Remaking a Neglected Megacity: A Civic Transformation in Lagos State, 1999-2012

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Lagos State began the twenty-first century as a boomtown crippled by crime, traffic, blight, and corruption. A regional economic hub and burgeoning state of 13.4 million people, the megalopolis had a global reputation for government dysfunction. Two successively elected governors, Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, worked in tandem to set the state on a new course. Beginning in 1999, their administrations overhauled city governance, raised new revenues, improved security and sanitation, reduced traffic, expanded infrastructure and transit, and attracted global investment. By following through on their promises to constituents and forging a new civic contract between Lagos and its taxpayers, Tinubu and Fashola laid the foundations of a functional, livable, and sustainable metropolis.
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted by Graeme Blair in Lagos, Nigeria, in August 2009 and by Kuris in Lagos, in October 2011 and in Providence, Rhode Island, in November 2012. Case published July 2014.

Associated Interview(s):  Babatunde Fashola, Bola Tinubu

enabling legislation
service delivery
Focus Area(s): 
City Management
Critical Tasks: 
Building citizen support
Overcoming corruption
Public service delivery
Revenue generation
Core Challenge: 
Principal-agent problem (delegation)
Country of Reform: 
Case Studies
Gabriel Kuris