The Lagos Challenge

The Lagos Challenge

By Orji Obinna

As at 2016, the GDP (gross domestic product) of Lagos State stood at about $90 billion. The 2018 GDP was projected (actual data not available) around $136 billion which makes Lagos the 5th largest economy in Africa.  In terms of GDP, only Algeria, Egypt and South Africa and Nigeria are ahead of Lagos State which makes it all the more interesting. With a population projected to be excess of 23 million people, it has the required human resources to function effectively as a country.

So then the big question is, “How ambitious should Lagos State be”?

My answer to that question would be dam for flood control and hydro-power.

Lagos should start thinking and functioning as an independent state by providing its own power supply. A Coastal city with eroding shorelines should at least take full advantage of the biggest threat they face, which is flooding. Put dams on the rivers and coastline. This city is one of the few cities in the world that has enough free water to power itself and also excess to supply neighboring states. The incessant cases of flooding in the islands, apart from highlighting the drainage challenge, are pointers to that the city needs a dam.

Probably not just one but as many as they are willing to build considering that by projection they have sufficient resources to execute them. The dam will first of all prevent the coastal waters from reaching the islands there, by preventing flooding when the flood waters come rushing in, and then they will also provide hydroelectricity.  This is the single most important project that can enable Lagos make that giant leap into the future.

Alaba market (Lagos State, Nigeria)

It will have a domino effect on economic activities which will be propagated across other sectors. This is the greatest enabling environment that can make Lagos strive to be with, if not join, the likes of Beijing, New York, Manila, Tokyo, and Abu Dhabi as the great cities of the future. This form of energy is renewable.

Yes, dams affect the ecosystem in so many unpleasant ways by displacing marine life and distorting their natural habitats. Experts can argue for and against that but that isn’t the purpose of this article. Sure, just as with every other project, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) should be carried out to figure out just how much of the environment will be sacrificed for this.

But for Lagos to thrive, it needs dams to control flood, and then provide hydro-power. Following dam project will be intra-state railway line. The question is why not?  Smaller economies are doing it: Ghana, Kenya, Angola and many others. In effect what I am saying is this, dream big Lagos, dream big!

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