FOCUS ON DEVELOPMENT
Sanwo- Olu’s performance elicits endorsements,
By James Adio
The torrent of endorsements pouring in for the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu will not come as a surprise to many who have been keeping track of his programmes and performance since 2019 when he was elected the governor of the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu came at a very difficult time in history. In less than a year, after he was sworn in, COVID-19, the most virulent global health crisis of the century hit the world. Coronavirus was not just a health pandemic, it was also an economic pandemic that crippled economies of most countries.
Nigeria with her existing socio-economic challenges, was badly hit as global economic activities came to a halt. Citizens groaned as cash crunch and food supply crisis among other adverse consequences of the pandemic took its toll on belligerent Nigerians.
Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria always receives the biggest hit when major crises break out. The former capital of Nigeria is the melting pot of all tribes and ethnicities that make up Nigeria. So, managing Lagos, the 5th largest economy in Africa is a big task. Governor Sanwa-Olu displayed unusual leadership dexterity in managing the state at her most difficult period.
Same period was when many states in Nigeria turned pariah, begging for bailouts to meet up with wage and sundry bills. Lagos stayed afloat under the competent leadership of Governor Sanwo-Olu, a seasoned financial expert and a thoroughbred public administrator. Not for once did he default in paying salaries of over 100,000 workers in the employment of the state government.
With the strong economic and financial structure established by the builder of modern Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Sanwo-Olu, Lagos survived the turbulence and emerged stronger with his financial wizardry.
The governor came into the assignment with a clear vision anchored on THEME agenda. “The acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S, represents the six pillars of the State’s strategic development agenda of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu administration. They are 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”.
He has performed creditably well on THEME agenda. In the area of transportation, Governor Sanwo-Olu championed the intermodal transport system and expanded fleets of ferries for waterways, and also brought in First and Last Mile, FLM buses, more Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) Buses, Lagride for safe and efficient transportation.
At the historic launch of FLM buses, Governor Sanwo-Olu said, “The launch of the First and Last Mile (FLM) Bus Scheme today is an important milestone in our quest to achieving the intermodal transport system which gives our teeming population the choices they deserve, reducing congestion and journey times, and improving the quality of life. It is also in fulfilment of one of the measures we promised as a solution to the security situation discussed at our recent Security Stakeholders’ Town Hall meeting.
“As a responsible government, we are launching this scheme in response to two major issues. One is the alarming statistics of fatal accidents recorded from the operations of Okadas in Lagos between 2016 and 2019, and the use of Okadas for the facilitation of crime across the metropolis. The goal is the full implementation of a safer and more efficient alternative transport solution that takes out the need for Okadas and replaces them with safer buses that will help us curb incidents of Okada-related accidents, crimes and robberies.”
Also the boats that were added to the fleet of Lagos Ferry were constructed by local builders, the boats come with state of the art technology that can be found 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 standards”, Sanwo-Olu said at the launch.
This is a deliberate policy effort of Mr Governor in developing the capacity of the local manufacturing sector and in the form of a backward integration policy that will ensure the development of local expertise and economic well being of the people.
What of road infrastructure? The performing governor also scored high. In every part of the state, the Sanwo-Olu administration built solid roads and other infrastructure. In the Government Reservation Area(GRA) Ikeja, Governor Sanwa-Olu had built drainages and roads to regenerate the highbrow area that has almost lost its glory. The governor also constructed roads in the Ikorodu suburb and the ancient town of Epe and Badagry in Lagos West senatorial district.
When endorsements were rolling in for the governor, he had indeed earned them. They were recognitions of his meritorious service to the people of the state.
The waste managers, under the aegis of Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAMN), popularly known as PSPs in Lagos State recently endorsed him for a second term and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for President.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of LAWMA, Ibrahim Odumboni extolled Tinubu’s legacies which are being sustained by Governor Sanwo-Olu. He said, “Since one good turn deserves another, it is only worthwhile that the association has mobilise its personnel in hundreds and thousands, for APC’s victory in next month’s elections. As an emerging mega city at the time, Lagos State needed to solve the challenge of solid waste management, which the administration of Asiwaju Tinubu as governor of the time, confronted frontally, leading to the emergence of the PSP operators”.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also used the opportunity to announce pay rise for waste managers in Lagos.
Also, the yam dealers, in their numbers, led an endorsement rally to the Tinubu-Shettima/Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat Independent Campaign Council (ICC) office in Ikeja GRA. The traders were received by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and the ICC Director-General, Tayo Ayinde.
Kehinde Olaosebikan, chairman of the association, said the rally was a way of conveying the yam traders’ appreciation to the APC Government in Lagos for several interventions, which, he said, had benefited the association’s members greatly.
Deputy Governor Hamzat who addressed the traders said: “The coming general elections are crucial for our party and State. We must show our strength and numbers, because we are not just going to vote; we want to humiliate the opposition parties with a very wide margin. We have over seven million voters in Lagos alone and our target is to deliver five million votes to elect our presidential candidate. By the support we have received from your association, we believe the margin is attainable.
“Those contesting against Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu are political clowns who don’t understand anything about governance. We must use our votes to retire them. Tinubu is not only fit to run for president, he is the smartest political personality of this period. He is bold, intelligent and influential. We have a Governor in Lagos who is making a positive impact on the lives of citizens. For us to continue to see the amazing projects delivered, you must return Sanwo-Olu to power. Your endorsement is a great step, but this must be completed by voting massively for APC.”
The Deputy Governor said APC’s agricultural programmes and policies had raised the level of food security in the country, noting that the Sanwo-Olu administration had recently flagged off the construction of what would be the largest Food Security Systems and Central Logistics Park in sub-Saharan Africa.
Governor Sanwo-Olu government is currently building a food park on 1.2 million square metres of land in Ketu-Ereyun, Epe in order to reduce the loss of peasant farmers and petty traders in the value chains.
The food park, according to Dr Hamzat , is a component of an audacious five-year Agricultural and Food Systems Road Map (2021–2025) launched last year by Gov. Sanwo-Olu to enhance food sufficiency in Lagos.
Adio writes from Lagos