It is home to more than 60% of the country’s industry and a number of multinationals, including Unilever, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil, have regional headquarters. Lagos is the smallest state geographically in Nigeria but has a total population of 17.5 million, making it Nigeria’s second most populous state after Kano.

Business centre

Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola plans to transform the state into Africa’s leading centre of commerce, trade and tourism. His government is encouraging private investors to develop either affordable or luxury housing in the state. It will provide land and support to developers, especially for low-income housing.

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One of the biggest projects is the Lekki Free Trade Zone, a city within a city, which will provide housing for 3.4 million people, as well as office space, hotels, a shipping port, and an airport. The state is modelling it on Dubai’s successful Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone.

Leader in waiting

Aged 46, Mr Fashola has been the governor of Lagos since May 2007. He was elected to the governorship after having performed the role of chief-of-staff to his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He was elected governor on 14 April 2007 as the candidate for the liberal political party, Action Congress.

Born in Lagos, he graduated with a degree in law from the University of Benin. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1988.