Using Master Plan As Development Strategy – by George Okojie

No Comments » February 18th, 2015 posted by // Categories: Other Peoples' Essays



Using Master Plan As Development Strategy

— Feb 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

That the ability of any government to accomplish its vision on national transformation and development is totally dependent on the extent to which it can manage its core strategy is not in doubt.

This is because ensuring optimal management of its core national transformation strategy is highly dependent on its ability to provide strategic clarity on its planning process and instill highest degree of strategic focus and discipline.

Thus, to a large extent Master plans which are tangible and often visible statements of where a particular infrastructure should be now, in the future and what is required to get there must not be neglected if actually the government wants to achieve sustainable development.

While there is a consensus amongst experts that the processes for developing and transforming any polity may vary, they will not also fail to affirm that master plans are most successful when they represent a vision that brings together the concerns of different interest groups, and their recommendations create a ground swell of community and political support.

By and large, it is believed that the present administration would have performed better and realized its transformation agenda easily through the implementation of long term plans proposed by National Planning Commission who not long ago announced a long term plan to address the infrastructural gaps in the country.

Though the plan known as National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), designed to accelerate infrastructural development in the country for 30-year has not been given the priority attention it deserves to drive development process in the country, it ought to have focused on core infrastructure, including energy (power and oil & gas), transport (roads, rail, ports and airports), housing, water and ICT.

Other infrastructure classes include agriculture, mining, social infrastructure, vital registration and security.

As a proactive government, the Lagos State Government in its bid to meet the huge challenges of a megacity status which the existing Lagos infrastructure may not be able to cope with came up with a master-plan to build infrastructure that can cater for forty million people expected to live in the mega city.

The master plan also inculcated in it the building of Independent Power Plants, (IPPs) across the state to take care of its power needs.

On the essence of Master plan in urban development , the Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat said the state’s roads, bridges and rail infrastructure to facilitate movement across the state for enhanced human and commercial activities are embedded in its master plan.

The Commissioner said the water transportation and that is continuing and Lagos State Waste Management Authority, (LAWMA) operations to say the least is captured in the planning process of the state.

Hamzat said, “I can go on and on in other areas of human endeavour. Lagos State is making good progress on all these fronts. As a mega city, there are unique challenges such as transportation, refuse disposal and others. Our approach is to face each of these challenges and tackle them one by one in a strategic approach. Therefore, for each sector of the economy we have the strategic plan which we are implementing.

‘’As a state, we are not struggling with our structural plan of infrastructural challenges. We have the master-plan that we are implementing. We certainly will not finish all our plans in one calendar year. That is not realistic given the backlog that exists.

“Lagos State Government believes that infrastructure development is a major plank on which poverty eradication can rest on. Hence, our concentration on major life and City/State changing projects such as Lagos- Badagry Expressway, Isheri-Oshun Jakande road which is now fully awarded to Hitech Construction Company to complement the bridge works that started some time ago.

‘’Also, the blue rail line is another of such projects. The overall target of the state is to develop sufficient infrastructure portfolio across the length and breadth of the state that ultimately allows for a competitive business environment. There are major roads across the state. Some are Federal roads while some belong to the state. The challenge is that it is important that these major roads are fully motor-able before we fix a huge number of the inner roads.

‘’The state government has gone ahead and fixed a lot of the federal roads thereby reducing our ability financial to fix the state own roads. However, the state has constructed a lot of the major roads and others are also under construction as we speak all across the length and breadth of the state.

“Last year we started the construction of 156 roads and majority of them are inner roads. It is important to also state that we have to manage the numbers of roads we are constructing at a time to prevent gridlock.’’

The uniqueness in the development of the state is that the state government adopts different master plan for different regions and always ensures that a stakeholders’ forum is held with the land/homeowners and residents living in the locality.

Through this forum the state government is able to check illegal development along the axis and to also get the node of the stakeholders to comply with the international standard on town planning rules.

Within the Ikorodu Local Government last week, officials of the state in turns engaged the public, ostensibly to avoid some hiccups that usually trail implementation of master plan, after it has become operation.

It is against this backdrop that the meeting recently held at Ikorodu Town Hall in Lagos State with the theme: “Rapid Urban Growth: Need for Aggressive Physical Planning for Sustainable Environment” is expressly understood.

The gathering which attracted government officials, traditional rulers, community development associations, market men and women, religious leaders and artisans, among others, who agreed that there is need to ensure that government’s plans flawlessly executed.

According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde would make provision for a counter magnet for absorbing population from the densely populated areas, providing employment opportunities, housing and recreation network of interconnected transport system.

He said that the Epe regional plan would cover the whole old Epe Division that comprised of the present Ibeju, Lekki, Agbowa and Eredo local development councils.

He said, “The proposed Epe Master Plan is aimed at opening and unlocking the potentials of the state, by directing development northeastward.

“Just like the Ikorodu and Epe master plans, the Issa William is also aimed at creating a compact city which is capable of free more land for recreation and greenery,” Ayinde said.

General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), Mr. Rotimi Ayinde Abdul, a Town Planner said there is no way a sustainable Lagos Mega City can be achieved without a master plan.

As the nation’s financial and commercial hub with a population of over 20 million surpassing Cairo as Africa’s largest city, the only way out of churning out slum conurbations is to adhere strictly to its master plan in the development of the state.

That is why in the estimation of Ayo Adediran, Head of Town Planning and Urban Development he posited that, “We cannot afford to delay any longer. We must not watch. What we have as today’s slums were yesterday’s neglect and inactions. Let us learn to plan before building, and build in conformity with physical development plans, planning and urban development laws and regulations of Lagos State.”

He noted that it is possible to achieve a sustainable environment by adhering to planning laws and regulations.

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