In his inaugural speech, tagged ‘Awakening a Greater Lagos’, the 6th Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, promised to advance the social and economic progress of the State and its people.
Describing Lagos as Nigeria’s door to the global economy, Sanwo-Olu promised the mammoth gathering at the swearing-in ceremony that he will remain himself and be steadfast in all his endeavours, saying: “the Babajide Sanwo-Olu you see today shall not change and try to become something I am not. My prayer is only that I grow and improve as your Governor to implement good policies and bring the prosperity you deserve.”
The resourcefulness the administration is expending on a framework tagged “THEMES”, an acronym for six strategic development agenda namely, Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism as well as Security and Governance, has rekindled the hope of a prosperous State among the residents. In order to maintain the momentum, a unique cabinet which reflects innovation, gender-balance and youth inclusion has just been inaugurated.
Though, it may be too early to assess the government, but considering all the actions taken so far, the Sanwo-Olu administration has demonstrated that Lagos is a city with its eyes squarely focused on the future. It is reassuring that the Governor is a focused leader who has a clear vision and he is determined to change the face of development in Lagos State for good. Interestingly, his support-base has continued to swell by the day because he is matching words with action.
Governor Sanwo-Olu appreciates that governance is not a tea party where you sleep and wake up and the challenges has gone down. To demonstrate his psychological preparedness to change the sanitation, traffic, and public works narratives in the State, the first statutory duty performed by the governor was the signing of Executive Order on Indiscriminate Refuse Dumping, Traffic Management and Public works.
To validate the Executive Order on Environmental and Sanitation Matters, the government has taken a bold decision to expand Olusosun dump site to 42 acres so that the facility can accommodate more waste and for trucks to have a quicker turnaround time. The administration is also working to ensure that the building under construction at the entrance of the site would be used to train and retrain the staff and create more jobs for the people, such that the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) would be strengthened to collect recyclable materials necessary for the creation of more jobs. The most visible impact of the course of action of the administration has taken so far in respect of the environment is the disappearance of heaps of garbage on major streets and highways across the State.
The Executive Order on traffic management which extends the working hours of operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) to 11:00 pm on two shifts was also followed up with motivation of traffic officers through doubling of their allowance.
Lagosians can now see obvious improvement in the state of roads across the State. Strategic and constant rehabilitation of roads has now become a routine job for the Lagos State Public Works Corporation. Lagosians have no cause to doubt the assurances of the government that the road rehabilitation would be ongoing until all major roads marked for repair across the state are completed.
Perhaps, more importantly, the government has also resumed the construction of the 10-lane Lagos Badagry Expressway. Sanwo-Olu and his entourage in the course of an on the spot assessment had drove from Orile all through to Trade Fair listening to voices of Lagosians about the deplorable state of the road and consequent safety and economic losses.
The return to the road not only marks the fulfillment of a promise made during the June 2, 2019 inspection to the people of the State, but it is also designed to bring relief to commuters who daily experience hardship on the road.
Another major stride of the Governor is his plan to create a ‘friendly atmosphere’ for investment with private sector as key driver of development. Unsurprisingly, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Catriona Laing, was quite categorical in her assessment of the Governor when she declared that he is very clear on achieving his objective of making Lagos greater. Laing spoke while on courtesy visit to the governor to discuss bilateral partnership, which focus on three key areas of common interest namely; technology-driven water transportation, investment and smart city initiative.
An obvious proof of making Education and Technology a top priority is reflected in the assessment tour of State-owned schools by the Governor. The outcome of the assessment tour is the ongoing rehabilitation of facilities in the schools which has heightened assurance on improved quality of education in all State-owned schools. The first message of the new Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo to all stakeholders in the sector was to charge all to brace up in ensuring that Lagos State emerges as Overall Best in subsequent external examinations from the sixth position in the just concluded WASSCE.
There is, perhaps, no better way for the Sanwo-Olu administration to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to improving public health in the State other than the one month BOSKOH Health Bee Screening Project. The initiative, which offers free medical screening and treatment to children between ages 0-12 years, is a collaborative intervention between the State government and Health Mission International.
The Sanwo-Olu administration is also working hard to drive entrepreneurship in the State. In order to address the problem of youth unemployment, Innovation and Technology Centres are to be built while financial support would be provided to young businesses that demonstrate the capacity to take up new business and technological solutions modeled on profitability and environmental friendliness. Towards this end, a young technocrat, Mr. Tunbosun Alake, has just been appointed, Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology, to ensure needed attention and action are expended on the realization of the agenda.
So far a total number of 266 retirees have received Retirement Bond Certificates for a total sum of N784, 690,000 under this administration. This speaks volume about the commitment of the present administration to the welfare of serving and retired Public Servants. Recall that within a week of assuming office, Governor Sanwo-Olu doled out 35 new buses to cushion the effect of the high cost of transportation that makes things rather hazardous for Civil Servants.
In sum, there are so far manifest indications of bid and capacity to fast-track development and good governance by the Sanwo-Olu administration. With the strong foundation being laid, the future, indeed, looks good for the country’s ‘Center of Excellence’.
Musbau is of Features Unit, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.