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Lagos rises; among top 20 best cities in the world

By Muyiwa Akintunde

Lagos – yes, your very own Lagos – is one of the best 20 cities to live in the world!

It’s not the Lagos State Government making this matter-of-fact statement, the rating of Lagos is courtesy of the world-renowned Time Out Group, a British media and hospitality company established in 1968, which has developed into a global platform across 333 cities and in 59 countries.

In the ranking recently released, Lagos came 19th among the likes of New York City, Cape Town, London, Madrid, Tokyo, Paris and Chicago and finished ahead of Melbourne, which is at No. 20.

Extending the Time Out Index to 50, Lagos is a better city to inhabit than Naples (21st), Singapore (22nd), Miami (23rd), Dubai (28th), Montreal (29th) and Hong Kong (49th).

On what makes Lagos great enough to be in the ranking of the world’s best cities, Time Out explains: “Whether you’re a staunch mainlander or from Lekki, there’s something for everyone in Lagos, Africa’s most populous city. Posh Victoria Island continues to deliver a trifecta of swanky resorts, food haunts, and nightlife. Lekki is for the brunchers – make Maple Lagos your first stop. On the mainland, Kuti’s Bistro in Ikeja, owned by the legendary afrobeat family, serves up reliably delicious food and hosts parties, karaoke and games nights. And then there are the beaches – hit up Oniru Beach for some fun in the sun, but be sure to bring Naira for this private beach. For those who live for the night, Hard Rock Cafe Lagos provides a massive indoor-outdoor playground with top artists including DJ Obi (‘Obi’s House’ on Mondays), who set a Guinness World Record in 2016 for a 240-hour marathon set”.

If you haven’t been to Lagos, Time Out has a compelling reason why you must do so NOW. “Both the city and its suburbs are expanding – just check out live-work-play concept Eko Atlantic City. Just out of town, Epe, on the north side of Lekki Lagoon, is experiencing a boom. The town is home to the legendary Oluwo Fish Market, the biggest in Lagos state, where almost all traders are women. Fittingly, there’s a giant two-fish statue in the centre of town”.

The survey confirms that Lagos has a lot going for it when it comes to the standard of living. Reasons: “96 percent of locals are happy, 98 percent would call Lagos beautiful and the city got a 92 percent friendliness rating, too”.

Time Out explains that it surveyed more than 20,000 city dwellers around the world, along with its own network of editors, to come out with its verdict. “Criteria on the Time Out Index includes food (both quality and affordability), culture, nightlife, how the city makes people feel and more. The list reflects cities that are great places to visit—but also to live.

“As our global ranking shows, cities haven’t just pulled together through the pandemic—they’ve come out reborn and are back, better than ever when it comes to going out and experiencing great things to do”, Time Out’s travel editor Grace Beard said in an interview. “Time Out’s 2024 list of the world’s best cities is not only an essential travel guide for the coming year, spotlighting the most exciting places on earth right now for food, nightlife and culture, but it’s also a global snapshot of city living”.

Zealously, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is walking his talk when it comes to the T.H.E.M.E.S+ agenda. All the pillars are working together to deliver a Lagos that is fascinating and irresistible for citizens, residents and visitors. In his first term, Mr. Governor focused his development agenda on Transportation and Traffic Management; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos State a 21st Century Megacity, Entertainment and Tourism; and Security and Governance, which made up T.H.E.M.E.S. But upon his re-election last March, he told the people of Lagos State that he is stretching the agenda further to T.H.E.M.E.S+, the “plus” representing the incorporation of an intensified focus, which covers Social Inclusion, Gender Equality and Youth.

On his second-term Inauguration Day, Governor Sanwo-Olu explained: “In other words, we are strengthening and reinforcing T.H.E.M.E.S with a ‘No One Left Behind’ philosophy. No one will be left behind on account of their social status, gender or age; we will design all our policies and programs to ensure that everyone is carried along and catered to.

“This is our solemn promise to you”.

Iconic projects in the Sanwo-Olu era include the Lagos Rail mass transit; social infrastructure like schools, improvement of classrooms, training and retraining of teachers and deployment of modern learning devises in public schools, which have culminated in the construction of over 1,000 schools, and still counting.

The children’s hospital under construction in Lagos Island, General hospitals under construction or those fully renovated have also helped to expand access to healthcare services across the state.

Still on transport, apart from the success recorded in the mass transit rail sector, the administration has expanded the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system by opening new routes. It also expanded water transportation with the construction of new jetties and deployment of more LagFerries. This has helped communities around the Lagoon like Ikorodu commute seamlessly. The government has also launched cheaper, cleaner LagRide, a car hailing service that has revolutionised the way Lagosians move around.

On the smart city project, it is technology-driven. Internet cables are being laid across the city, and connected to power supply, hospitals and some homes.

Healthcare, waste management, arts and tourism and all have recorded tremendous progress.

Indeed, welcome to #GreaterLagos!!!

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