There are indications that the earlier suspended monthly environmental cleaning exercise in Lagos State may be reinstated by the new administration in the state. Two things point to this. First, one major decision taken by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the new governor was to sign an executive order on indiscriminate dumping of refuse, traffic management and public works.
The step is geared towards addressing three critical problems bedeviling the state for some time now. Something became noticeable shortly after former governor Akinwumi Ambode lost the bid to run for second term the public works department suddenly lost interest in the regular repairs and rehabilitation of township roads. The consequence was a terrible impact on traffic in the state. That gave traffic managers more challenges, aside from areas where construction were going on and workers had to impede traffic flow with their operations or equipment.
The refuse problem, for instance, was one sore issue that was held against former governor Ambode. His administration appeared unable to tame the crisis of refuse after the introduction of Cleaner Lagos Initiative, CLI , which appeared to have supplanted the arrangement he inherited that accommodated the private operators.
Prior to the introduction of the CLI the then governor had announced the cancellation of the monthly sanitation programme, which it said wasted three hours every last Saturday of the month that should have been used for business. Mr. Steve Ayorinde, then commissioner for information said in a statement, “It is no longer appropriate to restrict movement of people for three hours in a mega city like Lagos at a time they should be pursuing commercial and entrepreneurial activities.” That was November 2016. By July of the following year the government introduced the CLI which was to be directed by Vision Scope. But the result was a disaster with private operators complaining that they were unfairly ran out of business, while Vision Scope raised alarm that it was being sabotaged.
The conflict left Lagos residents living with piles of refuse, raising fears of possible outbreak of epidemic. Though efforts were made to review the arrangement, the old habit before the creation of Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA under former governor Bola Tinubu got really worse. Garbage blocked roads, thus compounding the nasty Lagos traffic. Sanwo-Olu had to make it part of his campaign promises to tackle the menace as promptly as he assumes duty. The executive order showed that he would keep his promise.
The second indication of a likely return to the old order of monthly cleaning exercise is an online opinion poll currently going on over whether the monthly exercise be brought back or not. The votes are in favour of a return to the old order.
That means that the popular vote may encourage the new administration to reinstate the monthly environmental programme to save the mega city from turning to one big dump site.