By Dele Sobowale
NOTE: Because of our current travails on account of the partial lockdown of the Third Mainland Bridge, this part of the article ended abruptly. Readers could not possibly understand the significance of the bridge and the vision it entailed at the time. IBB embarked on completion of the bridge approximately 17 years after the Eko Bridge was opened by Gowon in anticipation of the population surge which the 1988 Census revealed. Even then, it was clear that the 3rd Bridge would provide only temporary relief. Another bridge or tunnel was needed within 15 years. Today, nearly 30 years after that forward looking regime, we are feeling the lash of the folly of his successors who failed to construct another bridge or the first tunnel.
“I hold that man in the right, who is most in league with the future.”
Henrik Ibsen, 1828-1906. VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ p 71.
Today the economy of Lagos State is under double lockdown – CORO-19 and Third Mainland Bridge. Nigeria’s economy is also partially under lockdown because what is good for Lagos economy is good for Nigeria. WE are in this sad state because after Babangida had the foresight to build Third Mainland, as Gowon had the sense to erect Eko Bridge, no other President has had enough sense to either build the fourth bridge or the first tunnel. A little bit of history is however necessary to illustrate how different leaders react to the problems which confront them when they assume office.
In January 1984 Buhari became Nigeria’s Military Head of State; he met two transport projects underway in Lagos. The first was the Lagos Metro Line designed by Jakande’s government to provide rail transport from Mile 2 to Lagos Island in order to ease the traffic hold up along the Badagry-Mile 2-Orile-Iganmu route. Although it was strictly a state project, Buhari ordered it to be stopped. That was the end of the vision of trouble-free movement along an important corridor of the nation’s economic centre, gateway to ECOWAS and social melting