In the last 24 years, Lagos state, Nigeria’s economic and commercial hub, with a population of over 24 million people, has been struggling with major infrastructure challenges, including transportation, traffic management, education, housing and security. Throughout this time, the state’s governance structure has been opaque and characterized by lack of accountability. The result of the recent presidential elections in Lagos reveals that Lagosians seek to change the status quo through a new leadership with a clear vision. Fortunately, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV), the Labour Party governorship candidate for Lagos State, is proposing innovative technology solutions to address these issues and boost the state’s digital economy.
GRV’s proposals prioritize transparency and accountability, which are critical to building trust between the government and the voters of Lagos. His plans to promote institutional capacity building and good governance are necessary to ensure that innovation can “trickle down” and benefit all Lagos residents.
One of GRV’s key tech policy proposals is to domesticate the Startup Act and establish a framework for its effective implementation as a law of Lagos state. This legislation would focus on institutional capacity building, particularly in areas where relevant institutions may be weaker or face challenges in obtaining political support to drive technology innovation for young people. GRV believes that Lagos State can foster a vibrant and thriving startup ecosystem that supports economic growth and job creation by leveraging policy tools such as a predictable and consistent policy framework, establishing a startup fund, creating tax incentives, and developing programs to support the core training and building of the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and experts. Ultimately, the Startup law would provide young entrepreneurs with opportunities to develop innovative solutions to tackle the highlighted infrastructure challenges.
GRV also recognizes the importance of public-private partnerships in driving technological innovation and growth [especially in public education], with the conviction that government must be an innovator and leader in innovation. He believes that by collaborating with technology companies and startups, the Lagos State Government can leverage its expertise and resources to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing Lagos and accelerate the growth of the Lagos State Digital Economy. GRV sees them as partners, and not avenues for revenue-generation.
To support innovation, GRV proposes offering tax incentives for research and development (R&D), attracting private sector support to the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LSSRIC), promoting free trade, computer education for pupils and students, training government workers in cutting edge techniques for innovative performance, and providing direct grants for R&D and innovative development partners. Additionally, GRV’s proposal provides frameworks for computer education for pupils and students in bridging the digital divide in Lagos. This policy will equip young students with essential digital skills that can help them navigate the ever-changing technological landscape.
As regards Transportation and Traffic Management, Lagos has some of the worst traffic issues in Africa, with daily gridlocks that can last for hours. GRV plans to leverage technology to develop solutions to ease the traffic congestion in Lagos. One tech policy proposal is to establish a unified public transportation system that integrates various modes of government owned transportation systems, such as buses, trains, and ride-hailing services, into a single platform. This system would be built on top of existing technologies and could be accessible through mobile applications or web portals. It would also include real-time traffic monitoring and management systems that can help identify heavy traffic routes in real time and assist government solve the challenge with data, not guess work.
In addition to his other policy proposals, GRV’s proposal to integrate Open Government into its framework and domesticate the Open Governance Partnership [OGP] into its laws is a crucial step towards ensuring government accountability in Lagos. This policy will promote transparency and citizen participation in the decision-making process and create a more accountable and responsible government.
With GRV as governor, Lagos State has the potential to become a model for innovation-driven growth and development in Africa. His policies offer a realistic and actionable plan to position Lagos as a leading hub of innovation in Africa. The establishment of a vibrant and thriving innovation ecosystem that supports economic growth and job creation would undoubtedly have a positive impact on Lagos residents and the state’s economy as a whole.
As the gubernatorial elections approach, it is essential for Lagos voters to consider the policies and plans of each candidate and choose a leader who can address the challenges facing Lagos State from fresh perspective, not as we have it. With his visionary plan to leverage technology and innovation, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour represents a new breed of leaders who can think outside the box and develop creative solutions to complex problems. His commitment to transparency, accountability, and open cum deep governance bodes well for the future of Lagos State and its residents.
Timi Olagunju ESQ. is a Policy Consultant and Tech Lawyer with 12+ years experience in the tech policy, research, and regulatory sector. He is a Partner, Timeless Law Practice; co-founder, Youths in Motion; and a Lead Consultant, Speyside Group. He tweets @timithelaw and can be connected on LinkedIn.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the individual(s) involved and do not necessarily represent those of RegTech Africa and its employees.