Sanwo-Olu and Dividends Of Democracy In Lagos

By Obinna Amaobi

Babajide Sanwo-Olu is poised to step up performance in his second tenure as Governor of the Centre of Excellence.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, 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 really made his marks.

Sanwo-Olu had also earned a reputation for hardwork, diligence, focus and achieving results.

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 and former governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his successor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), it is evident that Sanwo-Olu had honed his administrative skills under great tutors.

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 20 million Lagosians makes him a problem solver.

Much is expected from 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 of his predecessors, he should also learn from their shortcomings. His programme of action gives a ray of hope.

During his inauguration, he promised to work for a “greater Lagos” 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.

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.”

He has promised to complete the on-going projects initiated by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. Thus, there will be no abandoned projects in Lagos state.

His first term score card showed that his administration has not derailed.

Rather, the governor has worked hard to fulfill his campaign promises to Lagosians. The governor has promoted inclusion in the party, in the government and in the state.

The burden of over 20 million diverse people of Lagos, a mini-country, rests on the shoulders of the model Incident Commander, who is leading the state to recovery across sectors.

The governor took off by unveiling his well-articulated THEMES agenda,  which has remained the main thrust of the social contract between the government and people.

The acronym, THEMES, captured the expectations of the teeming population about the dividends of democracy.

THEMES is the acronym for Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism and Governance and Security.

When he unfolded the agenda, he set the criteria for assessing his administration.

Traffic management and transportation are a major challenge of mega cities, where survival largely depends on unhindered intra-city transportation. This also have implications for economic activities, health and security.

The state government decided to develop the three modes of transportation-roads, rail and waterways.

Sanwo-Olu also converted the state into a huge construction site. He embarked on massive construction and rehabilitation of roads. He never abandoned any uncompleted projects.

Sanwo-Olu inherited the burden of governance from his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode. Heaps of filth dotted the length and breadth of the metropolis, prior to May 29 when he was inaugurated as the fifth elected governor.

It was because the immediate past administration made the time-tested waste management corporation to flounder, paving the way for a strange municipal waste clearing operations driven by Vision Scope.

The beautiful state became a sight of horror. The previous administration was clearly overwhelmed by tons of domestic and industrial waste daily generated from the state.

Lagosians were full of nostalgia, following the disengagement of the PSP operators and the indiscriminate dumping of waste. Every available space became a dumpsite. Lagos suffered from avoidable pollution.

The onus was on Sanwo-Olu to clear the mess and restore sanity into a state of environmental pandemonium. The waste collection and management operations were back to the delight of Lagosians.

In a speed of lightening, the embarrassing mountains of filth in the metropolis disappeared. Residents heaved a sigh of relief.

Sanwo-Olu led a high-powered team to Olusosun Dumpsite, the largest in Lagos, for an on-the-spot assessment of challenges impeding the capacity of the state to efficiently recycle waste.

Consequently, the governor launched of Blue Box Initiative, setting in motion the process of turning 10,000 metric tons of waste daily generated to wealth.

Launching the Blue Box Initiative, Sanwo-Olu said: “It is now crystal clear that we cannot depend on old disposal method to manage the quantum of waste generated in Lagos.

“The experience of the past dictated the need to explore efficient technique in line with our ‘Smart City’ aspiration. Rather than being a burden on us, we want to create wealth through the new techniques and generate jobs for our youths.

“In Lagos, 50 per cent of waste generated contains reusable resources which we can be harnessed.

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 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *