Bola Tinubu and a Safer, Economically Thriving Waterfront in Lagos
By our reporter
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, sits in a state so filled with lagoons that more than a fifth of it is covered in water. The prime land in the city is on Victoria Island, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
In the late 90s, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, now Nigeria’s President-Elect, then former governor of Lagos State, said he had grown worried about the sea eroding the island’s coastline; the area was, on average, two metres above sea level, and businesses along the coastal highway were flooded uncontrollably.
Tinubu enlisted the Lebanese-Nigerian property developer Gilbert Chagoury, of Nigeria’s Chagoury Group, to reach into the ocean and put up a sea wall along the island’s original coastline. The newly reclaimed space between the former shore and the new wall—a total of ten million square metres—will be filled with shiny towers of luxury apartments and retail outlets, skyscrapers with Lagos’s most profitable businesses, parks, and a man-made marina. It is to be a multi-billion-dollar project.
The project tagged Eko Atlantic is designed as a new coastal city being built on Victoria Island adjacent to Lagos, Nigeria, to solve the chronic shortage of real estate in the world’s fastest-growing megacity.
It is a focal point for investors capitalising on rich development growth based on massive demand – and a gateway to emerging markets of the continent, creating a new economic capital of the region.
The state government in Lagos later released a short, slick video describing Lagos as “Africa’s Big Apple” which features shots of the glitzy artificial city, known as Eko Atlantic. The video also shows a parade of fast boats, traffic-free roads, glamorous hotel pools, and clothing boutiques. Heads of government agencies talk about the gains that Lagos—believed to be the world’s fastest growing city, and which has an estimated population of twenty million people—has made in mass transit and tax collection.
Babatunde Fashola, Tinubu’s successor appears in the video, urging residents of Lagos to play their parts in achieving the mega-city dream.
“Eko Atlantic will be centered on Eko Boulevard, which is like the Fifth Avenue in New York,” David Frame, the head of Chagoury Group’s construction division South Energyx Nigeria, said.
Eko Boulevard will have a clear view of the sea with four lanes of traffic in each direction, wide sidewalks, and high-rise buildings filled with shops, apartments, cafés, bars, and restaurants.
Frame listed the planned city’s amenities: clean water flowing from the tap, constant electricity from a private grid, sewage facilities. Gleaming condo towers, smooth roads, a special genus of palm trees with no falling fruits—even the sky and water looked cleaner, somehow purer, and pollution-free.
The new city plan also helped to draw attention to and solved some urban related problems in the state.
Too many robbery incidents around the coastline areas of the state. But with the mega-city plan, Tinubu in conjunction with his predecessors were able to fix that progressively.
The state was also filled with shanties and slums which harboured criminals and illegal squatters. The good ones were also relocated while the criminal elements were dislodged.
Indeed, Eko Atlantic is one of the world’s cutting-edge new cities, and already at an advanced stage of development. It’s a visionary project on a huge scale, achieved by a team of major local and international partners.
The United States alone will spend more than half a billion dollars on the new consulate general in Eko Atlantic.
Designed by Ennead, a New York architecture firm, the consulate is expected to take up 50,000 square meters of space, and employ 2,500 Nigerian citizens in various roles from engineering and construction to administration.
In a statement, the US said about $95 million will be invested in the local economy as a result of the project, set for completion in 2027.
It is expected to be the largest US consulate in the world.
Soon, three hundred thousand wealthy Nigerians and foreigners should be living in Lagos’s own version of the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons.”
The reclaimed miles of land in Lagos from the Atlantic Ocean will host residential and commercial properties.
Through various partnerships and visionary leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu in conjunction with successive governments in Lagos, the project will soon be a reality.