By Eric Elezuo
“The Babajide Sanwo-Olu you see today shall not change and try to become something I am not. My prayer is only that I grow and improve as your governor to implement good policies and bring the prosperity you deserve”
The 6th of September, 2019 when the much sought after Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, clocked 100 days on the seat of power, did not come upon Lagosians by accident. They waited for it. They wanted to celebrate it. This is because from day one of his administration, Sanwo-Olu had put mechanisms in motion to create the proverbial ‘greater Lagos’ which formed a major part of his campaign slogan. And true to type, the ever jovial governor did not disappoint. He blessed Lagos State with an avalanche of achievements that most of his counterparts were wondering how he did.
Sanwo-Olu did not mince words when prior to inauguration, he promised to clear the problematic Apapa gridlock within his first 60 days. Today, the Apapa gridlock has undergone creative overhauling that has seen gradual disintegration of the hellish situation.
“In collaboration with the Federal Government, the Task force we set up to remove illegally parked trucks went on tough assignment to return discipline along the Apapa-Oshodi corridor. I am glad to inform you that we have seen tremendous improvement and we are happy with the results in the last 100 days. We will continue to attend to the situation for permanent solution,” the governor said.
Again, the Sanwo-Olu Lagos State Government has set aside N4 billion as grant to Lagosians with “ingenious business ideas”.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, during a media briefing herald the governor’s first 100 days in office.
The grant being handled by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Initiative in collaboration with Access Bank Plc., is aimed at promoting ingenious business ideas. Presently, 600 people had already been billed to benefit from the initiative.
The Commissioner added that about 1,700 people have been shortlisted to benefit from a World Bank-assisted agricultural programme, and each of the beneficiaries will receive the sum of N2m, bring to a total of N3.4 billion.
Recall that at inception of his administration, Sanwo-Olu hinted that his government will be making Lagos State the Heaven it is meant to be through the the well thought out vision encapsulated in the Six Pillars of Development, with the acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S. This stands for Traffic Management & Transportation; Health & Environment; Education & Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy; Entertainment & Tourism and Security & Governance. These were carefully formulated to tackle the problems identified in sectors that are strategic to the growth of Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu in 100 days has gone down in history as one governor who made a promise, and kept a promise, doing it in style as he took steps to build on the foundations of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, his predecessors.
Kick starting his administration, Sanwo-Olu dished out an executive order declaring emergency on traffic management and transportation in the Lagos State. This singular act brought about reasonable relief to residents in their day to day activities. Not only that, it saw to the speedy rehabilitation of arterial roads, which has in essence reduced travel time and stress for motorists and commuters.
The governor’s Executive Order empowered members of the state’s traffic management agency to increase their shifts so as to control traffic till 11 pm daily. The move has brought an element of sanity on the roads after dark. Their salaries were also enhanced to undertake the great task in a rub my back, I rub your back arrangement. To whom much is given, much is being expected. The synergy has delivered great benefits.
Having a health background as he is married to a medical doctor, Sanwo-Olu has tackled the health sector with the agility of a horse within 100 days.
He has opened a 110-bed Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC), domiciled in a tastefully built four-storey edifice at Eti Osa Local Government. The whole essence is to prosecute the war against infant and maternal mortality. The end game lies in upgrading the facility to a general hospital. In addition, another 140-bed MCC had been completed in Alimosho area, and will be commissioned anytime soon, and will strengthen the capacity of the state in providing sound maternity care for residents.
For 31 whole days in August, the prolific governor embarked on a festival of surgeries, where a team of volunteer doctors, specialists in diverse areas of medical practice, and other medical practitioners performed thousands of surgeries, especially on children with deformed limbs. This was totally free. The project was christened “Healthy Bee Initiative” and about 25,000 residents benefited.
Again, the state-owned Health Insurance Scheme has received boost to extend its services to more than one million residents in order to give them affordable and quality healthcare services.
In education, Sanwo-Olu has built, in partnership with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Tabernacle of David Parish in Alaguntan village, Eti Osa, a beautiful school, containing 12 blocks of classrooms and other modern learning facilities.
In addition, plans have been concluded to recruit more than 10,000 teachers for various categories of education and learning, just as resources have been appropriated for the upgrade of public schools, as well as equip them with required materials to aid quality learning.
ENVIRONMENT AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
Before now, the environment state of Lagos has become a matter of utmost concern, as the state had became a massive heap of refuse, necessitating drastic measures. These measures included the immediate upgrade of Lagos’ waste management infrastructure fashioned to achieve efficient services in waste disposal towards realising a cleaner environment.
To this end, Sanwo-Olu, as a matter of urgency improved the capacity of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to remove heaps of waste that littered streets and highways. This policy saved the state from an imminent outbreak of epidemic occasioned by the indiscriminate dumping of refuse by residents following the disengagement of LAWMA from waste management duties. As a follow-up to environmental management, the government launched the Blue Box Initiative, designed to recyclable waste for the purpose of creating jobs and wealth.
As a chip of the old block, Sanwo-Olu had pledged not to discontinue inherited projects. Therefore, contractors handling construction of various infrastructure projects had return to site and complete them. He has also ensured that work resumed on the Mile 2/Badagry Expressway project, hopefully to be completed by December 2019, among others. This will further boost tourism and international business.
The administration of Sanwo-Olu has perfected plans to actualise the Smart City initiative, which is billed to hit airwaves in the coming weeks. The high points of the initiative is the deployment of metropolitan fibre optics across the State. The project, when launched would provide Internet infrastructure for the populace to boost aid e-commerce and tech innovation.
The administration has made arrangements with key power distribution firms to distribute 20,000 metres to residents to ease challenges of accessing power.
In his usual modest mien, the governor has has promised that “The coming days will be filled with good governance and more successes.”
Describing the 100 days of the governor, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said it is “excessively eventful”.
Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is widely regarded as a public sector expert in
human resources and policy formation a power sector consultant per excellence,
an astute banker, a compelling public speaker and an inspirational leader.
Apart from a robust public sector service experience which spanned over eight years during
which he was Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Honourable
Commissioner for Budget and Planning and Honourable Commissioner for
Establishments and Training, Lagos State, at different times, the very dynamic governor
also has an enviable background in the private sector and close to ten years of exemplary
banking experience during which he contributed immensely to the growth and
development of Lead Bank Plc, UBA, and First Atlantic Bank (now First City Monument
Bank) in various critical capacities.
He has distinguished himself as a boardroom guru and has since become a widely
recognised force in both the private and public sector, serving as Board member,
Department for International Development, DFID/DEEPEN Fund; Member of the Board
Audit Committee of Caverton Offshore Services Group, PLC and as Director, Light Level
Nigeria Limited, the foremost digital signage company in Nigeria.
A man of admirable social skills, who is generally believed is capable of achieving the greater Lagos initiative, Sanwo-Olu is happily married to Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and they are blessed with children.