HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE IN LAGOS STATE
Background of the Study
Lagos is the economic and social “nucleus” of Nigeria and the West African subregion, accounting for 32 per cent of national GDP. It is also one of the fastestgrowing
cities in the world; by 2015, it is expected to be the globe’s third largest city, according to UN estimates. Over the past decades, the city has had to Bcontend with the challenges that accompanied staggering population growth rates.But since 1999, a consistent leadership has guided a reform process hinged on sustainable urban development. Now, Lagos’s transformation is emerging from its former status as an infamous, decaying metropolis into a modern, attractive, and functional city.
Lagos is a classic example of a modern city, having transformed from a small farming and fishing village in the fifteenth century to a burgeoning mega city in
2010, when its population rose to over 10 million people. Until recently, this megacity4 was generally written about in a negative light and frequently satirized. Today, however, the face of Lagos is changing as a result of a series of transformations eected
by a new style of governance adopted from 1999. In the past, scant attention was paid to land-use planning, basic infrastructure, and other public services needed to sustainably accommodate the city’s exploding population growth. One of the most visible manifestations of this was severe tragic congestion, which ultimately led to the relocation of Nigeria’s
political capital from Lagos to Abuja in 1986. Now, new parks are just one sign that Lagos is on a new path towards sustainable urban development. Less
visible signs of local government reform include improvements in basic city services and physical infrastructure.
Since Nigeria returned to democratic governance in 1999, the successive governors of Lagos State have initiated and pursued a knowledge-based approach
to critical reforms. Aside from promoting sustainable development, these reforms also span resource mobilisation, innovative and inclusive approaches to
spatial planning principles, transportation upgrades, provision of educational health care services and facilities, and partnership building with the private
sector in development. As a result of these reforms, Lagos is being transformed into a modern city that ores a high level of services provided by an increasingly efficient city administration.