For two years as Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu worked day and night to transform the state into a more livable megalopolis where people who live and come to do business can thrive. Nothing showcases his remarkable art of government more than his meticulous planning and the delivery of high impact projects across the state, from roads to the delivery of housing, modernization of schools, urban renewal and rehabilitation. health facilities.
At last count, the Sanwo-Olu-led administration rebuilt and rehabilitated 301 inner city roads across 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas, delivered over 1,000 housing units, upgraded 10 general hospitals , among others. Specifically, the administration completed more than 1,097 school projects in two years, built six high schools, provided more than 100,000 tables and chairs, built 450 classrooms and provided 2,000 hostel beds in government model schools.
With the tumultuous nature of our politics and the often misinformed antagonism of citizens already elevated to an art form by a number of vocal civil society actors and opposition elements, the governors of Nigeria have tendency to focus on concrete projects. If an administration’s success is awarded solely on the basis of bricks and mortar, Sanwo-Olu is far ahead of its peers. Currently, the first phase of the 18.75 km Lekki-Epe motorway project is progressing impressively, stretching from Eleko Junction to Epe T-junction. The high priority road which was first opened by the administration of Lateef Jakande is a 6-lane rigid carriageway that will connect the second phase, 26.7 km long, starting at the Abraham Adesanya roundabout and ending ending at Eleko Junction. Another road project that will bring massive relief to people living around Victoria Island, Lekki and Ajah Axis is the ongoing Lekki Regional Road, which crosses VGC, Chevron, Ajiran and Freedom Road.
However, what will be a game-changer in public transport infrastructure in Lagos will be the Blue Line and Red Line metro projects. In the end, Sanwo-Olu and his team would have solved a significant problem in the state for which future generations will proudly celebrate it. The administration has raised funds for the completion of phase 1 of the 27 km blue line rail project that will cross Okokomaiko to Marina. The Blue Line will carry 500,000 passengers per day. Not so long ago, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced the construction of the Red Line Mass Transit rail project. He will go from Agbado to Marina. The line with 8 stations and 8 viaducts for vehicles is expected to move 1 million people per day.
For a government seeking to make Lagos a 21st century economy, there is no better way to demonstrate this than to expand broadband access to every part of the state. Lagos is already the largest tech hub for startups and its ecosystem in Africa. Tech startups in Nigeria operating primarily in Lagos have raised around $ 500 million in 2019 and 2020 according to Techpoint’s conservative estimate. The government’s Smart City initiative is being considered to make connectivity very cheap and easy within the state. As part of its PPP model, the government is laying 3,000 km of fiber-optic cable across the state, of which it has already covered 1,800 km connecting 100 schools and 12 hospitals with uninterrupted Internet access.
One area where Sanwo-Olu won the admiration of Lagosians from the start was his emphasis on carrying out the legacy projects started by his predecessors. Over 100 routes started by its immediate predecessor in Alimosho and Agege have been completed. The most visible are the Pen Cinema Flyover Bridge, the Abule-Egba-Oshodi BRT project and many abandoned housing estates.
While Sanwo-Olu has earned his deserved praise from experts and often drenched in applause for his investments in social and physical infrastructure in Lagos, his most admirable achievement for me is the very serious way he takes responsibility. fiduciary for the management of Lagos State money. . His knowledge as a former bank treasurer and former budget and economic planning commissioner has served him well. By his face, the Governor can sometimes exude the style and exuberance of a typical Lagos boy, but make no mistake; he is very parsimonious. This Lagos BOS is very economical. These two examples will suffice.
I participated as an active member of the media and communications team of his campaign based in Ikoyi where we operate. Let me add that he led, perhaps, the most sophisticated and organized political campaign in recent memory in our country with a team of young professionals who brought multidisciplinary experiences to lead a winning campaign. After the election, the party apparatchik, as expected, took it upon themselves to work with the governor-elect to manage the transition process and plan the nomination on May 29, 2019. As is usual practice in our party around the world, different committees were set up to carry out various elements of the inauguration ceremony.
A special committee or subcommittee has been given the responsibility of handling the inauguration ball. For some inexplicable reason, the people planning the inauguration ball presented a bill worth over 1 billion naira to the governor-elect for approval. No one should ask me what kind of special inauguration ball the committee had planned that would have required such a colossal amount of money. I’m sure the committee members felt embarrassed when Sanwo-Olu, as governor-elect, quashed the idea of the inaugural ball altogether. He said it would amount to an unforgivable sin against the people of Lagos to spend so much money just to eat, dance and drink.
The second concerns the stories and sometimes the frustration of many of his key associates in getting the governor to approve money for some of the things they consider important. Of course, few of us have complained about the governor’s attitude to spending money on communications to project the many accomplishments of the government he heads. This is all the more true for a governor whose electoral victory was based on a massive media campaign. A friend who is one of the main contributors told me that he had gone to the governor several times with notes for approval and his enthusiasm waned each time Sanwo-Olu scanned the note to the floor. part concerning the money.
According to my friend, Sanwo-Olu’s usual question is, “How many classrooms or miles of roads am I going to build with this money you want me to spend?” maximum value for people on each naira. Another collaborator told me that there was no more “lau lau” (spend anyway) in the Lagos State government. Many of the appointees who entered government with the intention of making tons of money realized that with Sanwo-Olu, the government is about serving, not acquiring ill-gotten wealth.