Sanwo-olu and the ‘greater lagos’ vision

July 2, 2020

On 29th May, 2019, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, was sworn in as the 15th Executive Governor of Lagos State. Upon his inauguration, he unfolded T.H.E.M.E.S (an acronym for his administration’s strategic development agenda namely; Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism and Security and Governance) as a vehicle to achieve his  administration’s ‘Greater Lagos’ vision. 

Through a combination of ingenious thinking and genuine craving to offer the good people of Lagos progressive governance at its best, the Sanwo-Olu administration has caught a niche for itself as a people-centred government.

Considering its conviction that the entrenchment of a well-oiled social security system is essential for the evolution of a better society, the Sanwo-Olu administration has put in place several innovative strategies to address the fears of the people in varied scopes.

Thus, from the ‘BOSKOH Health Mission’ to the ‘Thought for Snacks’ initiative to ‘Sanwo-Olu Cares’ and many other such people-friendly initiatives, the narrative has been that of consistent acts of benevolence to the people.

With the strong impact of the inventive EKOEXCEL training programme, the landscape of public education has been radically altered in the State. An acronym for, “Excellence in Child Education and Learning”, the EKOEXCEL programme is designed to reposition public education in the State and improve methods of teaching to meet demands of the 21st century.

In its resolve to develop public education, the current administration also introduced programmes and initiatives such as the home grown feeding for primary school pupils, school rehabilitation, Public-Private-Partnership dialogue, recruitment of 3,000 teachers in public primary and secondary schools and improved welfare schemes for teachers, just to mention but a few.

The administration’s investment in up-scaling infrastructure in the sector has resulted in the completion and commissioning of 18 Classroom Blocks at Muslim Junior College, Egbe, 18 Classroom Blocks at Maya Secondary School, Ikorodu, 18 Classroom Blocks at Eva Adelaja Junior Secondary School, Bariga and Block of 20 Classrooms at Bashua Military School Primary School, Shomolu.

Others are 13 Classrooms at Saviour Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye LGA, Block of 20 Classrooms at Ayanleye Memorial Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye LGA and Block of 6 Classrooms at Ansar Ur Deen, Ibonwon, Epe.

In the area of food security, farmers have also benefited from partnership with the State Government programme of decentralising access to inputs such as fertiliser and seedlings as well as access to training in new farming, processing, storage and marketing techniques.

In order to ensure unhindered access to healthcare, two Mother and Child Centres (MCCs) at Eti-Osa and Igando respectively were completed and commissioned for public use. Before the end of this year, the Badagry and Epe MCCs will also be ready.  For the current administration, nothing is to be spared in order to give Lagosians quality health care.

The compassionate side of the administration can best be captured by understanding the life changing impact of the free medical interventions it embarked on to bring succour to many ailing residents. In its first 200 days in office, through the BOSKOH Health Mission International and the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation, over 250,000 Lagosians benefitted from diverse free medical interventions across several locations in the State.

In order to bridge housing deficit in the State, new housing schemes such as LagosHoms, Igbogbo Scheme with 360 home units comprising 120 1-bedroom, 120 2-bedroom and 120 3-bedroom apartments, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme, Topo, Badagry with 252 2-bedroom apartments, Courtland Villas, Behind Alhaji Femi Okunnu Estate, Igbohushu, Lekki with 120 units of 4-bedroom Maisonettes and BQs and Lekki Apartments, Ikate-Eleguishi, Lekki were completed and commissioned for public use.

Similarly, on January 30, 2020, 492 allottees received keys to the Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande Gardens, a proof that the rent-to-own scheme of the administration is on course. More opportunities are being created for more residents to own houses, as more housing schemes are on the verge of completion.

Public transportation is equally receiving a boost. A network of 30 roads was commissioned at a go in Ojokoro LCDA. More roads have equally been rehabilitated, while others are at various phases of completion. The Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT Corridor, the Pen-Cinema Bridge, the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Agric-Isawo Road and the four junctions’ improvement projects at Allen Avenue, Maryland, Ikotun and Lekki among others are nearing completion and would soon be ready for public. In order to improve traffic management, 1,017 new LASTMA officers were inducted and deployed to manage traffic at strategic locations across the State.

Since the long-term focus of the administration is the integration of intermodal transportation, it is working hard to optimise the use of other means of transportation such as water and rail. Consequently, eight new state-of-the-art ferries were commissioned on 4th February to improve water transportation, while the historic completion of the Continuous Beam Bridge for the Sea-Crossing of the Lagos Rail Line Project at Marina, Lagos effectively signalled the renewal of efforts towards the intermodal transport system.

In all its plans, policies, programmes and activities, the people are at the core of every move of the administration. Thus, as it repairs and enlarges roads, builds hospitals, clears the drains, invests in intermodal transport, empowers more residents, creates more opportunities for economic enhancement and valiantly confronts the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the foremost drive of the administration has always been to improve the lots of the people.

This is not really surprising, considering the people-centric philosophy of the administration that safeguarding the interest of the people must always be the driving force of government.

This is because of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s conviction that the citizens are the bedrock of democracy. Consequently, the State government has never derided itself of having the monopoly of knowledge with regards to finding the right solutions to the myriad of challenges in the State.

It has, therefore, consistently thrown its doors open to divergent opinions and views from various sources. As a people’s government, the Sanwo-Olu administration has established an effective communication strategy between the government and the citizenry.

This is quite fundamental in view of Mr. Governor’s promise to Lagosians that the core of his government’s policies will be defined by their needs. Consequently, it is apparent that the profound promise to mobilise resources to better the lot of the vulnerable is well on course.

The visible achievements of the administration in terms of infrastructure development, quality health care delivery, environmental regeneration, employment generation, upliftment of the youth, upgrading of public infrastructure, provision of security, entrenchment of law and order among others, have created a sense of relief among Lagosians and, indeed, Nigerians that, at last, they have a government that is capable of delivering enduring positive change, which they have for long been clamouring for.

According to ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, excellence does not come by accident; it is achieved by habit and conscious commitment to one’s goals and objectives. This has, indeed, been the operational philosophy of Sanwo-Olu since he assumed office on 29th May, 2019.

Abubakar, a public policy analyst, writes from Apapa, Lagos

This article appeared originally on The Sun, July 2, 2020.