelling I feel it. I see it. I am part of that story. So, I have always told myself, if I ever have a chance, I will change some things. And God has been very faithful. Those things I have continually changed are the things that resonate with ordinary people because I used to be ordinary like them. Thats the philosophy behind all those things that I do.
So, when you see me do lay byes to ease and control traffic its because I want to reduce the hardship of people. I want to make sure that the streets are free, that there is no robbery on Oshodi bridge or around Dolphin Estate area. I have been a victim. So, I know what to do and I will continue to do all that, because I don’t want to go back after been Governor and go back to those things that are things that used to pain me. I thank God for giving me the chance and the opportunity to affect lives in thousands and in millions. I must not take that for granted. I must made a difference I want to make a difference and then positively. All my life I have always wanted to make a positive difference. In life, one person can make a difference, positive difference, in whatever place you find yourself, in the church, mosque, in your office. Your attitude can influence other people to start thinking positively. That is what I am doing here. And I am greatful to God for that”.
Truly so. All over the world, street lighting is part of developmental plan in major cities. Roads are designed with street lights because of its aesthetic value as well as its contribution to social economic life of the people and perhaps security.
Before now some streets and highways in Lagos were with no street lights and even where the poles are erected, the light never comes on, all thanks to vandals and the erratic power supply in the country.
But this situation has taken a different shape, following the decision of Governor Ambode to improve the state security and restore the booming night economy in the metropolis.
With the initiative tagged ‘Light Up Lagos’ project, the government is taking a strategic step to ensure that every nook and cranny in the state are well light.
So far, work has been done on major high ways as the stretch from Victoria Island, Lagos Island through Berger and some other streets across the metropolises now wears new look at night.
When Governor Ambode addressed residents at the 2nd Quarterly Town Hall Meeting months back on this development he assured that no part of the state will be left out in the government plan to create better economy for residents.
He said the project kick started with the setting up of an advisory committee chaired by the Deputy Governor so as to ensure that the government delivers on the promise.
“In the past few months, we have fixed street lights from Berger in Ojodu to Lekki, Ikorodu to Lagos Island, the entire Ikeja axis, Victoria Island and Ikoyi. We are taking this project to every part of the State. If we are not yet in your neighbourhood, give us a little time; we will soon be there.
“As we light up the State, we expect crime to reduce as criminals will have nowhere to hide and operate.”
But he was quick to add that government alone cannot achieve the objective, hence, the need for support from individuals and corporate organisation.
“I call on individuals and corporate bodies to join our ‘Light Up Lagos’ project by adopting a street and lighting it up either by connecting it to your metre or your generator. In return, these individuals and institutions will receive special concessions on Land Use Charge and commendation from the State and Local Governments,” Governor Ambode assured.
He explained that the government also provided 49 transformers to communities that had been in total darkness for Five years and restored electricity to 63 Communities starting from Eleko to Ode-Omi in Ibeju Lekki Local Government.
“We also commissioned the 33kva Electrical Sub-Station in Gberigbe Community, Ikorodu. This is expected to improve the electricity situation in that axis.”
The State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Wale Oluwo had explained months back that arrangement has been concluded on having Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) buses to work at night once the light up project is completed.
“This is one of the campaign promises made to the people by the Governor and just like he has fulfilled others, this project will not be an exception.
“The intention of government is to light up all highways in the State. In fact, the Governor is about to embark on 114 road reconstruction which will be done two per each Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the State with walkways and street lights.
“You see, the street light project is more or less complimentary to the security equipment worth N4.8 billion recently donated by the Governor to the police, and the ultimate goal is that when all the street lights are on, we will start having BRT buses working at night.
“You will recall that the Governor also promised to make Lagos city a 24-hour economy, this exactly is the change that the people voted for. We just appeal and pray that the Governor will continue to have the energy and resources to consummate all the promises and Lagos will be in the real sense of the word a megacity.”
“We are assuring Lagosians that the process of lighting up every corner of the state has begun in earnest and we are not going to stop until we achieve our aim”, Oluwo said.
Shedding more light on the project also, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Taofeek Fashola, said efforts are in top gear to illuminate major roads in the state, including all adjourning boundaries in Ogun State as well as Federal and State roads.
He said work would be delivered in phases, starting with Ikorodu to the Lagos Island, Ojodu Berger to Lagos Island and in addition, about 67 communities in Ibeju Lekki, which have been in darkness for about five years, will be connected to the national grid.
According to him, Berger to Lagos, Ikorodu to Lagos Street light installing was then ongoing. We have developed agreement to ensure safe and reliable power. We would be illuminating from Berger to Lagos. Ikorodu to Lagos. We are working with those contractors that are versed on the job and everything would be done latest by December”, Williams said.
Also, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Energy, Mr. Deji Williams, said government was to connect street lights from Ikorodu to Lagos Island to an Independent Power Plant (IPP).
He said the government was carrying out feasibility study of how to structure and determine the best points of contact to connect the street lights on the entire axis.
Williams also revealed that the government is considering involving the private sector in the maintenance aspect through outsourcing of the street lights, specifying that the present administration in Lagos has prioritized illuminating all roads in the state.
He said that in line with the Governor‘s directive, most part of the metropolis should be lit-up by December, thus involving contractors well versed in the job.
“All these we are doing by engaging well versed contractors that are grounded on the job to ensure everything is ready by December”, Williams said.
On her part, the Head of Power in the Ministry, Engineer Ibilola Kasumu, said the 3rd phase of the project is the electrification of the Ibeju Lekki axis, adding that 67 communities have been in darkness in the area for the past five years.
She said efforts are in top gear to extend power from the grid to the areas, beginning from Ibeju Lekki area, Magbon Alade, Ode-Omi and its adjourning areas, assuring that before the end of the year all the projects would be completed.
Many residents of Lagos have described the initiative as a step in the right direction.