When Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in company of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, his Deputy, walked the length and breadth of Lagos State, canvassing for votes and making promises, little did electorate know that fulfilling those promises will be this early.
But in quick succession, Governor Sanwo-Olu is hitting the mark and uprooting the seed of doubt forced on many minds by the brief moment of torpor that followed his assumption of office.
Like ecstatic spectators at a relay race, those who tended to have forgotten the pace of the finishing athlete, but focused on the baton-receiving runner to lead the race because of their trust in his vim, are now convinced of the glory in Governor Sanwo-Olu’s strides.
Reassuringly, Mr. Sanwo-Olu has stepped-up his pace and caught-up with the perennial false starters like bad roads, traffic gridlocks, social insecurity, environmental challenges and waste management. With a wave of hand, roads across the state are becoming increasingly motorable and traffic gridlocks departing our roads considerably.
The fun of the year-end festivity was not marred by any stupid traffic logjam and security challenge. While the contractors mobilised to major roads worked day and night, Governor Sanwo-Olu stood firm to ensure potholes were mended for smooth ride for everyone.
Now, with government’s manifestation in infrastructural development and rehabilitation of Itamaga-Ijede, Bola-Tinubu, Igbogbo-Imota and Owutu-Agric-Isawo roads, Governor Sanwo-Olu has returned to his pervasive visibility that connected him to the electorate during the electioneering campaign.
Similar to the popular experience of Sanwo-Olu appearing at every nook and cranny of the State, canvassing for votes; projects execution like completion of abandoned roads, Maternal and Child Care Centre(MCC), urban renewal developments, commissioning of low-cost housing estates and litany of completed roads across the State, especially the thirty-one forsaken ones in the Ojokoro area of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Council Development, are new symbolism for the Governor’s state-wide presence.
From Governor Sanwo-Olu’s execution template, it is not unlikely to imply that his government only determined to address the infrastructural deficits holding down the State from absolute greatness. Arriving at such a conclusion would qualify as a reasoned observation given the frequency of the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat at project sites across the State.
Soon, the Maternal and Child Care Centres (MCC) in Epe and Badagry will be opened, in addition to the earlier two commissioned in Igando and Sangotedo, to raise the tally to four, completed and delivered by the Sanwo-Olu’s administration.
Likewise, work has begun on the Lot B of Lagos-Badagry Expressway, stretching from Trade Fair to Lagos State University (LASU) gate following the completion and commissioning of the Lot A, the 4-kilometer stretch from Agboju to Trade Fair, kicked-off by the Sanwo-Olu administration after years of abandonment.
The Lot C, which is the concluding phase of Lagos-Badagry Expressway construction, about 2 kilometers from LASU gate to Okokomaiko has been slated for construction immediately the Lot B is completed. The Governor also enlisted the outstanding work on the completed Lot A – pedestrian walkways and streetlights as priority undertakings.
Responsiveness seems to be the central attribute of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration. This is validated by his methodical handling of the State security matters. Aside from excellent coordination with the heads of the various security agencies, he boosted the capacity of the institutions with gadgets, vehicles, motorbikes and apparatuses that made Lagos State Security Trust Fund the envy of every State in Nigeria.
Lagos does not sleep, but its residents are free and safe moving around round-the-clock. The entrepreneurial energy of the State, which is its allure to local and foreign investors, continues to surge under Sanwo-Olu.
Last year, the State disbursed N10bn under the W-Initiative for women empowerment and strengthened the Lagos State Employment Trust Scheme (LSETF) to tackle youth unemployment. These happened just when the Governor had given commitment to getting the 32-metric tons per hour capacity Imota Integrated Rice Mill running on time to provide employment for 250,000 people.
This far, even though the tempo of events has shown that Governor Sanwo-Olu will continuously surpass his own record with every stride, has proven that Lagos State has entered an era of greatness.
However, his detour into the education sector with a loud bang qualifies as the most remarkable of his deft moves at addressing social challenges. With a vision to drive learning excellence in more 500,000 pupils across 1016 primary schools using technology, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s dexterity at long-range planning has come to serve Lagosians.
For development experts, the predictable outcomes of this revolutionary initiative christened EKO EXCEL (Excellence in Child Education and Learning), which has several links to the SDGs, are invigorating and reassuring. If EKO EXCEL is a fertile seed that will bring forth good fruit, building capacity in over 2,400 teachers from all the fifty-seven local councils is a deserved meal for an important audience.
This is a powerful step towards actualizing your vision that “… that Lagos State Schools should be number one nationally and that our public schools must compete favourably with private schools”. This signals that the journey to this distinct positioning of our educational system has begun, and primary schools’ teachers are integral to the reforms designed to advance the quality of education at the foundation level.
Lagos is ready to take-on the world with the digitization of basic schools’ curriculum and deployment of modern techniques in teaching to maximise learning in all state-owned primary schools. Before this much attention on education, Lagos enjoys an impressive reputation as the land of digital nomads, who make defining contributions to several ‘Silicon Valley’ innovations that mesmerize the world.
I need not say that this impressive reputation has endeared our State to global technology and innovation leaders – an awe that has attracted Mark Zuckerberg to our jollof rice table, brought Bill Gates to our parties and made Jack Dorsey dance to our music.
The substantial resourcefulness dwelling in technology innovation centers across Lagos supports the expectation that Africa will be home to future technology and innovation leaders. However, life demands that we guide our expectations through determination and hardwork otherwise they will remain in the realms of dreams.
Determined to own the expectation about Africa’s digital future for Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu is championing EKO EXCEL. So, coding will be taught to primary schools’ pupils, who will also enjoy daily free meals, for development of necessary skills for survival in tomorrow’s world. These arrangements in Sanwo-Olu’s Lagos are secured by generous commitment to teachers’ welfare, signposted by vehicle-ownership scheme for head teachers.
*Olusegun Fafore is Executive Assistant to Lagos State Governor on New Media and Public Relations.