AT TIMES we are so busy bringing in the harvest in our leaky bags and baskets that we fail to pause every so often to take stock.
Lagos can do a whole, whole lot better!
Strangely former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu apologists like my friend, O’seun Ogunseitan, and at times Yomi Oludimu would claim that Lagos has long arrived. Meanwhile, those contradicting them insist, “We neva even start!”
I recall walking into the Oshodi Local Government Area offices about 15 years ago. That was before the Lagos State Government land charge regime was introduced. The local government tenement rate administration had, without explanation, arbitrarily doubled my annual rate from roughly N3,750 to N7,600. The corrupt official there assumed that I came to negotiate the charge downwards and probably drop something. I shocked them when I explained the purpose of my visit, which was to obtain an official explanation for the abrupt hike. The real clincher was when I mildly berated them by claiming that even the new rate was inadequate considering the services that the LG administration appeared both unwilling and unable to render. I had made it clear that if they doubled the rate again, it would still not be enough. A year or two later, when the Lagos State Government took over, it brought the rate down. My only reaction had been: What were they thinking?
The LASG lazy approach of doubling down on the supposedly able (even though unwilling) taxpayers is a recipe out of the Prof Richard Joseph playbook on Prebendalism. The base of the income pyramid in Lagos (not exactly unique) is so broad that even a little increase in the collection would greatly transform LASG tax revenue. But no, the likes of Dr Jide Oluwajuyitan would keep flying the kite of the Federal Government declaring a Special Status for Lagos. While ignoring other viable means of pulling itself up by the bootstraps. I still smart at the development whereby Rivers State led reluctant others, including Lagos, in fighting for the control of the collection of Value Added Tax. Nobody, except a few of us, has pointed out the need to return Lagos Ports, Roads and other related Infrastructure to Lagos State. Are the leading political lights in Lagos interested?
They have been fixated on one of them—fit, capable or not—to become president of a dysfunctional federation.
Yes, the Lagos that Tinubu bequeathed on us is not working. Our metro line is more than two decades behind schedule. By now it should have extended to Abeokuta, Badagry, Epe, Sagamu and Ijebu Ode. There is no other way that you can decongest Lagos. And still, nobody wants to talk about these matters as we worship the grossly imperfect vehicles of political service imposed on Lagos.
Honestly, Lagos neva start?
Do you want to discuss the impossible engineering of flood control even before the current manifestations of climate change?
We can start today!
Engr Azih writes from Isolo in Lagos State