It is April 23, 2023. The second hand at the Lagos Marina station’s clock chimes softly as it hits the number 12. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governor, makes a brief walk to a makeshift podium erected at the train station’s entrance. He gives a speech celebrating the completion of the $1.4 billion light rail projects.
As he addresses the crowd, observers reminisce. Until December 2022, the National Railway Corporation (NRC) had operated a limited daily rail commuter service through the state, which runs from Iddo and terminates at Ijoko in Ogun State. They also remember that barely two years ago, the federal government launched a rail line that transported commuters from Lagos, Yaba to Ibadan in neighbouring Oyo State.
But the governor’s announcement today was different. The under-used federal-owned rail assets that crisscrossed the state would now serve more Lagosians by adding two light rails. The rails are more