He was not the governor they wanted, they said; they would give anything to have Ambode back, they said. But the people of Lagos have come to fall in love with the soft-spoken Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who promised to “love the people the way they want to be loved and not the way you want to love them”, on the day he was sworn in.

Upon his inauguration as the 15th Executive Governor of Lagos State, Sanwo-Olu unfolded an acronym for his administration’s strategic development agenda namely; Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism and Security and Governance (T.H.E.M.E.S) as a vehicle to achieve his administration’s ‘Greater Lagos’ vision.

Infrastructure

So far, over a hundred roads across the state have been rehabilitated by the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC), with ongoing rehabilitation and rapid response from the corporation to fix even more roads within the state.

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What has also been impressive about this effort particularly is the level of communication and transparency they have maintained with the process. Notices go out regularly across different media platforms and formats to inform the public about areas being worked on in advance, to manage traffic and delays.

Then followed reconstruction and upgrading of strategic roads in Ikorodu such as the 6.05 kilometres Phase One road from Itamaga to Ewu Elepe town; 7.8 kilometres Owutu-Agric-Ishawo road Phase One; Bola Tinubu-Igbogbo-Imota road and Victoria Island, Lekki Traffic Circulation project on Oniru axis.

Sanwo-Olu launched the Uber Boat water transportation service. The business, a partnership between the global ride-hailing company and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) is exploring the state’s abundant waterways and reducing the pressure on roads.

Besides, it attests to the confidence global investors repose in Lagos as an investment destination of choice.

To ease movement, the government advertised bids for the 38-kilometre Fourth Mainland Bridge which 39 constructions companies, including Julius Berger, expressed interest in. The arrangement will include the construction and operation of a tolled road plus a bridge between Ajah, Eti-Osa and Mainland Lagos to serve as an alternative route to the eastern part of Lagos State.

Health & Environment

Upon his inauguration, Sanwo-Olu promised that the Lagos Health Insurance Scheme will be expanded to accommodate 500,000 households by the fourth quarter of 2019 and the health budget would be increased from 8.6 per cent to 15 per cent.

By 2021, all the 345 primary health centres in the state will have a minimum of three doctors, three nurses and five community health workers, while ambulance points in the state will be increased by 50 per cent.

The health sector, perhaps, represents one of the biggest successes of the governor as the health budget was increased by 58 per cent to N33bn from N21bn that was allocated in 2019.

Budgetary allocation for education was promised to be upped from the current 12.07 per cent to 18 per cent. “We will immediately embark on the renovation of public schools and make them conducive for learning. Teachers will be trained for capacity enhancement in modern teaching methodology,” Sanwo-Olu’s manifesto read.

The Lagos State Budget shows the administration plans to spend N48 billion on education and technology. This represents a 60 per cent rise in capital allocation to the Ministry of Education. Already, renovation projects have been commissioned and training for teachers have been ongoing in the state.

The people of Lagos have always asked for good roads, good health care, good education amongst other things, which the governor, in looking at his scorecard for the last one year, is obviously on track to fulfilling.

Under Pillar ‘H’, which stands for Health and Sanitation, the 149-bed Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC) in Alimosho General Hospital was commissioned. The specialist centre, facilitated through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, is evidence of the working partnership between the Federal and the state governments. The facility is equipped with ultra-modern equipment that aid prompt delivery of maternal and child care services. Presently, the administration is working hard towards the completion of more MCCs.

In fact, the Badagry and Epe MCCs have been completed and should be up-and-running early in 2021. The latest of the several people-friendly medical interventions in the state is the free surgical intervention programme for residents, which was organised in partnership with the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. It comprised free surgeries for residents suffering from lymphoma, hernia, fibroid and breast lumps, as well as free dental and general health screening.

Also, the government has resuscitated the second phase of the Adiyan Waterworks, with contractors mobilised to site. The water treatment plant, with a production capacity of 70 million gallons per day, was begun in 2013.

After resuscitation, it will provide drinking water for more than five million Lagos residents and will help to address sanitation challenges and fight water-borne diseases.

Within the period under review, LAWMA acquired 10 boats to boost its marine waste operations. Following the launch of the Lagos Blue Box initiative on September 5, 2019, five Community Recycling centres were activated in five Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs). Since the inception of the initiative about 340,050 bags were distributed to various households to encourage sorting of waste.

Education, Tech

On the third Pillar ‘E’, which stands for Education and Technology, a new primary classroom block with computer laboratories and outdoor recreational facilities, was commissioned at Ajegunle. Rehabilitation of public schools has begun, with the inauguration of a Special Committee; and no fewer than 5000 primary school teachers will be trained to complete the three-pronged education strategy of fixing the infrastructure, fixing the curriculum and fixing the manpower through recruitment, training and development of teachers.

Giving credence to its policy to promote a smart city with technology, the administration organised the Art of Technology Lagos where the governor announced a N250m grant for tech start-ups to encourage young people with fantastic ideas.

The administration gave a N350million bail-out for personnel cost and increased the subvention of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education from N200million to N250mllion.

Economy

In continuation of the use of skill acquisition as a tool of empowerment, over 4, 885 youths graduated from 17 skill acquisition centres spread across the five divisions of the state.

In line with the national campaign for a return to agriculture, the administration boosted the fortune of farmers through the Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme. Hundreds of farmers were empowered with inputs to kick-start or improve their businesses.

The 32 metric tonnes per hour capacity Imota Rice Mill is also one of the many strategies for expanding revenue accruable to the State and also attain sufficiency in rice production. The rice mill which is situated on a land mass of 8.5 hectares of land will produce 650 bags of 50kg rice per hour and have two lines to produce 16 metric tonnes each, upon its readiness in the first quarter of 2021.

In a bid to strengthen the capacity of farmers, the state government is fine-tuning plans to make available extension services through the Lagos Agri-preneurship Programme (LAP), the Sea Food Festival and the Eko City Farmers Food Market.

The disbursement of N1.181 billion to the Retirement Savings Account of 279 retirees of the Civil Service confirmed the priority accorded the well-being of the state’s senior citizens.
Sanwo-Olu may not yet be the darling of the Lagos (no thanks to his handling of the anti-SARS protest) but he is gradually working his way into the hearts of the people of Lagos.