SANWO-OLU: THREE YEARS ON
Niran Ajayi writes that the Lagos State governor is clear where he is going
Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu of Lagos State was the guest on Sunday Politics, the flagship political programme of Channels television to speak on how he has fared with the sacred mandate of Lagosians in the last three years and the plans he has for the people if re-elected in 2023.
He came prepared with verifiable results to show for his outstanding feats in office. From the hinterlands to the city centres, he reeled out infrastructure projects and more. From the regeneration of the foremost Government Reservation Area (GRA) Ikeja where drainages and roads were massively constructed to the Ikorodu suburb and the ancient town of Epe and Badagry in Lagos West senatorial district, there was no place untouched in the last three years.
Across socio-economic strata of the metropolis, everyone can feel the impact of the handworking governor. The governor eloquently distilled his THEME agenda. The acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S, represents the six pillars of the state’s 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”.
Now, out of many issues that were discussed by governor Sanwo-Olu, the first pillar, traffic management and transportation and by extension infrastructure will be examined. It is evident that
the governor has delivered on his promises premised on his THEME agenda. On Traffic management for instance, gridlock has been greatly eased by remodelling major traffic conflict points like the popular Allen Avenue roundabout that was creatively remodelled to ease gridlock experienced by commuters and motorists. Same innovative solution was deployed in the Ajah area of Lagos. This was done along with strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulations. The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Special TASK Force have been empowered and resourced to keep the city moving.
For Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the winning formula is a multimodal transportation system. On the waterway, the governor provided safer and modern ferries to ease movement by road. Today, water transportation has gained traction among the people in the coastal areas and hinterlands. The eight ferries locally constructed in Lagos are helping by upscaling the capacity of indigenous craftsmen. During the launch last year, the governor said, “Today, we are launching eight units of additional ferries, named after prominent Lagosians including our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to complement the existing six ferries in the fleet of Lagos Ferry Service.
“Let me emphasise that these boats were constructed here by our local builders and they come with state of the art technology you can find anywhere else in the world. We are proud of this feat and I am using this medium to once again assure our local builders of patronage and urge them to continue to maintain international best standard”.
Following the restriction of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada in certain Local Government Areas of Lagos State, the Sanwo-Olu administration launched First and Last Mile (FLM) buses as an alternative dignified transport need for Lagosians. He said, “The restriction of motorcycles and tricycles in the six local councils and nine local council development areas created a mobility gap which was required to be filled urgently. Thus, the FLM scheme became imperative within the areas where commercial motorcycles and tricycles had been restricted”.
“Consequently, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation in conjunction with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority activated the First and Last Mile Bus Scheme as detailed in the STMP and soon delineated the state into eight zones for ease of its implementation and operations. The zones are: Zone One: Ikeja and Ketu ; Zone two: Oshodi, Mushin and Surulere; Zone three: Berger, Yaba and Oyingbo; Zone four:Lagos Island, Ajah and Ibeju-Lekki; Zone five: Iyana-ipaja and Agege; Zone six: Orile, Mile two, Iyana-Iba and Ajeromi; Zone seven: Ikorodu and Zone eight: Epe and Badagry”.
Lagride, an innovative e-hailing service with over 1000 vehicles, mostly SUVs, was also launched to provide a decent and cheaper taxi service for the middle class in Lagos. It was done in partnership with GAC, a Chinese automaker with assembly plants in Ikeja, Lagos. The enabling environment and incentives provided by the government has been a major impetus for the auto company.
Governor Sanwo-Olu has also assured that the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project will be completed before the end of 2022 as earlier promised.
The project, which is being developed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and has the capacity to transport 500,000 passengers daily, is expected to commence operations in the first quarter of 2023.
In addition, schools and hospitals in Lagos are not left out in the development mix. Governor Sanwo-Olu has done well.
He has earned the confidence of the people with the manner he has handled the state affairs and its resources. When the Channel’s Tv reporter asked where the huge Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) was going, he revealed several interventions, agencies and projects that are gulping the whopping sum on a monthly basis, from waste management to education, health and huge wage bills for numerous agencies that are sustaining governance in the nation’s economic centre.
Ajayi writes from Lagos