This question has been a constant riddle in the minds of many. Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu is a Nigerian accountant and politician who also served as the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and later became Senator for Lagos West during the brief Third Republic. But how much did he develop the state when he was in power?
During the reign of the present national leader of the ruling party in Nigeria, the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the governor of Lagos State, one can say that some changes occurred. To fully decipher the extent of his achievements or inactions, we would need to examine his major strategic decisions.
Landmark Projects of Tinubu’s Political Career
Bola Tinubu made plans for reforms in the educational sector of Lagos as early as 1999. To actualize his plans, Tinubu constructed new schools, classrooms, school furniture, and laboratories while commencing the continuation of teachers in training programmes. He empowered a free education programme for public primary and secondary schools, including the payment of all external and internal exams. He also commenced computer education and provided equipment for learning in schools.
Tinubu gave scholarship awards of one hundred and twenty-seven million naira to over 4,000 students in tertiary institutions. In his Save a Soul project, he spent N505 million on emergency repairs of falling roofs, damaged ceilings and collapsed fences. Even in his Coalition for the Restoration of Education Empowerment and Development programme, Tinubu gave one hundred and eighty-five million naira to school structures. In 2006, he invested one billion naira in Lagos State University.
Prior to Bola Tinubu’s tenure in the office, he had already created what was called the Transition Working Group (TWG). This group was meant to look into health reports in Lagos State. Tinubu also created measures that would control the spread of HIV/AIDS through Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA). He formed a Roll Back Malaria Programme (RBM) for the free treatment of malaria in Lagos. He constructed the National Programme on Immunisation, a school health programme and a Tuberculosis control programme.
Tinubu proceeded to set up emergency medical services in the form of Lagos State Emergency Medical Service (LASEMS) and Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), which cover 24 hours free emergency services in hospitals and also make the pre-hospital ambulance easily accessible on 123 emergency hotlines respectively. Tinubu also ensured that there was a Marine Rescue Unit, Free Health Programme and Blindness Prevention Programme. A Bird Flu Control Programme called Avian Influenza was also established by Tinubu.
Labour, Youths and Women
When it comes to labour, Bola Tinubu successfully covered the four essential needs of man. Take for example, on the 20th of September, 1999, Tinubu launched the Ogudu Mixed Housing Scheme that would accommodate income earners to ease their spending. He increased the payroll of civil servants and created new ministries to reduce unemployment.
For the youths, Tinubu developed youth centres and engaged them in training. There was also the availability of a scheme workshop. While at his tenure, Tinubu took out time to invest a total of seven million naira to furnish the Ipaja Youth Hostel. By 2000, he renewed the Neighbourhood Watch programme and allowed five thousand youth to work under the police, while he provided them with necessary tools.
Tinubu established the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for women of Lagos. He still appointed eighteen medical doctors to rural areas to ensure that women don’t die during childbirth.
Bola Tinubu showed his skills in sports when he staged the world-class sports tournament in Nigeria and named it the Governor’s Cup. In 2000 it became a tradition and was played at the Lagos lawn tennis club yearly. The sports event was recognised internationally and it soon became an International Tennis Federation (ITF) standard tournament.
The city of Lagos is popularly known for congested traffic with noise and air pollution. With Bola Tinubu’s presence in Lagos, he created the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which was formed to develop the transport needs of Lagos. Tinubu also went ahead to create the Lagos Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, which was a bus industry. He trained drivers and provided buses for their smooth running. Tinubu also invested fourteen billion naira in road construction projects.
Hunchbacks Against Tinubu’s Administration
It is undoubtedly true that the Godfather of Lagos has contributed a lot of achievements to the growth of Lagos, but there were still droplets of setbacks in his administration.
Half-baked Light Rail Project
During Bola Tinubu’s tenure in Lagos state, he revived a Light Rail Project that was aimed at enhancing the free flow of traffic and reducing road accidents. At first, there was a five-year delay before the project kicked off and was valued at $1.2billion. Tinubu soon obtained a loan of $200 million from the World Bank Loan for the completion of the Light Rail project. At last, the project was abandoned in the long run of his tenure.
Failed Public Infrastructure
Even after some claims by Tinubu on how he had plans of turning the public infrastructure of Lagos around, the promises are yet to be fulfilled. One can see how basic amenities such as water and public housing were given little or no attention during his stay in the office.