Sir Demola Aladekomo, Founder, Chams Plc and Executive Chairman of SmartCity, has called for the development of smart cities in Nigeria.
He said this was to necessary to accommodate the country’s expected population increase and rural to urban migration surge by 2050.
Aladekomo made the call in a communique from the recently held Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI) 2022 Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Expo in Lagos.
He said the call was pertinent following the United Nations (UN) estimate that about 275 million Nigerians were expected to migrate from rural to urban areas by 2050.
Aladekomo, who spoke on Efficient Digital Infrastructures through Smart Cities, said that migration should be seen as a process and not problem.
According to him, good management of the migrating population and understanding migration factors can help utilise the phenomenon in a productive way without the inherent negative impact on the society.
“According to the UN’s Population Migration Division Section, Nigeria’s population is estimated to be about 411 million by 2050 and 794 million by 2100 from the present population of about 211 million, while rural-urban migration is estimate to hit 275 million in 2050 from 76 million in 2017.
“A smart city is a place where you live, work and play that enhances the quality of life you live and you must be well entertained.
“Furthermore, it has to be environmentally friendly and sustainable seeing that smart cities generally provide better security and safety.
“Most importantly, its infrastructure apart from bein social, physical, institutional/ governance and economic should be centred on the citizen,” he said.
The Chams Plc chair recommended the conversion of existing and poorly structured cities to smart cities by the use of polycentricity and agglomeration.
He stated that polycentricity could begin to create new decentralized cities and settlements around Lagos for example, and manage them digitally from the beginning by making them technology enabled.
“At the same time, these new decentralized cities should be agglomerated in a specialized form as healthcare city, technology city, agricultural city, etc.
“Agglomeration enhances productivity, commerce and cost optimization, job creation and poverty alleviation.
“Smart city components are; smart governance, smart energy, smart citizen, smart healthcare, smart technology, smart mobility, smart building, and smart infrastructure,” he said.
Aladekomo proposed the leapfrogging of relevant technology towards resolving infrastructural deficit.
He, however, noted that to achieve this, government must recognise population growth as an opportunity.
He added that government must accept that smart cities should be created and accept rural-urban migration not as a threat but reality.
He said government must use agglomeration, polycentric approach to governance, and use technologies to play crucial roles in the development and administration.
Aladekomo called for the encouragement of private sector participation, good governance and rule of law, building of sustainable institutions, and recognition / replication of past heroes.
He disclosed that SmartCity PLC was currently building smart cities to create an intelligent future through their projects at Ibadan and Osogbo through suburb polycentricity.