“Lagos must rise and help lead this nation to fuller progress and to a closer realization of the greatness that exists within all Nigerians”
Gov. Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, while explaining the six pillars of development, THEMES.
Leadership, in any human endeavour; be it social, economic or political sphere is anchored on the critical element of Trust. That is, between the leader who drives the vision and the people he leads. How he keeps to his promises in actions rather than wishful words would determine his level of success. To begin with, such a leader must be adequately prepared for the onerous tasks ahead. Strengthening this, especially in a democratic setting is the ability to enunciate such vision from the most pressing needs of the people, prioritizing them and carrying his team and the people along as the related policies programmes and projects evolve.
It is against this backdrop that one analysis the performance of the highly determined, focused and self–effacing Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state, within the matrix of his vision. These are encapsulated in the THEMES format which fall in tandem with Traffic Management, Health and Environment and making Lagos state a 21st Century hub for Economic development, Entertainment and Tourism. As the wise one say, the morning shows the day.
So, to hit the ground running, the governor’s first statutory duty was the signing of the Executive Order on the Indiscriminate Refuse Dumping, Traffic Management and Public Works. “Wow, our new governor certainly knows his onions. He is beginning to tackle the most sensitive issues that touch the lives of the good people of Lagos because he knows that health is wealth. A cleaner Lagos would just do that!” A reputable public affairs analyst expressed his delight. It was like a magic wand, because within a few weeks of the order, workers of the Lagos Waste Management Authority(LAWMA) were back at work. The heaps of redolent refuse dumps that had come to define the landscape of the acclaimed City of Excellence began to disappear.
To add the needed fillip, works on the expansion of the Olusosun Dump Site began in earnest, widening it to 42 acres. This timely move would no doubt ensure a quicker turnaround of waste management. What more, a new building right in front of the site has been erected to serve as the training venue for the staff on modern recycling methods for all manner of wastes. As for drainage, the governor has directed the Department of Drainage to move from LSPWC to the Ministry of Environment.
In a similar, speedy move to take the challenge of the recurring ugly decimal of traffic gridlock head long in the fast developing city, traffic management was restructured to two shifts ending at 11.00 pm on daily basis. And wait for this, the members of staff were instantly elevated by the motivation of the doubling of their monthly salaries! That is a first of its kind, not only in Lagos state but Nigeria as a whole. With the warning that acts of bribe taking would no longer be tolerated, those who violated this were summarily dismissed.
With the full realization that the civil servants are the catalysts or engine room to fast track government’s policies, the governor paid a memorable visit to the famed Alausa Secretariat. There, he advised workers to be change agents, assuring them that their concerns would be addressed. He equally enjoined them to reciprocate his good intention through hard work and innovations, to bring about the desired changes and development.
“I know that when we take care of you, you will take care of Lagosians…I have been here before but let us begin to think and innovate on how we are going to bake a bigger cake; let us begin to think out of the box and when we do that it becomes available for all. So far, not only has he begun to provide the enabling environment for them to excel, salaries and allowances are being paid as at when due.
Recently, he handed over 35 brand new buses to civil servants for transport to-and-from work. A visit to the secretariat shows that that the workers are in high spirit, ready to offer their best. The template for good governance has been boosted by the swearing in of a cabinet that analysts hail as made up of top technocrats, with a spectrum that is gender-sensitive without ethnic bias. This is commendable.
As for infrastructural development, good access roads, which account for more than 90 per cent of the movement of people, good and services is being taken seriously. Work is already on with roads rehabilitation by the Public Works Department including the 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway and the resumption of work on the Pen Cinema, Agege overhead bridge. There are ongoing efforts to key into the Masterplan for Lagos Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (LAMATA) for integrated transportation system, entailing road, rail and water.
In the Housing sector, the governor recently inaugurated the 492-flat project, at the Igando Housing Estate started by former Governor Babatunde Fashola. This comes under the Lagos Homes Ownership Mortgage Scheme. It is another welcome development.
As for the education sector, the governor has increased budgetary allocation from 12 % to 18% and keyed into the STEM technology to reengineer the workplace of the future. Through it, \ schools embrace the holistic approach to learning by combining physical, mental, social-emotional and cognitive development with traditional academics while bringing prestige to the teaching profession.
Research shows that STEM jobs are growing at 17 percent compared to other jobs growing at 9.8 percent. Also, STEM degree holders have a higher income even in non-STEM careers and presently, there is a skill shortage of about 2.4 million qualified persons required to fill STEM-related jobs worldwide. And talking about job creation, the governor has launched ‘LSETF W-INITIATIVE’ to provide funding for women entrepreneurs in the State to achieve their growth objectives and create jobs for the youths. It is a special intervention fund contributed between the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and Access bank Plc, to provide access to affordable finance for female-owned businesses in Lagos State.The scheme, which targets between 5,000 and 10,000 women. This also deserves commendation.
The morning shows the day. For the Sanwo-OLu-led Lagos state, it is so far, so good. He should keep the focus, the passion and the commitment for a Greater Lagos vision.