Home Lagos Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat: A review of the past 4 years

Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat: A review of the past 4 years

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Lagos State was created fifty-five years ago and in those years, it has seen 15 governors – military and civilian – come and go. Since the fourth republic began in 1999, four governors have graced the executive chair in Alausa, namely; Bola Tinubu (1999 – 2007), Babatunde Fashola (2007 – 2015), Akinwunmi Ambode (2015 – 2019) and the current governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

In the last 23 years, Lagos, under these governors, has established its status as the economic capital of Nigeria and has gone on to exert its dominance in many outstanding sectors across the continent of Africa.

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L-R Former Lagos State Governors; Akinwunmi Ambode, Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola

Notable achievements under Tinubu are the transformation of the housing and education sectors. Fashola is remembered for his infrastructural development, public security, rural development and health sector development, especially in the fight against Ebola.

Ambode made his mark in road reconstruction projects, improving the financial system of the state and introducing Lake Rice. These above achievements are a few out of many outstanding projects carried out by Sanwo-Olu’s predecessors.

This is 2023, Sanwo-Olu has just concluded a term – four years of administration- and he seeks re-election which is his constitutional right. This has prompted LagosPost to do a review of his performance in the last four years through the eyes of Lagosians, Nigerians and the world.

Lagos State Before 2019

To have a proper review, what was Lagos State like in 2019 before Babjide Sanwo-Olu took over the reins of power from Ambode? By 2019, the Lagos State Electric Power Sector Reform Bill was in place, to light up Lagos.

There was also improved security, with the donation – one of the largest – from the Lagos State Security Trust Fund to the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, which includes power bikes, operational vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, bulletproof vests, ballistics and helicopters.

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Ambode donated security gear to the Police. Photo Credit: Premium Times

In the transportation sector, the Oshodi world-class terminus was almost completed, and there were better Marco Polo buses for the BRT initiative – a continued legacy from Fashola. On the waterways, jetties were available for water transportation to ease traffic congestion. The Lekki-Epe expressway was also redesigned for the free flow of traffic.

Ambode also refurbished general hospitals and primary health care centres and finally, an excellent Internally Generated Revenue, IGR of N382 billion as of 2018, 33% of Nigeria’s total IGR.

The Promises

Knowing all these, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his running mate, Obafemi Hamzat under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) unveiled a development agenda tagged Project T.H.E.M.E.S.

Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat jointly shared the idea in 2019 before the election to a cross-section of the party leaders, captains of industry, artisans and supporters in Lagos.

According to them, the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda was the five pillars of development that the administration will focus on: Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism, as well as Security and Governance.

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Deputy Governor Hamzat and Governor Sanwo-Olu

They said the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda was a carefully thought-through project after speaking to stakeholders across sectors in the state.

“We didn’t just prepare the T.H.E.M.E.S documents in our bedrooms or in one hotel or inside a board room,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“The documents came from our numerous engagements with the people of Lagos State, telling us what their needs are and the immediate intervention they require on any challenge.”

For traffic, he promised that gridlock in places like Third Mainland Bridge, Lekki-Ikoyi/Admiralty Way, Lekki Toll Plaza, and the other red spots would be resolved within nine months of his administration.

“We promise to implement a more effective public transport system, reactivate the rail system, extend water transport services, expand and improve network of roads,” he said for the transportation agenda.

In the health sector, Sanwo-Olu promised that in his administration there would be a minimum of three doctors, three nurses and five community health workers in all 354 Primary Health Centres by 2021, as well as build 10 new PHCs for riverine and other underserved communities.

Environmentally, Sanwo-Olu promised that his government would optimise waste management, and improve drainage and disposal of wastewater in the state.

The University of Lagos alumnus further stated that in Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, his administration would create an environment conducive to investment, industry growth, empowerment of the local workforce, the support of key economic sectors such as agriculture, housing, and security, and the use of local talent to create jobs and wealth.

His deputy, Mr Hamzat, speaking on the plan for education and technology, said their administration would introduce measures to address three broad issues, namely: students, teachers, and school infrastructure. He added that their government would invest heavily in the development of talented and well-trained young individuals to drive economic development.

“We want to assure Lagosians that there would be an increased budgetary allocation for education from 12.07 per cent to 18 per cent during the tenure of our administration if we win the election.

“Besides, the state government will collaborate with industry, the federal government and academia to update the education curriculum to reflect current and future industry needs, he said”

According to Hamzat, the Sanwo-Olu administration aims to make Lagos the foremost entertainment and tourism destination in Africa.

“As such, our government will work with stakeholders to facilitate the creation of a fully equipped and functional film city that will include an academy to encourage skills training”, he said.

The current deputy governor, in wooing the stakeholders at the time, further added that a new sports policy would be introduced to make sports a viable economic platform in the state.

“We will galvanise grassroots participation in sport and revive periodic community sports competitions, street sports championships and community shields periodically to promote wellness, community spirit, and generate employment,” he added.

The Journey Since 2019

This seems fair, looking at what his forerunner was able to achieve within four years. The four-time commissioner and his deputy, a long-term Commissioner for Science and Technology in Lagos state, acknowledged the developments that their predecessors since 1999 achieved in the states, but believed much more could still be done to realise the full potential of Lagos State.

Based on the five pillars of development, let’s take a look at the last four years of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat’s administration. The good, the bad and the…

Traffic and Transportation

Traffic management in Lagos experienced some improvement under the Sanwo-Olu administration as measures were put in place to mitigate gridlock in the state.

Notable gridlock areas identified by the state government are Ikeja under-bridge, Oshodi, Jakande Gate, Cele, Ojota, Ketu/Mile 12, Iyana Ipaja, Onipanu inward Anthony, Ikotun junction, Igando, Ikorodu roundabout to Idumota.

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Gridlock at Ketu, Ikorodu Road. Photo Credit: NAN

On March 16, 2022, a special traffic team was set up to combat traffic gridlock in the above areas, and they comprised officials from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Lagos State Parks Monitoring Committee, Removal of Abandoned Vehicle Committee and Ministry of Transportation Taskforce.

Announcing the team, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, in a meeting with Zonal Commanders of the parastatals assured that the sole aim of the team is to focus on the reduction of traffic for improved travel time.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr Kamar Olowoshago, urged the traffic personnel to be professionals.

Olowoshago said, “I want you to reduce your overzealousness but increase your professionalism. You are the face and image of the State Government, and thus should desist from any behaviour capable of bringing the image of the government to disrepute. Let your interaction with members of the public be corrective inclined than punitive.”

Responding to Olowoshago, the General Manager of the LASTMA, Mr Bolaji Oreagba, reaffirmed the commitment of the agency to deliver on its core objective and statutory responsibility

“We want to thank Mr Governor for your unrelenting support in spite of the many challenges facing the Agency. We know to whom much is given much is expected. We will not relent but continue to live up to a very high standard of discipline and service delivery.”

However, in April, a check of some of the gridlock areas identified by Fayinka has not seen much improvement in traffic flow and journey time. Mile 2, for example, has gotten worse compared to when the team was not in place.

At Oshodi, the traffic congestion at the three points identified by Fayinka still exists. This is the same for all the other traffic red spots and the traffic in all of these places is caused by commercial vehicles picking up passengers on the road indiscriminately, road constructions, bad roads, obstructions and indiscriminate parking on major roads by motorists have worsened commuters’ experience in the metropolis.

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Articulated vehicles caused gridlock on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway

The only exception is Mile 2, whose logjam is caused by articulated vehicles. Inward Apapa, these vehicles turned the fast lane of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway into a parking lot. This is coupled with the reconstruction of the service lane.

By October 22, 2022, the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat administration reconstituted and inaugurated the Apapa Special Traffic Management Team to help tackle gridlock in Mile 2/Tincan and its environs. Chairman of the Team and Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, said it became necessary to integrate the gains of the improved traffic flow of the Apapa axis.

Speaking at the inauguration of the committee members at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Giwa, said, “the focus of the team is to solely eliminate gridlock on the Mile 2/Tincan axis, sustain the 80 per cent success recorded on Apapa traffic reduction, in line with the Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu’s promise to resolve traffic challenges in Apapa and its environs.”

This initiative has led to a significant reduction in gridlock on the Apapa Expressway.

Vivian, a commuter on the axis who spoke to LagosPost applauded Sanwo-Olu saying “before now if you want to go to Okokomaiko from Oshodi, you must wake up as early as possible and expect to spend nothing less than 3 hours on that road. Now, it takes me about 30 minutes, which is a good development.”

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Free Apapa-Oshodi Expressway

Hopefully, by the time most of the road constructions are completed, the gridlock would have been reduced minimally.

The light rail system is another initiative by the Sanwo-Olu administration to combat the transportation challenges in the state. The first phase of the 13- kilometre Lagos Blue Rail Line from Marina to Mile 2 was inaugurated on January 24, 2023, by President Muhammadu Buhari. It is expected to commence operations in the last week of March or the first week in April.

After the first phase, the train will transport 250,000 passengers daily and 500,000 passengers when completed at 27 km.

Another laudable thing is that the Cowry card will be integrated and used as access to the train.

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The Lagos Blue Line train

The governor also promised that the red line will be ready soon, as he is determined to deliver them on time for use by Lagosians.

Additionally, the water transportation in Lagos was expanded as new jetties were constructed and more LagFerries deployed. This has helped ease traffic congestion as communities close to the Lagoon now commute easily, just as the metro rail is expected to do when operations begin in the state.

Another initiative in the last four years is LagRide; a cheaper and more comfortable car-hailing service.

Health and Environment

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Governor Sanwo-Olu was applauded for how the crisis was contained, which helped minimise the spread even though Lagos recorded the highest number of cases.

For his commendable proactiveness during the pandemic, Governor Sanwo-Olu was alongside some top African leaders nominated for the Africa Safety Award for Excellence (AfriSAFE) 2020 Icon of the year by the Health, Environment and Safety (HSE) professionals.

He was also awarded the Vanguard Personality Award 2021 by Vanguard Newspaper for his stride in governance, especially in his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. This also earned him the Hallmarks of Labour Award for Exemplary leadership and transparency in public health management and control of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

 

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Governor Sanwo-Olu and nine others receive the Hallmark of Labour award

Sanwo-Olu receiving the award held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos during the Hallmarks of Labour’s 25th anniversary and 2020/2021 role model awards said,

“I will say with every sense of responsibility that I am the least qualified because I am the youngest among the awardees. What it shows us is that we, the younger generation have something to look forward to.”

The governor continued, “It is something that will continue to challenge us and ensure that we do our very best looking at the level of commitment that our fathers, mothers have dedicated to this country. Hallmarks award is indeed an outstanding award. We are truly honoured.”

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Governor Sanwo-Olu wins FIFIC Global Infracstructure Presidential Prize

Aside from the containment of Covid-19 in the state, the healthcare sector also witnessed massive improvement as many institutions with world-class facilities and equipment were commissioned, these include Maternal, Childcare Centre, MCC, an upgrade of School of Anesthesia both in Badagry, Maternal, Childcare Centre, MCC, in Epe and a School of Basic Medical Sciences, LASUCOM among a host of others.

Under his administration, the Lagos State Government collaborated with several foundations to achieve universal health coverage through its 100 in 100 surgical intervention programme.

General hospitals received facelifts, and a children’s hospital is under construction on Lagos Island. This and many more are the achievements of the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat in the health sector. Oh! He was awarded the Health Tech Governor of the Year Award at the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award in 2022.
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The award was to recognise his administration’s effort in applying technology to solve health challenges and the quality of life of citizens. Overwhelmed by the award, Sanwo-Olu said, “We do this for one reason, we do this because we’re Nigerians, and we love Nigeria, and we do this because we are custodians of good health and well-being, and it is our responsibility to keep our patients healthy and well.

“I think it’s important to recognize achievements in the health sector; and as one who is charged with the responsibility of charting the future of the healthcare space in Lagos State, I must say that I’m proud of the contributions and support provided to us by the private sector.

Entertainment

The governor pledged support for the entertainment industry and has kept his word. To build the Lagos State Creative Industry, the Ministry of Arts and Culture launched an academy in collaboration with Ebony Life Creative Academy to train young Lagosians in all the various forms of film production. So far, the Academy has graduated 850 graduands as of September 2022.

The Head of the School, Drikus Volschenk during one of the graduations in 2022 speaking on the relevance of the training in getting into Nollywood said, “I think the film industry is tough but the trainees will penetrate the industry. Some of them will pop out here and there in Nollywood as big stars, but they need to keep companies, produce their own work and penetrate the Nollywood.”

Also at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of the Academy, Mrs Bukola Agbaminoja applauded the Sanwo-Olu administration for catering for the tuition of students and the access to a loan for film production.

“The state government has disbursed N200 million loan for 48 artistes to enable them forge ahead after the training.

“We have impacted them with the prerequisite knowledge and certification in the film industry. Many of them are professionals in different genres of film production and this gives us great joy to graduate 120 students who are ready to hit the market.

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Some of the Graduating Students in Film Production

“This is the vision of Lagos State government and we are happy to see it being actualized, as you can see, they have been featuring in some major productions that have cut across the state and Nigeria.

“I am happy that when you watch upcoming productions, a minimum of three of our products will feature in these. Imagine students that have just taken courses in three months performing remarkably to the extent of producing fiction movies,” She said.

Furthermore, the establishment of the Creative Industry Group, CIG, is another way to extend Lagos’ status as the entertainment hub not just in Nigeria but in Africa as well.

In 2020, the state government set aside a N1 billion intervention loan, which allowed members of the CIG to access loans to help cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on them.

Through the CIG, the state government has been able to establish a creative industry group pacific estate at Ibeju Lekki and the CUG line was purchased for fast and easy communication among members. Also, a welfare empowerment kit of life and health insurance was obtained for members in collaboration with Capital Express Assurance and Hallmark HMO health services.

In the works is the establishment of Empress Mandani’s World Cinema Academy and continued free skill acquisition and human capacity-building training for members.

Making Lagos a 21st-Century Economy

The Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat government can boast of a lot in the economic sector. The Ehingbeti Summit is one of the economic strides of the administration, through the summit, remarkable achievements have been recorded, these include the promotion of private sector participation to secure urban development.

Also, the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, export free trade zone and SME Hubs were established to help boost trade in the state. The Lagos Urban Transport Office, now known as LAMATA, Disaster Management Agency was also established while the State Emergency Medical Services was refurbished to mitigate risk.

The water sector reform programme was implemented while an institute for the training, retraining and certification of transport operators and drivers was established for efficient transport operation.

Housing projects also kicked off in Badagry, Ibeshe, Igbogbo, Igando, Sangotedo, Surulere and others.

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President Buhari inaugurates the Imota Rice Mill

To achieve the megacity status for Lagos, the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat administration developed large-scale mechanised rice cultivation and created a paddy system for rice cultivation for small-scale farmers. A politically neutral Lagos Economic Development Board was also established to supervise the long-term development plan of the state.

The achievements of this government to boost the economy of the state in the last four years also include the establishment of the Lagos Energy Academy, an intermodal transport system enabled by technology, an overhaul of the education curriculum to reflect the realities of the 21st century and the creation of a comprehensive Lagos State Development 30-year Plans to transform Lagos into a Model Mega City in Africa by 2052.

In terms of foreign investment, Lagos State has had an increase in foreign investment under the current administration. In 2020, during the pandemic, Lagos was the top destination for capital investment in Nigeria with $4,976.40 billion, per the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS. Fast forward to Q2 of 2022, Lagos continues to top destination for foreign capital inflows with $1.05 billion.

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Sanwo-Olu speaks to potential investors at a Roundtable on the sideline of the 77th UNGA. Photo Credit: Lagos State

Sanwo-Olu has also not relented as he met with a group of would-be investors on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York organised by the Business Council for International Understanding.

Education and Technology

Under Sanwo-Olu’s administration, over 1,000 schools were built and there was also an improvement in classrooms, teachers were trained and retrained. modern learning devices were deployed in public schools. In the last three and half years, primary and secondary schools enjoyed continued free education. Also, tertiary institutions in the state paid the lowest tuition compared to their counterparts in other states.

The Sanwo-Olu administration also founded two additional universities. Lagos State Polytechnic was rebranded to become Lagos State University of Technology for science and technology while Adeniran Ogunsanya became Lagos State University of Education

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Governor Sanwo-Olu receives the certificate of the new universities from NUC

In the first 100 days of office, the Sanwo-Olu administration showed steady progress as the environment part of the T.H.E.ME.S Agenda was activated and Lagos metropolis was transformed from a dirt-filled state to a cleaner state.

Second Term Bid

As Lagos State’s governor heads into the March 18, 2023 elections, Babajide Sanwo-Olu vowed that if reelected he would continue his development revolution in the state.

In rendering an account of the stewardship of his administration, he stated that his administration has delivered on the THEMES developmental agenda. This is as promised to the electorate. He said the totality of his administration’s efforts are geared towards ensuring a safe and secure society, where youth employment is guaranteed.

During the event, in which his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, cabinet members, traditional rulers, political gladiators, industry captains, and media executives attended, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced that the Greater Lagos as envisioned by Lagosians is closer than ever.

At the “2021 State of the State Address”, held at Lagos House, Ikeja, he said; “We are exceedingly happy with the progress we have made in the last two years. Our accomplishments have placed us at a vantage position from where we can now catch a glimpse of the Greater Lagos we envisioned together.

“As a government, we have consistently matched our word with action and worked tirelessly to transform into reality our shared aspiration of making Lagos one of the most functional and habitable cities in the world. We can do it; we will do it. We have laid a very solid foundation for the transformation of our State through strategic interventions and meaningful executions beyond this period,” he said.

With all of the achievements mentioned above from the numerous done by the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat administration. It is safe to say that Sanwo-Olu deserves to return as the governor in the March 11, Saturday elections. He has done well, he should be allowed to take Lagos to the next level as he had started in 2019.

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