As Sanwo-Olu adds Red Line rail, Lagos boasts another commuting option

President Bola Tinubu (right) and Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a train ride during the commissioning of the LMRT Red Line project in Lagos, on Thursday, 29 February, 2024

By Jide Olaniran

Transportation and traffic management is one of the agenda Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu anchored his programmes for efficient and effective governance of Lagos on. And five years after with nine months into his second term, he is commissioning a Red Line Rail project which was started about three years ago.

Just like yesterday, Mr. Governor performed the groundbreaking ceremony on 15th April 2021, and here we are witnessing the commissioning of the iconic project by President Bola Tinubu who, as the governor of the Centre of Excellence, envisioned a megacity with an efficient inter-modal transportation system.

The Red Line rail project, a 37-kilometre North-South rail route, will run from Agbado to Marina with stations at Agbado, Iju, Agege, Ikeja, Oshodi, Mushin, Yaba, Ebute Meta and Iddo, as plans are already in place to link the Red Line with the Blue Line at the National Theatre, Iganmu Station of the Blue Line in what will be a rail transport network shaping up in the state gradually.

The Red line will reduce traffic gridlock and predictability of movement by ensuring productivity and efficiency increasing Lagos’ liveability status and positioning it as a premium destination of choice for more foreign direct investments. It will also provide alternatives to road and water modes of transportation within Lagos metropolis.

It has been quite an eventful and fulfilling journey from conception to execution as it has taken successive governments in the state from 1999 to chart a course for the eventual realisation of this signature project, which will drive productivity of the citizens upward.

The bill setting up the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which is today responsible for all the development in the transportation sector in Lagos, was signed into law on 13th January 2002 by the then Governor Tinubu (1999 – 2007). It is the reason we can talk about the Blue Line Rail and the latest baby the Red Line Rail today. As fate would have it, President Tinubu, who started the groundwork, commissioning one of the many developmental projects, which signpost the essence of vision and continuity in leadership.

In 2018, the Lagos State Government signed a track sharing agreement with the Federal Ministry of Transport through LAMATA and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to utilise the track standard gauge railway track which conveys commuters between Abuja and Lagos through Ibadan and Alagbado to Iddo.

The state considered this a strategic point of reference to collaborate with NRC, which will only run three services into Lagos at three sets and defined service hours during each day, while the Red Line rail project, on the other hand will run several services each hour, hence the decision to share the track which will be out of use for most of the day by NRC. This arrangement is considered extremely efficient on resources of the state.

As I watched Mr. Governor arrive at the Ikeja train station of the Red Line Rail project for a test run of the brand-new trains for the project on Saturday, 24th February,2024, it dawned on me that, like yesterday the incident commander of Lagos 34 months ago promised to deliver the Red Line for the benefits of Lagosians. And here we are, Mr. Sellable has done it again. And Greater Lagos is indeed Rising.