Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

By GODWIN DUNIA

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, few day after taking over the mantle of leadership of Lagos State, was confronted with the reality of governing the commercial hub of the nation and confessed, it was not an easy task and claimed to have lost considerable weight before actually assuming office.
“Lagos is not a tea party, as the experience and challenges are real. You don’t sleep and wake up and the traffic has gone down. You don’t sleep and wake up and there is no rain or that you have resolved Apapa gridlock; it’s real…
“So the best thing to do is to ensure that you are not about looking for what the other person did but it’s for Lagosians to see you do what you said you are going to do for them. .You don’t do it from the office, you have to do it from the road, you have to do it so that people will see and truly know that you mean business.”
The newly sworn in governor was right with his conclusion because Lagosians of all divides are waiting for the dividend of voting for him and would not take any excuse for an answer, because it is more than what the governor have seen. Lagosians are anxious. They don’t bother if Gov. Sanwo Olu loses weight everyday, the bottom line is that he must deliver on his campaign promises.
Speaking on to Business Hallmark, on some of the challenges facing the state, the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Taofik Gani said, “the first thing the new governor must do is to ensure that he expedites actions and ensure that all uncompleted road projects in the state are completed within the shortest possible time, even earlier than the initiator of the projects.
“The governor must also manifest to the people of Lagos State that his government would be above a government of vendetta, he must be free and transparent in his actions as governor. We in PDP are not holding forte or supporting, his predecessor, but we perceived as wrong steps on his part, that some of the buses bought by Akinwumi Ambode to ease transport problem in the state were hurriedly given to civil servants within the first few days he took over as governor of the state.
“We are not saying the Lagos State civil servants are not entitled to proper and comfortable means of transportation, but the point is that, they had some buses allocated to them before now for purpose of transporting them to and from work, so why give them the new ones bought for the entire Lagosians? How many are the population of the State civil servants compare to the population of people in the State?
“These are some of the impression the new governor must addressed, because such actions were just to spite his predecessor. That was why I said earlier that the new governor must rise above a government of vendetta. Though, it could be as a result of the internal problem of the All Progressives Party (APC), but what we are saying is that it is wrong step.
“The buses were supposed to be on Lagos roads to ease problems of transportation confronted by Lagosians everyday and you gave them to civil servants. I think there is no justification for this action. The APC itself claimed they bought 500 buses to ease transportation in the state not for civil servants. You can imagine the succour such number of buses would bring to commuters in the state, if the buses were distributed on roads like Agege, Ikorodu and other major highways in the state”.
The PDP Publicity Secretary also took a swipe at the operation of LASTMA officials and urged the new governor to intervene and carry out reorientation of the LASTMA officials such that they would be more effective in managing the traffic challenges in the state and not continue to see their job as opportunity to make brisk money.
“To have an effective traffic managers and good transportation, the governor must ensure that the LASTMA officials are well trained and orientated. Presently, 95 percent of the officials
were recruited as compensation on the basis of their roles during the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Action Congress (AC) days in the State as a money making opportunity.
“By now, we ought to have had a more responsible LASTMA, but that was not possible because of the background of most of the officials and that was why traffic situation in the state gets worse daily because it is a source of illegal money. Officials know those to arrest and intimidate to get money at the least offence on the road that they can be corrected..
“That was why there are allegations in the state that some of the commercial mini-buses, Keke-Napep in the state are owned by LASTMA officials and that was why they are reckless and hardly obey traffic laws. The average LASTMA officials are not professional traffic managers. There must also be changes in the indiscriminate manners with which they often arrest motorists. So, Gov. Sanwo-Olu must do something about this to ease traffic and stress”.
Gani also urged the governor to make a public pronouncement or declare state of emergency in the transport section in the state, because there is corruption in that sector of the state and except the governor is committed, things may not work out and Lagosians would continue to suffer. He also wants the governor to create intermodal transportation in the state.
“As far back 1979, Pa Lateef Jakande, who was the governor of the state started the Metroline, but was jettisoned by the current president when he was military ruler in 1983. Now that his predecessor had started the project and even commissioned two jetties, there is need for Gov. Sanwo-Olu to continue with it and provide security because there are cases of car theft to guarantee safety of cars for those using the facilities”.
He also urged the new governor to make deliberate effort to decentralize the State government offices and even build low cost houses for civil servants and other residents in other places like Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry etc within Lagos, such that there would be less concentration in places like Island and Mainland. This idea would also reduced pressure on infrastructures.
“The State PDP was critical about the idea of the Eko Atlantic, when it started, not just because it was too financially bogus, but Victoria Island was already congested. Everyday you go to that part of the state it is difficult to access and when you are coming out it is difficult because of traffic. The cost of building a property on a hectare of land in Island can give you massive structures in places like Ikorodu or Epe, where people can live”.
But expressing apprehension about the capacity of Sanwo-Olu to perform or meet up with the expectation of Lagosians, the State Chairman of Labour Party, Pastor Biodun Popoola, said: “I don’t think Gov. Sanwo-Olu would do anything better in the first place. He would only do his master’s biddings”.
However, speaking on the essence of security of the state, he told Business Hallmark that, “Lagos has had for a long while now the advantage of very huge Security Trust Fund which
has not been audited for years”.
He therefore urged the new governor to create stakeholders forum that should be talking about this so that there would be transparency and that too would encouraged more people to be committed to the fund.
The Labour Party Chieftain said, “To me, I would have suggested a neighbourhood security outfit, but unfortunately, the one existing in the state now is a bunch of thugs. Young men they used during elections for nefarious activities. There must be a deliberate efforts to train them mentally and in every ways that would make them fit to secure lives and properties of Lagosians.
“Also, to secure the state, every associations existing in the state must be registered in Alausa, such that there will be leadership at all level in every local government of the state and they should be invited for stakeholders meeting. It does not matter whether they are Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba, they should be invited at every particular time to give information about what happens in each area of the state they belong. Then the government can draw an agenda based on the
information.
“If the new Gov. Sanwo-Olu, want security to be entrenched in the state, he must not encourage any form of gangsterism which has become part of the APC. I don’t know how he can be able to do this, that was why there is need for him to carry the people along and create forum for settling disagreement.
“There are influx of Hausas into the state now, and there is nobody questioning the reasons behind that. They go about with transistor radio and they can unleash mayhem at any point in time. These are security challenges in the state that the new governor must rise up to and addressed before they get out of hands. But he has to accommodate opposite views, build stakeholders confidence, participation and inclusiveness and also work with the police. Not by given them Toyota cars only, but help to train the police on the right mentality to use and apply the mechanism”.
Popoola further urged the new governor to create functional street lights so that criminals would not use the opportunity to attack people at night or have places to hide in the night and there is need for general infrastructure upgrading in the state. Most especially, the roads are no more motorable. For instance, the Badagry roads axis and it is dangerous and insecure for motorists plying that roads
On the Education sector in the state, a public school teacher in the state, Lawrence Adu, is of the view that Lagos State is trying in the area of rehabilitation of schools since the era of Gov. Fashola and there is need for the new governor to keep the tempo.
“If you visit most public schools now, it is a new thing compared to what obtained before the era of Fashola. Ambode tried his best on that line too and there is the need for continuity. If that is done, I think Lagos would be a pacesetter in the education sector in Nigeria.
“Also, go to LASPOTECH and LASU, you will see structures that the state government has embarked on. My advise to Sanwo-Olu is that, he should do what is right and not play politics or rubbish good and purposeful projects”.
A market women leader, Madam Amope, who said she was born in Lagos and has not less than four different shops in Ojuwoye market and other major markets in the state, called on Gov. Sanwo-Olu and his administration to stop the incessant harassment of market women in the state by agents of Local Government on the pretext of levies. Others would come and harass them that they are constituting nuisance and blocking the roads.
Amope also want government to directly sell the newly constructed shops to market women rather than through agents. She wants the governor to stop harassment of women in most markets in the state by local government officials.
“There should be justice, some of these local government officials are fraudulent. They are after collection of money and one set after another set will come and harass us that we are blocking motor ways, but they won’t tell you that when they want to collect the money.
“I am not in support of blocking the roads but my concern is that, it is injustice against the poor market women. How much are they making in a day? So, the governor should intervene and help out”.
Also, Enyi Okey, a spare parts dealer in Ladipo Auto Market told Business Hallmark, “We want the governor to ensure that his administration did not intimidate Igbo Traders as it happened in Oshodi after the elections that brought him to power.
“An average Igbo man is here in Lagos to do business. And we would remain law abiding and the new governor must guide our interest in the state.
“We also want the governor to do something urgently in Apapa. As I speak with you now, I have two trailers full with goods but cannot bring them out because the roads are very bad. Every Ibo man pays his dues in Lagos, so we want the governor to consider us as legitimate Lagosians”.

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