Encomium for Sanwo-Olu as he turns 58
As Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State turns 58 today, many residents of the state and All Progressives Congress chieftains have described his as the man who understands time and season and what Lagosians need at this moment.
For the governor who began his second term on May 29, his re-election has justified the confidence Lagosians have in him. He is not only seen as a performing governor, but he is believed to have all it takes to drive the mega economy of the state with about 25 million population, comprising of all major tribes in Nigeria.
At 58, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, surveyor, banker and governor of Lagos, is forging ahead with purpose, courage and confidence.
His ascension to power was an act of God. It was a fulfilment of destiny. While those who brought him to government around 2003 floundered, the young technocrat was loyal to the core.
He embraced the duties assigned to him with passion, demonstrated humility, intelligence and candour, and shunned idleness.
Soon, his talents unfolded, making him a vital asset to the administration. He was tested and trusted by his leader. On that note too, he became a man of the future.
To Lagosians, Sanwo-Olu is a round peg in a round hole. In the positions he held before becoming the governor, he had performed creditably.As Special Adviser on Corporate Governance, Acting Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, and LSDPC boss, he tarring made his marks.
Sanwo-Olu had also earned a reputation for hardwork, diligence, focus and achieving results. The consensus of opinion is that Lagosians made a good choice in re-electing him for the second term. Party elders, particularly members of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), who have showered encomiums on him for living to expectation in the last four years, are optimistic that, judging by his antecedents, he will finish well.
Ikorodu APC leaders, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye and Olorunfunmi Basorun, hailed Sanwo-Olu for extending dividends of democracy to the division by constructing 15 roads.
“We salute our governor on his birthday and pray that Almighty God shall strengthen him physically and spiritually to continue the relentless and highly qualitative service he is rendering to Lagosians,” they said in a statement.
Also, a staunch APC member from Epe, Kayode Adelaja urged Lagosians to continue to support the administration. “We have a dynamic governor who has conducted need analysis and he is meeting public expectations. Our party can boast of a governor that is adding value. Sanwo-Olu is a promise keeper,” he said.
Adelaja said: “We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the government towards tackling the challenge of insecurity in the state. It’s noteworthy that the novel Lagos State Security Trust Fund remains the rallying point for the provision of the requisite support for the security agencies in the state. The provision of operational vehicles , communication gadgets and other logistics has no doubt made Lagos State the safest in the country.
“We align with the government efforts to tackle the menace of okada riders whose mode of operation, lawlessness, threat to lives and general well-being can no longer be tolerated. We affirm that true development can only be achieved in a stable , secured and peaceful environment.
“We affirm that security and safety remain the business of all and sundry especially at a time like this. The commitment to increase the manpower of the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Watch and equip them accordingly is a step in the right direction.
“The Lagos State government under Governor Jide Sanwoolu has become the reference point for good, focused, impactful, inclusive, responsible , responsive , innovative and humane governance.We are indeed convinced that Lagos State is in safe hands. He is indeed the man for the season.
“As a party, we are proud that you have kept faith as our flag-bearer and on course to fulfill our progressive manifestos to the delight of all Lagosians.
“As he begins a second term, we are convinced that all projects will be completed and more impactful policies, programs and projects will be implemented as you finish strongly.
“We can as well start preparing to add the appellation “Your Excellency “to your name which you have earned in words and deed. Without an iota of doubt, your name will go down in history as the governor who took over at an unusual.”
Lauding his achievements, Lagos State
APC Publicity Secretary Seye Oladejo said the governor has done the party and the state proud. Oladejo also listed the roads completed by the administration in two years. They include, Oniru network of roads, Ojokoro network of roads- 31 in number- the Pen Cinema fly-over, Agege, Oshodi/Abule-Egbe BRT corridor, Phases 1 & 2 of Badagry expressway, Lagos-Ogun boundary roads, 6 major junction improvements at Lekki1 & 2 , Ajah, Maryland, Ikotun and Allen Avenue. Jide Oki / Ade Adedina/ Olugbani streets in Iru/ Victoria Island, Ijegun-Egbe road and Ishuti road in Igando. St. Finbarrs road/Diya street in Yaba Iwaya road.
“Others are 216 inner roads in the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs were rehabilitated.
On-going projects include the Lekki Regional Roads, Lekki-Epe expressway, Agric Isawo Road, Ikorodu, Bola Tinubu-Igbogbo-Imota Road, Ijede road, Oba Sekumade road and construction of 100 bus shelters, 78 of which have been completed.”
From day one, he had hit the ground running. He is conscious of the fact that the progressive beat must go on in the Centre of Excellence.
Having served under the architect of modern Lagos President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his successor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), it is evident that Sanwo-Olu had honed his administrative skills under great tutors.
In the last four years that he has been on the driver’s seat, he has not rested. Lagos is a mini-country shouldering enormous national, sub-regional and continental responsibilities.On the shoulders of the governor rests the burden. His ability to cater effectively for over 25 million Lagosians makes him a problem solver.
However, as Sanwo-Olu increased the tempo of infrastructure battle across the three senatorial districts and five indigenous divisions, the strange pestilence, Covid-19 pandemic, sneaked into Lagos to distract his government.
He became the Incident Commander. But, conscious of the nature of the vast city state and people’s yearning, he has maintained a sensitive balance.
While tackling the public health challenge, concerted efforts are also made to full the campaign promises he made during the electioneering.Before Covid-19, Lagos, under his leadership, had become a huge construction site, after the initial public complaints about the total collapse of infrastructure.In Covid-19 period, the Incident Commander has blazed the trail in the anti-pestilence war through the total mobilisation of human and material resources deployed to combat the pandemic.
Isolation and treatment centre in LUTH, Infection Disease Hospital, Yaba, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan, and General Hospital, Gbagada, are doing wonders. Many patients recovered from the illness.
Indeed, Covid-19 was a distraction. But, the impact of the ‘government of inclusion’ is felt across the sectors-education, health, transportation, civil service reforms, agriculture, housing and security.
It is gratifying that the young, dynamic and forward-looking governor has consistently demonstrated wit, competence and determination to succeed.
Many thinks that Lagos is rich because of its about N50 billion Internally General Revenue (IGR). But, it may not be enough to fight the infrastructure battle. The hand of the Federal Government is heavy on the state.
While over 75 percent of the Value Added Tax (VAT) is generated from Lagos, no percentage is conceded to the state. Neither has the Federal Government thought it fit to return its ‘seized’ landed property.
While Niger Delta states enjoy financial assistance from the Federal Government, pleas for special economic assistance for Lagos have fallen on deaf ears. These are constraints.
But not deterred, he has built and commissioned many projects that have improved on the social and economic welfare of the Lagosians. Sanwo-Olu conducted virtual commissioning of completed classroom blocks in Maya Secondary School, Ikorodu; Eva Adelaja Junior School, Bariga; and Saviour Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye; the Concrete Jetty in Baiyeku, Ikorodu; the Aradagun – Ajido – Epeme Road in Badagry; and the Maryland Signalisation Project.
According to environmental experts, Sanwo-Olu embarked on wealth creation through waste sorting to fully achieve improved service delivery in waste collection, thereby ridding the metropolis of filth.
Indeed, the governor has revived moribund and abandoned projects, in line with his promise not to discontinue projects inherited from the previous administrations.
The integrated mass transportation blueprint of the Lagos Government recorded a huge progress under the Sanwo-Olu administration, with the commissioning of Blue Line Rail project.
He formally kicked off commercial waterways transportation, with the official launch of eight newly acquired speedboats operated by Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY).
The governor led members of the State Executive Council to Igando, in Alimosho area, to open the 492-flat housing project completed by his administration. It was named after the first civilian Governor of Lagos, Alhaji Lateef Jakande.
Sanwo-Olu has defended the education sector with improved funding. For the first time in 36 years, Lagos State University (LASU) is set to become a residential tertiary institution.The Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCED), Ijanikin, is being upgraded to a fully-fledged university by the Sanwo-Olu administration to address the deficit in university education among youths in the state.Despite these feats, Sanwo-Olu said nobody should prefix his name with ‘His Excellency.’
Much is expected on Sanwo-Olu in the next four years. Many believe that he is prepared for the job. While he is also expected to build on the achievements he recorded in his first term, he should also learn from their shortcomings. His programme of action gives a ray of hope.
He worked for a “greater Lagos” in his first term and has started “rising Lagos” in his second term through the implementation of “six pillars of development agenda.”
The pillars, which he described as the
framework that encapsulates his vision, include traffic management and transportation, health and environment, education and technology, making Lagos as a 21st century economy, entertainment and tourism, and security and governance. He has added empowerment of the youth and women to his agenda.
Sanwo-Olu said: “These six pillars of development represent our response to the yearnings of the people. They constitute the foundations that must be restored for future generations. Should we fulfil our promise and deliver on these pillars, we are most confident that we would have succeeded in setting Lagos on a new trajectory of economic growth and development that would be unprecedented in our entire history.”
The governor was born in June 25, 1965 in Lagos. He is a graduate of the cosmopolitan University of Lagos, Akoka, where he studied Surveying.
He also attended the London Business School, the Lagos Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Sanwo-Olu earned an MBA degree from UNILAG. He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD).
Sanwo-Olu is not a politician without a second address. He was the Treasurer at former Lead Merchant Bank from 1994 to 1997. He also worked with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) as the Head of Foreign Money Market.
At the First Inland Bank, Plc (now First City Monument Bank), he was a Deputy General Manager and Divisional Head.
In private business, he was also a success. Sanwo-Olu was the Chairman of Baywatch Group Limited and First Class Group Limited. He was a board member of the Department for International Development (DFID/DEEPEN) Fund and Audit Committee of Caverton Offshore Services Group, PLC.
Since 2003, he had placed his hand on the plough and never looked back. Although he joined the Tinubu administration as a technocrat, when was appointed a Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to Pedro, he later learned the ropes. He served as Acting Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, and later, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in 2007.
In 2007, he was appointed as Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions by former Governor Babatunde Fashola SAN). In 2016, Ambode appointed him as Managing Director/CEO of LSDPC. His achievements include the supervision of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Privatization Projects.
He also played a great role in the setting up of the Lagos Security Trust Fund. He served as its pioneer board chairman. The LAGBUS System and the Control and Command Centre in Alausa were also part of his initiatives.
Sanwo-Olu is a recipient of many awards and honours. They include the Platinum Award from the Lagos State Public Service Club, 2009 Best in Human Capital Development award from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Merit award from the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Merit award from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Nigeria (CIPMN), Merit Award from the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), and LSDPC Impactful Leadership and Recognition Award.
Responding to the declining quality of basic education in public schools, Sanwo-Olu rolled out Excellence in Child Education and Learning (EKO EXCEL) – an education blueprint that will deploy technology to fundamentally transform the basic education template.
With the initiative, the Sanwo-Olu administration is creating highly skilled personnel in teaching.On Agriculture, the governor accelerated work on the unfinished Rice Mill and Industrial Park in Imota in Ikorodu Division of the State. The Rice Mill is the biggest in the country. It will produce 32 metric tons of rice per hour and 2.8 million bags of 50kg bags of rice yearly.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.