By Segun James
As the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu continues to roll out the drums in commemoration of his first year in office, the governor yesterday virtually inaugurated 18 projects at ceremony held at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.
The virtual inauguration, according to the governor is in line with the reality of situations the world over at this time of COVID-19 in which the state remains the epicentre in the country.
This is coming as the governor yesterday dedicated his first year in office to frontline health workers in the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic at a ceremony where he honoured 10 of their representatives at Marina House, Lagos.
At the inauguration of the projects which included a concrete jetty with shoreline protection at Ikorodu, rehabilitation, upgrading and construction of road projects at Somolu, Mushin and Badagry; over 500 houses and apartments in various parts of the state and construction of classroom blocks in both primary and secondary schools in different local government council areas of the state; an elated Sanwo-Olu said that even though the last four months had been very challenging in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cardinal part of his Greater Lagos vision was infrastructural development and that his government had worked assiduously to achieve this.
“If Lagos is to sustain its Centre of Excellence status in the country, vital infrastructure must be carefully built across all sectors. Universally, infrastructure development is critical to achieving human capital development. The economic impact that infrastructure improvement has on nation building cannot be over-emphasised.
“Considering the statistics that about 85 per cent of the people in the world reside in the developing world and transition economies, and with 67 per cent of that population below age 35, the need for infrastructure development to support enduring development remains a matter of major concern for all nations of the world.
“Without doubt, the growth of any country’s economy hugely depends on the status of its infrastructure. The dearth of needed infrastructure in a given society places serious limitation on human capital development. It is in view of its crucial role to achieving rapid economic growth that advanced nations of the world commit huge investment to infrastructural development.”
“Essentially, the prosperity of a nation depends on the State of its infrastructure. From the ancient Roman Empire to the super economic powers of the 21st century, it has been clearly demonstrated that no nation can accomplish true greatness without evolving pragmatic strategies for long-term infrastructural development.
“Therefore, the virtual commissioning of some vital projects on the occasion of the 1st year of our administration clearly amplifies our resolve to build first class infrastructure across the State. The projects that are billed for commissioning today cut across various sectors.”
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu had promised to improve on the facilities in the critical health sector of the economy.
The governor said this while honoring workers in the health sector who have been the front liners in the battle against the COVID 19 pandemic.
“We are here to celebrate Lagosians who have immensely contributed to the success of our administration in the past one year. This actually authenticates my earlier stand that my victory at the poll was for all Lagosians.
“Over the past one year, diverse groups and individuals have enormously supported our Greater Lagos vision. All of them are, no doubt, worth celebrating.
“We have, however, decided to specially honour our Frontline Health Workers who have been in the forefront of our collective efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
“As it is with other fields of human endeavour, medicine could be as hazardous as it is regal, though the degree and circumstances of the hazard vary according to the specialty; from infections and contaminations, disorders due to radiation, occupational dermatitis, and psychological disturbances, the medical line is a volatile profession that has thin line between its sweats and sweetness.”
The Governor said that while it is not possible to take the risky part of the job away, it is absolutely necessary to make provisions for a robust compensation plan that would make the health workers feel appreciated, considering the risk they are always exposed.
“While we may not have put in place a near perfect motivation regime for these set of diligent officers, the few steps taken so far show that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices and selflessness of these life savers, especially in the face of the ravaging pandemic.”
He said that as part of the motivations given to these frontline officials was a bumper insurance cover for the State COVID-19 health workers and volunteers.
“Similarly, we identified the need to lift the spirits of these caregivers with melodious musical tunes. Thus, we arranged for a special appearance of Beejay Sax, one of the top-notch saxophonists in the country, at the Infectious Disease Hospital, IDH, Yaba, last Easter Sunday. It was meant to serenade these patriotic caregivers and unburden their souls of all forms of fear and anxiety while they were away from their respective families on a delicate assignment.
“As I had noted on that occasion, they deserved to sit in the midst of their family members and feast during that festive period, but the Coronavirus pandemic robbed them of the fun of Easter celebration.”
Sanwo-Olu stressed that the gesture was informed by the need to personally demonstrate his gratitude to the health workers and to boost their morale because they are the real “heroes” of the battle against the pandemic.
“I sincerely believe that these patriotic individuals deserve every honour bestowed on them. This explains why we recently raised their hazard allowance 400 per cent. As ample as this might seem, it is still does not measure up to the sacrifice of these gallant heroes, in view of their daily hazardous exposure to the highly contagious disease.
“Today, we have taken our appreciation of these devoted professionals to another height by making them the face of our 1st Year Anniversary celebration.
I am convinced every well-meaning Lagosian is in support of this solemn affirmation. Dear brothers and sisters, we hold you dearly and profoundly appreciate your selfless service to the State and the good people of Lagos. This is our modest way of saying thank you for your sacrificial service.”