Former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who wanted to replicate Washington D.C. Beltway in Nigeria’s most populous city has kept a low profile since he failed to replace Governor Babatunde Fashola in 2015.
The 60-year old Nigerian economist, lawyer, politician, lawmaker and philanthropist from Epe Constituency I was a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly between July 2, 2003, and July 3, 2015.
He was Speaker for ten years between 2005 and 2015, the longest since Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain in 1960.
Mr. Ikuforiji failed to secure the endorsement of his Godfather Bola Tinubu in 2014 and lost his governorship primary election to Akinwunmi Ambode who was by then a protege of Tinubu.
However, Ambode was later dumped by Tinubu in 2018 following back channel disagreements, and would be handing over to his successor, Mr. Jide Sanwoolu in three weeks.
Ikuforiji has been out of public view in recent years. He has rarely granted interviews or made political statements even before and during the just concluded 2019 general elections.
Apart from some philanthropic activities in recent years, not much has been heard about the man who oversaw the passing of most of the recent bills in Nigeria’s most populous city.
In 2014, when he declared his candidacy for governor of Lagos, he outlined his plans for Nigeria’s commercial hub.
His focus, he said, would be creating jobs to reduce rising unemployment numbers amongst Nigerian youths.
In private conversations, Speaker Ikuforiji spoke glowingly about his plans to build a beltway around Lagos as a solution to choking traffic snarls there.
Interstate 495 (I-495) is a 64-mile (103 km) Interstate Highway that surrounds Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America, and its inner suburbs Maryland and Virginia.
I-495 is widely known as the Capital Beltway, or simply the Beltway.
It is the basis of the phrase “inside the Beltway”, used when referring to issues dealing with American government and politics.
“Outside the Beltway” refers to any other thing outside Washington D.C.
With Ikuforiji away from politics, has the dream of Nigeria building its first Beltway around its richest but congested state become a pipedream?