Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Governor of Lagos State
Achieving the greatest good for the greatest number of people
Cities with their concentration of opportunities continue to inspire and attract people. Yet, today’s cities and their residents all too often also grapple with conditions that put human health at risk and magnify inequalities within their ever expanding boundaries.
As this very timely WHO and UN-HABITAT report underlines, addressing the urban challenges and reducing inequities requires strong political will and purposeful leadership. It takes the firm commitment and cooperation of local leaders, governments and the communities to work together to make sure that particularly the needs of those living at the margins of the urban society are identified and addressed.
As the Governor of Lagos, I have made it my personal mission to improve the living conditions for all of the over 18 million citizens of this megacity. Within only a few years, we have managed to start a transformation on a scale previously not imaginable: Lagos is now cleaner; contrary to the belief that it was impossible to manage its waste. Green spaces and beautiful parks have become things that Lagosians take for granted; contrary to the belief that Lagos was a concrete jungle. Lagos is now safer than before with violent crime down 70 percent and street lights providing safety and a sense of security; contrary to the belief that it would never happen. We have operated the Bus Rapid Transit system for over three years providing millions of passengers with an affordable, safe, efficient and reliable means of public transportation; contrary to the belief that it was doomed to fail. We have stopped living with wishes that Lagos will be better and we have begun to work tenaciously to make it better.
Any decision that my administration has taken has been informed by one single consideration; whether it will be in the best interest of the greatest possible number of people. And while the situation has improved in many ways, much more remains to be done over the years to come. It is pertinent to us in Lagos and any other city in the world to continuously reappraise governance and policies to ensure that the health of residents is not in any way compromised and to improve the quality of life for all residents, especially the urban poor.