Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Lagos Rating As 5th Worst City In The World: DPA Blames Fashola Govt.

                                           [Fashola, Lagos State Governor]

The Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPA) says it is not surprised at Lagos’ placement as the world’s fifth worst city, blaming it on the failure of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s regime to implement people-centered development.

“This city has lost its soul. And it is because the government has failed to place the individual person at the centre-piece of its policies,” DPA said.

An international survey of 140 cities by the foreign Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) at the weekend ranked Lagos 136th and one of the worst cities where “most aspects of living are severely restricted.” The study had considered each municipality’s performance based on the indices of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

 The party, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, recalled that in 2008 Lagos had similarly been rated as the “costliest city in Africa” by the Mercer 2008 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, and said the studies provided unassailable proof that the government had failed to tackle issues that mattered, especially those capable of improving living conditions.

The party feared that such unsavoury international rankings would further discourage investment, provoke capital flight, hurt businesses and advance crime and corruption.

DPA said the government needed to tackle several of the city’s negative indicators, including mediocre education, inadequate housing, bad roads, high tenement and duplicated land use charges, soaring transportation costs, unregulated ground and accommodation rents, untamed high cost of doing business, untamed double taxation, crime, unbridled corruption and cut-throat transportation.

In the words of the party, “The government always rushed to the media to trumpet its few accomplishments, but the average Lagosian knows the truth, that this government has done very little to improve life, environment and welfare, despite the colossal sums budgeted year in year. We have always known and we have always pointed out that all the government’s claims to achievements are mostly media hype and razzmatazz. Now an independent assessor has come out with new facts that justify our crusade that Lagos has been shortchanged particularly in the last three years.”

DPA accused the Fashola regime of failing to place Lagosians at the heart of its programmes.

“It is a pity that the government prefers to accommodate flowers, trees and shrubs than cater for the welfare and wellbeing of human beings. In Mosafejo Oshodi, for example, the government demolished stores that for decades provided livelihood for hundreds of businessmen and women and replaced them with paving stones and flowers, without any compensation plan or rehabilitation,” DPA lamented.

DPA described it a shame that Lagos fell behind such African cities as Dakar in Senegal (130th position with 48.3 percent) and Douala in Cameroon (134 with 43.3 percent). Johannesburg in South Africa is the leading African city, polling 92nd position with a score of 69.1 percent.

According to the EIU, Lagos, which scored 39 percent, shares the bottom five slots with cities like Port Moresby (38.9 percent), Algiers capital of Algeria (38.7 percent), Dhaka (Bangladesh 38.7 percent) and Harare (Zimbabwe 37.5 percent).

Pointing out that the average Lagos-based business or individual had to unilaterally source his own security, motorable roads, electricity, good education for children, healthcare, water and other necessary infrastructure, DPA said: “We only hope that the survey will gear up government functionaries who have so lost touch with reality that they say that anyone who cannot stomach the official hardheartedness of Lagos should migrate out of the state.”

Felix Oboagwina
Director of Publicity (Lagos State DPA)