There is an unwritten rule that as election draws near, many promises begin to surface. These promisesalbeit one of the few ways politicians share their aspirations for officehave unfortunately garnered a reputation for being rife with untruths.
Despite this, however, we cannot ignore the efforts of truly exemplary persons who have and still hold public offices. One of such persons is the current Lagos State governor: Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
From the onset of his administration, Governor Sanwo-Olu made promises to rejuvenate the states economy and rehabilitate state infrastructures. This was clearly itemised in his developmental agenda christened T.H.E.M.E.S. (Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century State; Security and Governance).
Prior to his role as governor, Sanwo-Olu made considerable contributions to the public sector within his capacity as a public officer in the roles that he held. He chaired the Lagos Security Trust Fund, the LAGBUS System, and the Control & Command Centre in Alausa.
Within 24 hours of being sworn into office, His Excellency signed his first Executive Order to swiftly address traffic and transportation issues, a major hindrance to development in Lagos State. By signing this Executive Order, the states traffic management agency was authorised to increase its hours, running two shifts daily to cater to the huge population of the state.
Since coming into office, he has launched a zero tolerance for potholes in Lagos, dispatching members of the Public Works Corporation to rehabilitate roads in the city, initiated the cleaning out of drainage systems, and to further ease the traffic situation of the state, he banned motorcycles and tricycles from major highways and roads across 15 local government councils. To cushion the effect on residents, however, his administration released 65 high-capacity buses in addition to the current fleet of buses in the city. Likewise, his administration has completed the Oshodi-Abule Egba section of the LagosIbadan Express, reducing traffic by an impressive 75%.
To do this successfully, His excellency introduced a Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) agreement between the state government and financial institutions, where financial institutions rehabilitate roads to achieve their CSR objectives. In this way, taxpayers were spared the burden of rehabilitating these roads.
Other means of transportation have not been left without improvement. Under the directive of Governor Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos Ferry Services, LAGFERRY, commenced operations. Now with its Badore Ferry Terminal in Ajah, plans are in motion to launch terminals in Ijegun, Badagry and Ajegunle.
Lagos state railway system has not been left out too, as a five-kilometre elevated sea-crossing track was completed last December in Marina. Other rail lines in the works include the 68 km Green Line from Marina through Victoria Island, Lekki Phase 1 and 2, Ajah, Ogombo, Lekki Airport to Lekki Free Trade Zone; the 60 km Purple Line from the Redemption Camp through Ogba, Iyana Ipaja and Igando ending at Ojo; the 34 km Yellow Line from Otta through Isheri Osun, Ejigbo Mafoluku, Isolo to National Theatre; the 48 km Orange Line from Ikeja crossing through Mile 12, Ikorodu, Alapadi, Eligana, Isiwu, Imota that ends at Agbowa; among numerous other railway projects.
Similarly, Governor Sanwo-Olu has facilitated the improvement of the citys waste disposal infrastructure. Under his directive, LAWMA launched a single stream recycling programmed named Lagos Blue Box Initiative. This initiative was established to reduced waste generation, reduce carbon footprint, and promote healthy living among citizens in the state.
From his dedication to creating impact, it is clear that Governor Sanwo-Olu esteems the people of Lagos state and their wellbeing, which is why included in his manifesto, is the development of the states security sector. True to his promise, he has since provided infrastructural support to the state police, commissioning the Area J Police Command Administrative at Elemoro town in Ibeju-Lekki; Area L Police Command in Ilashe Ojo; donated 35 patrol motorcycles and 125 patrol vehicles for an improved dispatch of the police duties.
He has initiated the resuscitation of the Adiyan Water Works Phase two where, upon completion, the water treatment plant would deliver out 70 million gallons of clean water a day to Lagosians. This would greatly aid in the fight against water borne health issues, while supporting five million Lagos residents with portable water.
Governor Sanwo-Olu has indeed proven to be a leader with huge vision for the future of Lagos. During the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, he demonstrated this even clearly by leading amidst a never-before-seen pandemic that threatened to bring Lagos economy to its knees. Even after being hit by the Corona Virus, Governor Sanwo-Olu put the welfare of his people before his, running the affairs of state with the same diligence and commitment that he has come to be known with.
With regard to healthcare, Governor Sanwo-Olu has commissioned more health facilities, like the newly built 149-bed maternal and childcare centre in Alimosho General Hospital. Similarly, he commissioned a three-storey 110-bed Maternal and Child care centre in Eti-Osa. In collaboration with the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), the governor has been able to raise awareness for health coverage through the campaign, Ilera Eko which aims to give residents access to quality healthcare. Also, on His Excellencys lists of achievements in the health sector is the Healthy Bee Initiative—an initiative aimed at combating organ impairments and life-threatening ailments in kids under which over 20,000 children have received free healthcare.
Among the qualities that characterise a leader with vision is their commitment to driving change in every sphere of the economy, and Governor Sanwo-Olu has displayed that through his contribution to every sector.
In 2020, a 492-flat housing project was completed and commissioned, giving shelter to numerous residents of the state. This is in line with the 2012 Home Ownership Scheme of his predecessor, which had long been abandoned until His Excellency came into office. Not long after, in January of 2021, the governor commissioned another 264 units of flats, among other projects such as the 744 housing units projects in Sangotedo, the 360 housing units projects in Igbogbo, and the 680 housing units projects in Egan Igando, all of which are slated to be commissioned soon.
In terms of Agriculture, the governor has made massive strides in improving the food production capability of the state. With the commencement of numerous initiatives such as the Women and Youth Empowerment Scheme (WYEP), the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS), as many as 350 people have been mentored. This is not all, as His Excellency recently revealed his five-year masterplan against the backdrop of the near completion of the Imota Rice mill which is estimated to process 38 metric tonnes of rice per hour once active.
Still in 2020, the Eko Excellence in Child Education and Learning (EXCEL) was created to provide continuous developmental support to teachers and students alike. This is in hopes of elevating teachers expertise on the best teaching practices from all around the world. It is estimated that over 500,000 pupils will be influenced positively by the advent of this programme while over 14,ooo teachers would be impacted, equipping them to develop the competencies that will make them globally competitive. Finally, with Lagos State University LASU being set to become a residential tertiary institution, Sanwo-Olus administration has signed a Build, Operate and Transfer agreement with six property developers. This initiative is signed under the Public-Private Partnership programme where these developers would construct 8,272 units of hostels in the school premises ready for use by 2021.
Some would say that Governor Sanwo-Olu is motivated by his deep-rooted connections to the state of Lagos, while others would say he has always been a man of action. Whichever you believe, it is clear that this man is on a mission. He has great vision for Lagos State and given enough time, would do much more than we see and enjoy today.