A WINNING HAND

Dare Akinade writes that the Lagos State government has done remarkably well

The official flag-off of the Governorship campaign of Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC was well anticipated. He has strategically timed the outing for maximum political mileage. The big masquerade came out in Lagos early December, weeks after the political neophyte of the opposition had been rabble rousing.

He hit the town with the, “A Greater Lagos: Rising”, a campaign theme that perfectly captures the massive development strides under the watch of the governor in the last three and half years. The governor has continued to extend the frontiers of good governance and infrastructure expansion.

All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Lagos, supporters of the party and Lagosians trooped out to Onikan Stadium, the venue of the governorship flag-off to show love and solidarity to the leader who proved his mettle during the Coronavirus pandemic, the greatest public health crisis of the century.  

It was a moment of funfair and stewardship rendering. Sanwo-Olu stood with his shoulders high and declared before Lagosians that he had served their interest well as the trustee of their sacred mandate. He requested to be rewarded with another term for doing a yeoman’s job.

He came into the assignment armed with a clear and ambitious, 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”.

Despite the global economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Sanwo-Olu delivered on promises. This sentiment was echoed by the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, FCA. Abiru, an accomplished retired bank chief executive said: “Today, again, in the same spirit of allegiance, dedication and faithfulness to the progressive values that bind us together as a political party, we gather here to flag off the re-election campaign of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat. For three and half years, they have been providing strategic leadership for over 20 million residents that chose Lagos as their homes.

“Though, the period was marked with the global health crisis when COVID-19 broke out towards the end of 2019. Our Incident Commander and his team stayed strong in the midst of adversity. They provided much-needed intervention and leadership that eventually eased our beloved state out of the doldrum. On this note, I congratulate Mr. Governor, the Incident Commander of Lagos State again, for strongly leading our dear state out of this crisis.

“Leaders of our Party, Ladies and Gentlemen, Lagos is now better and stronger despite COVID-19 and its attendant effects on the fiscal performance of our country, especially the sub-national governments. But under the Incident Commander, public servants were not owed a dime; the vulnerable were offered social support and iconic infrastructure projects were initiated still at the time of the crisis.

“These are evident in the progressive implementation of Lagos Light Rail (Blue Line); audacious commencement of Red Line; completion of several housing projects across the state; building of a new general hospital in Ojo and a 500-bed mental health hospital in Ketu-Ejinrin and the on-going construction of Opebi-Ojota bridge, among others. With these giant strides, Greater Lagos is truly rising under the administration of Mr. Governor.

“With all these records of performance, Mr. Governor and his Deputy deserve our support. Indeed, they deserve the support of all Lagosians given how they have been able to stabilize the ship of our state when the ocean of global affairs was most turbulent. They represent a team of public servants, whose experiences in public and private sectors have markedly set their administration apart’.

The achievements of Governor Sanwo-olu as reeled out by Senator Abiru were not fluke. They are verifiable projects and programmes that are currently making life better for millions of Lagosians.

A clear testament to the greater Lagos rising, are the projects that dot the entire landscape of the state. Imota Rice mill, reputed to have capacity to produce 2.8 million bags of 50kg bags of rice yearly, while generating 1,500 direct jobs and 254,000 indirect jobs is almost ready.

Across the state, road infrastructure, schools and hospital constructions are booming. Lagos Youth are increasingly getting upskilled in digital skills, while budding entrepreneurs are getting supported with affordable capital under Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. Access to working capital has been eased and encumbrances associated with loans have been removed under the single interest rate per annum loan scheme of the government.

The historic courthouse, Igbosere High Court, that fell under rage of misguided elements during the #EndSARS imbroglio is set to rise again. The court that was razed down in October 2020 has been awarded for redevelopment and reconstruction. The governor has performed the groundbreaking signalling commencement of work.   

This was made possible by the innovative approach of Mr Governor who established, The Rebuild Lagos Trust Fund (RLTF) in November, 2020, following Executive Order EO/BOS/2020, for rebuilding and restoring affected state assets in Lagos.

So, when Sanwo-Olu mounted the campaign soapbox, he had a field day dishing out what he had achieved with the mandate. Consequent on his sterling achievements, Sanwo-Olu expressed optimism that he would win next year’s governorship election in Lagos State. He said the campaign slogan: “Greater Lagos Rising,” was informed by the giant strides his administration recorded through the THEMES agenda, adding that tremendous progress was made in the areas of transportation and traffic management in the state.

His words: “You can see the completion of our rail projects, you have seen rail in Lagos for the first time in over 40, 50 years, there will be an intra-city rail system. We have completed it and we are going to be handing it over to you. You have seen our commitment on all of our BRT corridors, first and last mile buses, new taxis, you have seen our commitment on ferry terminals, development ferry terminals in 17 locations across Lagos.

“We have resolved the Apapa gridlock, you have seen a new energised LASTMA that is working tirelessly, you have seen the construction and completion of the Lekki Deep seaport. You have seen the Regional Road that we are doing, you have seen the road going to Epe. You have seen the roads being constructed in Ikorodu, Alimosho, Ikoyi and Victoria Island, every part of the state.” Lagosians are winning.

 Akinade writes from Lagos State

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