Home Opinion Features On track of Alimoso as Sanwo-Olu renews Model City plan

On track of Alimoso as Sanwo-Olu renews Model City plan

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For strategic reasons, Alimoso can be described as a goose that lays the golden egg for Lagos. It may not rival the likes of Banana Island and Lekki in terms of structural elegance. It may not be able to withstand Ikeja in terms of elite business presence. Yet, the expansive political unit harbours some traits unique to it and guarantees it a place on the Lagos’ value chart.

For one, Alimoso is so massive that it accommodates many of those who work in the upscale zones. After all, such folks cannot afford the huge rents that prevail in the latter. It is from Alimosho and its mainland counterparts that many actually start life in Lagos before journeying towards Magodo or Lekki-wards after securing a slice of the prosperity cake that Lagos promises.

This writer, interestingly, recalls that upon arriving at the Centre of Excellence in the early 90s, as a fresh graduate, he first nestled on the bosom of accommodating Alimoso, when he resided at 29, Abari Street – by Araromi Bus Stop, Iyana-Ipaja. Abari is in the neighbourhood of legendary musician Ebenezer Obey’s Decross Gospel Mission as well as the house of the late Keneri music icon, Orlando Owoh.

Politically speaking, Alimoso is a game changer. Its enviable population often goes a long way to determine who wins elections. Here is a political division that boasts – alongside the main Alimoso Local Government – five Local Council Development Areas: Agbado/Oke-odo, Ayobo/Ipaja,  Egbe/Idimu, Ikotun/Igando and Mosan/Okunola. Of course, Alimoso also flaunts the largest chunk of the Lagos’ over 12 million (official) people.  This is apart from its elastic, multi-culture composition which helps to define Lagos as a state of many states.

With all of these appellations, there is no doubt that the area deserves all the dividends it can get. It is thus inspiring that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu government has decided to revisit a project that promises to tremendously improve on Alimoso’s fortunes: the Alimoso Model City. The government is opening up the revised Alimoso Model City Plan for public review and comment.

Yes, the axis already has some vital democratic blessings to count, as it received in recent years. It is, for instance, a major beneficiary of the all-important Red Rail Line that will be inaugurated by President Bola Tinubu on 29th February. Also, Alimoso is a beneficiary of the Pen Cinema and Abule Egba flyovers as well as major roads that have breathed more life into its resilient soul. The long-conceived Alimosho Model City renewal plan, however, has the potential to elevate its destiny beyond what many of its mainland counterparts has witnessed. If well executed, it can be a model to be replicated even in places like Mushin and Ajegunle.

According to the Director of Public Affairs in the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mukaila Sanusi, the government will be seeking input from residents in Alimoso and the general public in finalising the revised Alimoso Model City Plan. The document, Sanusi said, would be presented to the public from 19th February to 27th March. Sanusi quoted the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Oluyinka Olumide, as saying that the planning document would allow for robust participation and ownership.

“For the four-week duration, members of the public can access the document and make comments at the following centres between 9 am and 4 pm.  The planned document will be available at nine locations: Alimoso local government secretariat, Alimoso, Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) secretariat, Abule-Egba, Ayobo-Ipaja LCDA secretariat, Ipaja, Egbe-Idimu LCDA secretariat, Isheri, Mosan-Okunola LCDA secretariat, Ipaja.

“Others are Ikotun-Igando LCDA secretariat, Ikotun; Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LSPPPA) office, Abesan Housing Estate, Ipaja; LSPPPA head office, Oba Akinjobi Way, GRA, Ikeja”, he said.

Since when Lagos first mulled the plan, it has gone through various stages of re-examination. Under Sanwo-Olu, however, it seems inching towards implementation. While one of the latest reviews identified 13 action areas to serve as hubs of residential, commercial, agricultural, and tourist activities in the axis, it is important that residents take advantage of the current opportunity to present input.

Olumide said the review of the Model City Plan was a statutory endeavour to produce a 20-year projection that would match present and future realities.

Originally, the Alimosho Model City Plan include the proposal for civic and community facilities, encompassing a minimum of six fire stations and a new cemetery site identified at Ayobo LCDA. While what it calls ‘green burial’ is envisioned, the plan seeks additional health facilities and expansion of existing General Hospitals, with partnership between government and private bodies sought.

In terms of security, the plan seeks rejigged crime-combating principles and more police stations.  On tourism and cultural development, it wants conservation alongside the existence and expansion of hotels and other recreation centres.  “Conservation zones should be established in selected settlements. Festivals should be encouraged and linked with local cultural activities”, it states.

Besides, the model targets the preservation of specific buildings and monuments, the creation of a Linear Park at Ayobo, greening of areas under power lines, planting of trees along road medians, while noting that all new residential buildings to have at least one tree.

Putting the dream in perspectives, Director FirstPlus Planning Consultants/Project Director of  Alimosho Model City Plan, Helen Adesuwa Fadipe, said, “The Vision for Alimosho is to create a green and pleasant city: functional, well connected, economically vibrant and sustainable”.

Lasisi, a public commentator, writes from Lagos

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