I wrote this post a few months ago and decided not to post it, however an article I read this week made me decide to repost. The theme of my post was about Nigerian technocrats with projects ahead of their time. I had written that the construction of the Lagos cable car project would start in Q4 2013, however Governor Fashola announced on October 7, that the project is on the verge of COMPLETION so let us watch this space very closely… Arguably the construction of the cable car route has commenced, which could simply mean that the project is on course. Good ideas in Nigeria are surrounded by scepticism and this is the first challenge they have to overcome before they become a reality.
Lagos State is being transformed into a mega city with the public private partnerships that are being fostered by the forward thinking Lagos state government and well experienced technocrats. Project finance is altering the landscape of the city to match the pace of its economic growth, and it is interesting to understand the dynamic. The state alone cannot provide for its citizenry therefore private participants can work in collaboration with foreign and local contractors to bring a vision to the fore. The Lagos state mass transit project got me almost as excited as I was about the Tinapa visionary project in Cross Rivers State several years ago. Interestingly enough the Obudu Cable Cars are designed by the Dopplemayr the same company which will be responsible for the Ropeways which will glean the Lagos skyline. The second similarity to the Tinapa project is; a technocrat and visionary with the help of the state government that will bring a project to reality. If many people did similar things in their own corner, ahead of their time, we will fling our country into a brighter future. For each technocrat there is a right project and the right opportunity to seize the moment.
Captain Dapo Olumide, CEO of Ropeways Transport International (RTI) will be responsible for the Cable Car mass transit project in Lagos State. He talks passionately and proactively about the project, and we look forward to the construction starting in Q4 2013. RTI will invest $500M alongside equity financing from Dopplemayr.
Huge criticism of the project lies heavily on the side of safety, and this is possibly justified. Judging from the New York cable car crash (1998) which left passengers stranded for 3 hours, how will a state which cannot provide stable electricity or amenities for its citizenry support a cable car project of this scale. Is this risk too great? Like any Visionary, you build based on the best case scenarios and you quantify the worst, our technocrat is reliant on the Lagos state IPP which will be the power source for his project and 30 minute back up power, this is a great first positive step because it does not overburden the overburdened PHCN. Worst case scenario is that accidents do happen regardless of the mode of transport.
Learning about this project coincided with me reading Awaken the Giant by Anthony Robbins, and I compared the visionary Captain Olumide to the fearless dreamer. A few days later I watched the fantastic Cobhams Asquo TedX speech which challenged listeners to “be blind to be focused”, and this served as resounding advice for any Nigerian visionary and entrepreneur, because the obstacles are overbearingly giant with massive stumbling blocks, and the noise and negativity that prevent one from completing a project are glaring. However once we can get over these challenges we can get our country to where we would like it to be. So my challenge for you all is to challenge your ‘GIANT’ within and dare to contribute to the change in the landscape of this country!!
Place your hopes on a string… and build that DREAM!!!