The handover date on the 29th of May was a very happy day for me. Don’t wonder why I am happy as I know President Buhari is still on the ‘throne’ come on, we are in Lagos; Power changed hands! His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has resumed office – that’s why I am happy. This tenure would be amazing for Lagosians. Let me tell you how I know:
Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was a protégée of former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola; this means that he has some ‘Fashola DNA’.
Maybe you think Lagos was not all that during Fashola’s tenure but I am looking beyond the way things turned out; I am looking at a very passionate, selfless and dutiful leader!
Mr. Sanwo-Olu has begun road inspections, signing executive orders about Lagos traffic and environmental cleanliness. He is already having meetings with the Nigerian Judiciary – all in less than a week. Oh puh-leease, let me blow his trumpet. Nobody paid me for this, but the man deserves it, trust me.
Even if I acknowledge the efforts of the recent past Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, I know that I cannot forget the days of Mr. Fashola who looked ten years older just after his 100 days in office. He was one hero of a governor.
Fashola knew the figures accurately and knew Lagos like the back of his palm. Interviewers were happy to have him and residents who were misinformed were duly and accurately informed when they called him to ask questions or clarify rumours. Someone once called him on a television programme where the discussion was about the demolition of houses in a particular location and said ‘Sir, why did you demolish this number of houses?’ he answered immediately giving precise numbers!
He goes to meetings talking about state projects from his deeply rooted understanding of it! Fashola, was not one to be uncertain about facts or look through his paper every second as though he were detached from its content. No way. He touched every sector in Lagos – every sector.
Talk about his incognito visits to on-going road projects or hospitals or his involvement with the people. He always talked with us. He knew the power of communication. He was our Obama! And his Michelle, Dame Abimola Fashola, always humble, unassuming and modestly beautiful! We would talk about her very soon.
One of the upcoming policies I already am jumping and dancing for is that the new Governor, wants the Lagos State Transport Management Authority, LASTMA to look into all members of staff working on a scheduled shift basis; that way, the traffic management officials are able to man traffic during peak times even up to 11:00pm!
No more LASTMA on the road when it’s not necessary. Now they also wake up as early and sleep as late. I am not a bad bele. I am just saying.
Issues about governance should not just be termed ‘hard’, they should also be ‘soft’ and have a place in lifestyle categories generally; it is every one’s business; because whether we like it or not, policies made in the state are going to affect everything; work habits of the civil service and either we are delayed anytime we go to any of these offices to be served, or the roads, if cars would have to be a regular visitor at the mechanics’ shops.
Policies that provide for qualitative education, security guidelines that must be adhered to, so that we all can walk freely anywhere we find ourselves; tourism, so that all residents of Lagos can identify with the prestige that comes with living where there are historic and beautiful monuments and of course, taxes!
How could I forget taxes? (I wish there would be tax exception policies for entrepreneurs who are trying to scale their businesses) this would be very encouraging so that Electricity bills, Fuel costs and other overhead costs can be attended to squarely.
With all my enthusiasm about this leadership, I sincerely hope that the odds are in the favour of a greater number of people.
I am quite impressed with the momentum by which Mr. Sanwo-Olu began his tenure. Let us hope that he keeps the pace and that he has selfless men and women on board with him too. That way, a lot can be achieved together.
By Oludara Ogunbowale