Usually in Nigeria, some new governors devote their energy, time and resources to less productive activities such as hosting support groups/well wishers, organize celebration party, call ‘unnecessary’ stakeholders meetings, playing to gallery by blaming previous administration, tour media houses and other petty things just to show off their new status of His Excellency.
But the case of new Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is different, as his first 168 hours of piloting the Centre of Excellence’s affairs has been eventful, promising and productive. His activities since assumption of office on May 29, 2019 shows that himself and the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat have in-depth understanding of challenges facing Lagos State and armed with workable solutions to enhance welfare of Lagosions as well as make the state a 21st century economy.
For records, Sanwo-Olu who served as Commissioner in three different ministries during tenure of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola had designed six pillars policy document tagged THEMES to build a Greater Lagos in with Developmental Plan of the state. THEMES of Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat administration focuses on traffic/ transportation, health and the environment, education and technology, entertainment and tourism as well as Security and governance. According to 15th Governor of Lagos State, the strategy was conceived after wide consultations with all stakeholders on the challenges and the state future.
Therefore, the alumni of Unilag of Lagos in his inauguration speech avoided valueless rhetorics but aptly captured current challenges and succinctly explains how he will tackle it by saying: ”Let us vow to ourselves, and to posterity that we shall not just dream of a Greater Lagos. Let us agree this day that we shall collectively rise up to build the Lagos of our dreams.”
Consequently, the APC governor a after his swearing-in signed executive order against indiscriminate dumping of refuse, waste management and traffic management. The executive order aim at implementing globally acceptable Waste management system of 3Rs: Reduce, Re-use and recycle. Sanwo-Olu also visited Olosun Dump Site where he pledged to ensure Lagos covert waste to wealth, create jobs and eco-friendly environment for Lagos.
Similarly, the passionate Lagosian fondly called Sanwo-Eko in order to reduce worrisome traffic congestion in the Economic Capital of Nigeria ordered LASTMA Officers to extend their worktime till 11pm with the view of ensuring total compliance with traffic rules and punish defaulter according to Lagos Traffic Management Law. He even joined LASTMA officers till midnight on his first day in office to motivate them and also paid condolence visit to the family of an official killed by one reckless driver recently to sympathize with the family.
Furthermore, the governor with his deputy embarked on assessment tour of Apapa Road to interact with key stakeholders and see its deplorable state, as well as address traffic gridlock on the route of Nigeria’s largest and busiest port complex within 60days in office as promised. He has also directed contractor handling Lagos-Badagry expressway to go back to site after it has been abandoned for almost 4years, adding that Lagos state might partner with Federal Government on Okokomaiko to Agbara to Seme-border in the interest of residents.
Apart from that, Sanwo-Olu in the bid to make every Lagos road passable and achieve operation no potholes agenda asked the ministry to publish the numbers that people would be calling to notify government of wherever there are potholes in the state.
“Our Public Works Corporation would come out and start fixing all the potholes on our roads. The state government will soon release emergency hotlines to the public to call the Lagos State Public Works for immediate fixing of potholes and roads that need urgent repairs.” The governor added.
Besides, the 53 years old graduate of Lagos Business School having worked with three past governors understands that no administration can succeed without the support of civil servants who are the government’s engine room, hence, he quickly allayed their fears on the implementation of N30,000 new minimum wage and donated 35 air conditioned buses to them in order to fulfill his campaign promise. No doubt, these efforts by Governor Sanwo-Olu would earn him support, trust and loyalty of Lagos Workforce and smoothens process of programmes/policies implementation.
In the same vein, the Chief Security Officer of Lagos state is planning to review the Security Trustfund so as to enhance the state security architecture and effectively secure lives and properties of growing population of residents. According to Sanwo-Olu, this will help the state curb criminal activities and attract more investors.
Having said that, achieving the THEMES of current administration will be difficult without fund and only appropriated fund could be used to finance programmes and projects. To this end, Governor Sanwo-Olu signed over N800bn 2019 Lagos budget into and promised speedy implementation.
Interestingly, the governor has been communicating his programmes, policies and agenda with Lagosians through all various communication channels, including social media channels. The ICT Savvy leader usually post governance updates on his social media handles and share videos to inspire Lagosians to do the right thing and get undiluted feedbacks from the masses. For instance, the state government posted open poll on social media handles to know if Lagosians want revival of monthly environmental sanitation.
Although, it would be too early to gauge performance newly inaugurated governors like Sanwo-Olu but his moves show the state is on the right path to greatness. It’s therefore imperative for all Lagosians irrespective of their political affiliation, creed, religion, tribe and status to cooperate with the new administration, criticize constructively when necessary and adhere to rules/regulations, thereby making #ForagreaterLagos dream of new administration a reality.
Oyelola Oyewale is a journalist, Public Relation Expert and Public Affairs Analyst.