Game-changing factors as Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun mark 100 days
Can the governors of Lagos and Ogun States, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dapo Abiodun, who will join their counterparts across the country to mark 100 days in office, change the political equations in the terrain ahead of the next general elections? This is particularly so going by the political turbulence the two governors faced before they emerged in the last gubernatorial election. This is a critical question some political observers in both states would want Sanwo-Olu and Abiodun to answer in whatever speech they give on Friday to mark the event.
Although the tradition of celebrating 100 days in office by governors has come to stay since Nigeria returned to democratic governance in 1999, what is expected of the two goes beyond mere reeling out of achievements. Keen followers of situations in both states would also like to see the duo address the political dynamics that will sharpen, not only the developments of Ogun and Lagos, but also how they intend to tackle the cumbersome politics that shape their slippery terrains.
One of such critical issues is that of how power rotates and the recent outburst of Awori indigenes who desire to have a shot at the governorship seat in the next gubernatorial election in both states. In Lagos, the Awori problem Sanwo-Olu may possible face has started and it appears that those behind the campaign are determined to extract a measure of promise for their demand. Abiodun, too, would not likely play down the Awori factor.
Awori’s demand governorship positions in Lagos, Ogun
The Awori have restated their demand that it is high turn they be given the mantle of leadership to pilot the affairs of Lagos and Ogun. They also charged both governments to accord them their deserved recognition and due representation as members of the states’ cabinet, Senators, House of Representative members, commissioners and special advisers.
The Awori made the call at the celebration of the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, on her leadership position in the state.Recall that some leaders representing the Awori clan had decried the near absence of Awori in the commissioners recently appointed in Lagos State, and urged the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu, to come to their aid in the interest of fairness and justice, as they claimed to be marginalised in the governance structure of the state in terms of appointments.
In his keynote address, Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, who chaired the event, lamented that despite the Awori being the founding fathers of Lagos and constituting the bulk of the indigenous population of the 20 local government areas of the state, with 31 per cent of the population of Ogun State, they are still being marginalised in the governance of both states.He said the Awori hold a strategic place in the socio-economic development of both states, noting that it is worrisome, disturbing, and unfair that an indigene has never been elected as governor of these two states. He, however, appealed to those in authority in both states to stop being unjust to the Awori, warning of possible consequences of continued marginalisation.
According to Olawale-Cole, “We must avoid repeating the same agitation against marginalisation that led to the hydra-headed crisis in Niger Delta because it will create an unpleasant development for the peace of the community. What is the future of our children if we are continuously denied our deserved rights in our own land?”
The Chairman, Organising Committee, Prof Babatunde Salako, who commended the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, for choosing an Awori as his deputy, assured him of support during his tenure. He further said many Awori indigenes were holding sway in many fields of endeavour, where they contribute to national development and nation building.He further appealled to all Awori to be actively involved in politics at all levels in order to take full advantage of such avenues to offer their services to the nation.
While delivering his speech, President, Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria (AWAN), Solomon Ojolowo, recalled that the Awori have only occupied the position of deputy governors in Lagos and Ogun States, and said he was hopeful that the governorship position would get to an Awori man or woman some day soon.He said politics is a game of numbers and appealled to all Awori, including the royal fathers, to always unite when it comes to championing the cause of Awori nation and promote its progress and development.
The deputy governor, Salako-Oyedele commended Abiodun for choosing her, while assuring that their tenure would be a memorable one that would have positive impact on the lives of the people of Ogun State and the Awori.
Influx of immigrants and challenges of security
THE interception of a truck laden with 48 motorcycles and 123 men coming from Jigawa State by Lagos State Environment Sanitation and Special Offences Task Force last Friday is one issue Sanwo-Olu and Abiodun should not sweep under the carpet even though those arrested have since been released and have gone to court demanding N1 billion as damages.
Stakeholders in the state told The Guardian yesterday that since Ogun and Lagos are close and also prone to influx of immigrants looking for better opportunities, the onus was on both governors to improve on their security network for the safety of their people. This is coming on the heels of the rampant insecurity being allegedly perpetrated by illegal immigrants across the Southwest states in the last couple of months.
A respondent in Lagos particularly urged the leadership of Lagos and Ogun APC to be watchful and also be ready to monitor appropriately the influx of northerners into Lagos, especially because of the political undertone associated with the development.
Meanwhile, the Lagos chapter of APC has said the administration of Sanwo-Olu has done much to put the state on the path of progress in the last 100 days. The Assistant Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Abiodun Salami, said the governor was fulfilling his electoral promises of a better Lagos, also noting that Lagos State’s residents are already feeling the impact of Sanwo-Olu’s administration.
“The last 100 days of the Sanwo-Olu administration have been very eventful,” Salami said. “The governor has worked so hard to justify the mandate of the people. He is working in line with the wishes of the people. He is fulfilling his electoral promises. Lagos is getting better under Sanwo-Olu and residents should expect more of these better days.”
While highlighting the achievements of Sanwo-Olu in the last 100 days, Salami said the present administration has taken practical steps to improve infrastructure within the period, adding that the government has fixed many bad roads across the state in order to ease movement of residents.
In his words: “The Sanwo-Olu administration is fixing roads across the state in order to address the problem of gridlock. The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is getting attention. The Pen Cinema Bridge is getting attention and so many impactful projects are getting accelerated attention by the Sanwo-Olu administration. The governor is working and APC and residents are proud of what he has done in the last 100 days.”Salami also noted that the present administration had made great interventions in the health, education, transportation and other sectors in the last 100 days.
FOR Abiodun, the governor is being commended for putting in place a solid Transition Work Group, made up of tested professionals and resourceful personalities from varied backgrounds in business, governance, public service, and the academia to come up with a solid blueprint that would form his trajectory of governance.
The governor’s 100 days in office appear to have witnessed cautious, but steady and systematic approach to tackling the various challenges. The government has devoted the few days in office embarking on silent “re-engineering process” which includes wide consultations that would soon start yielding positive results and gradually stabilizing the polity to pave way for enduring socio economic development. This style has indeed given credence to the wise saying that nobility is the hallmark of princeship and a strong sense of character and patience being great assets.
Specifically, Governor Abiodun’s approach to tackling the security challenges are three pronged: protection of lives and property through the strengthening of the internal security system, protection of the porous border regions across the country and provision of job opportunities for the teeming youth for economic empowerment and crime prevention.
Said Abiodun: “These are the issues we have; we have the influx of illegal aliens coming through our borders. Because our borders are very porous, perhaps we need to begin to consider some form of identifying these people when they cross our borders.”Apart from inaugurating a committee to oversee the amended State Security Trust Fund, which seeks to activate a private sector-driven programme that would assist government in addressing various security challenges, a strong signal had also been sent to kidnappers and those harboring criminals to stay clear of the state. The government has made strong statements on the fate that would befall those who indulge in such heinous crimes and their collaborators. The Abiodun administration has given indication that the passage of the Security Trust Fund (Amendment) law 2019 would help strengthen security operations by boosting existing Security Trust Fund to promote efficiency in security management.
Aside from this, the successful launch of the jobs portal with over 30,000 registration by applicants so far has indicated the seriousness attached to the economic empowerment of the people as a means of further tackling insecurity. The novel portal approach has been widely acknowledged as capable of removing ‘favoritism’ in the selection process, as the online method would place applicants in appropriate sectors where they would be more productive. The inauguration of the jobs portal also witnessed instant automatic employment for 20 young Nigerians who emerged winners at the “online objective questions” thrown open to thousands of applicants at the venue.
Already, the State Government has commenced the sorting of profiles of applicants and will soon start matching those on the database and link them with prospective employers.Agricultural development features prominently in Abiodun government’s scheme of things in the state, as he noted, “The target of our administration is to produce enough food to attain self-sufficiency in food security as providence has blessed the state with favourable climate and fertile soil that sits on over 16,000 square metres of which 18 per cent is arable.”
To demonstrate his resolve in this direction, about 40,000 farmers in the state are to get single digit loan under the “Anchors Borrowers Scheme”, in addition to service support and training required of which 10,000 would be attended to in the first instance.
“While we have seen the success of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme in other states, it is disheartening that Ogun State has never accessed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers programme through the public window,” the hovernor noted.A highly elated Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Segun Dasaolu, described the gesture as “the beginning of a revolution in the agricultural sector.”
According to the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kunle Somorin, “In the area of infrastructural development, the present administration has adopted a dynamic, progressive and cost-ffective strategy of rehabilitating existing roads. The palliatives became necessary due to the terrible state of many township roads in the three Senatorial Districts of the state, including those designated as federal roads, many of which made life unbearable for commuters in the past. Already, the various gangs of Public Works Department (PWD) team are in different parts of the state working round the clock. Notably, roads already being touched include Itokin-Ibefun-Ijebu Ode road, Iperu-Ilisan road, Sango-Ojodu-Abiodun road, Ilaro-Owode road, Abeokuta-Sango-Ota-Lagos road, Osi-Ota-Awolowo-Navy-Kola road, Balogun-Kuku road, Ijebu-Ode road, and the reconstruction of Opako Bridge in Adigbe, Abeokuta and many other township roads.”