100 days as Lagos governor… So far so good
In Nigeria, this is also the case And so, to mark his centenary days, Governor Sanwo-Olu, accompanied by his wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, gave stewardship on September 6, 2019 at the Lagos Television Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja. Also present at the event were the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat; Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba and former military governors of Lagos, Retired Brigadier General Raji Rasaki and Rear Admiral Ndubisi Kanu. Others included traditional leaders, some leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC), members of the Executive Council and others.
Given that the normal working time is eight hours a day, if Babajide Sanwo-Olu logged in eight hours every day including Saturdays and Sundays, by the time he was celebrating 100 days as Lagos State governor, he would have logged in 800 hours. But the office of the governor of the Nigerian state is not a regular 9 to 5. In fact, he is on call, every day, except he takes an official leave. Sworn in as governor on May 29, Sanwo-Olu had met a plethora of issues which Lagos as a cosmopolitan presents. To ensure staff morale, the governor immediately set about providing staff buses to ease the transportation of workers at the secretariat.
Sanwo-Olu had also met a dirty state, no thanks to the misadventure with Visionscape, a company his predecessor, former governor Akinwunmi Ambode, had brought in to tackle the challenge of Lagos waste. The company bungled it and compounded the matter, ensuring Lagos became dirtier.
Reverting back to the Private Sector Participation (PSP), a bit of sanity has since been restored. But Lagos is not yet as clean as it ought to be. It is welcoming that the governor is concerned about making Lagos cleaner that he recently commissioned the Olusosun Dumpsite Building for training staff of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) as part of activities to mark his 100 days in office. He also launched the State Blue Box Recycling at Simpson Transfer Loading Station, Lagos Island. Sanwo-Olu said that over 40 million units of waste bags will be given to residents to enable them properly bag and sort their wastes.
Also, following what seems to have become a tradition in Lagos State, Sanwo-Olu earmarked 100 arterial roads across the state for rehabilitation.
It is also great to note that he has continued to work on projects abandoned or neglected by Ambode. Though residents who have to pass through the Lagos-Badagry expressway still experience hell, the road has got the attention of the governor and work has resumed there. The governor promised that the Lagos-Badagry expressway would be ready by December. It is reassuring that men and machinery now work at the site of the Agege Pen Cinema flyover which was abandoned by the previous administration in November 2018. His interest in easing the transport reality in Lagos is not in doubt. He signed his first Executive Order on traffic management and transportation on May 30, barely 24 hours after he was sworn in as governor.
“On assumption of office, we were confronted with major challenges, including traffic management and environmental sanitation,” Sanwo-Olu said.
“Potholes dotted our highways and heaps of refuse were a common sites in our communities. Traffic situation became a source of concern to residents.” While he has made some progress in easing transportation challenges in many parts of Lagos, it is however, sad, that after spending 100 days in office, Sanwo-Olu has not been able to resolve the issue of trucks littering some roads in Apapa, creating traffic nuisance. This was after sweet promises he made. But, if with even the federal task force might and persuasion, the Apapa dilemma couldn’t be resolved, then perhaps, the solution is beyond Lagos and Sanwo-Olu for now.
Notwithstanding, in tandem with the federal government, a solution in the form of completion of a trailer park is in progress.
But for the task, within his capacity, Sanwo-Olu continues to excel. Work has continued on the Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT lane and Sanwo-Olu said the project would be delivered before the end of the year. To ameliorate the traffic situation which Lagos has become notorious for, the administration also directed the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to work in shifts and close by 11pm daily. And to combat the floods, the Office of Drainage Services in the Ministry of Environment were given marching orders to clear the drainages.
In healthcare delivery, the state government recently concluded the ‘Healthy Bee Initiative’ whereby 25,000 residents enjoyed free treatment and surgery. The governor also commissioned a 110-bed Maternal and Child Care (MCC) in Ajah just as another 140-bed MCC has been completed by his government in Alimosho. While this is commendable, the governor still has an onerous task in bringing quality healthcare to Lagosians. Of course, he should know the importance of quality healthcare as his wife is a medical doctor.
And addressing education, Sanwo-Olu recently announced the government was going to recruit about 15, 000 teachers for public primary and secondary schools in the state. And to encourage the use of the internet, the governor said that currently, 50 locations in Lagos enjoy free-wifi. Sanwo-Olu also said the government has partnered with a private telecommunication firm to deploy metropolitan fibre optics across the state to boost internet infrastructure. On the area of security, the government continues to liaise with the police, traditional rulers and community leaders on methods to make Lagos safer. And the governor has ensured that that the economic alliance with Kebbi that birthed LAKE Rice would continue.
While 100 days in some ways can be used to gauge a man’s readiness to perform, in certain cases, such rating may fall short. Sanwo-Olu campaigned with six pillars which he coined as ‘THEMES’ to mean Traffic management and transportation, Health and environment, Education and technology, Making Lagos as a 21st century economy, Entertainment and tourism, and Security and governance. I think he is on course. Good fruits take time to bear. And Sanwo-Olu is aware of that, as he promises of better days.
“My experience during these first 100 days in office has shown that the determination to build greater Lagos is audacious,” said Sanwo-Olu, surrounded by friends and residents of Lagos.
“I can assure all residents that my government and members of the State Executive Council are ready to bring about more programmes and actions that will take Lagos to greater heights in socio-economic development. The coming days will be filled with good governance and more successes.” I want to believe him. However, for Lagos to continue to work effectively, it needs the co-operation of Lagosians. How can Lagosians co-operate to ensure Lags is better? Well, to be good citizens and strive to obey laws and order, to take civic responsibilities important and help government by for instance, registering with the state as a resident and paying ones taxes. God bless Lagos.
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