His ascension to power was an act of God. It was a fulfilment of destiny. While those who brought him to government around 2003 floundered, the young technocrat was loyal to the core.
He embraced the duties assigned to him with passion, demonstrated humility, intelligence and candour, and shunned idleness.
Soon, his talents unfolded, making him a vital asset to the administration. He was tested and trusted by his leader. On that note too, he became a man of the future.
To Lagosians, Sanwo-Olu is a round peg in a round hole. In the positions he held before becoming the governor, he had performed creditably.
As Special Adviser on Corporate Governance, Acting Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, and LSDPC boss, he tarring made his marks.
Barely a year in office, Sanwo-Olu had also earned a reputation for hardwork, diligence,focus and achieving results. The consensus of opinion is that Lagosians made a good choice in last year’s governorship election.
Party elders, particularly members of the Governsnce Advisory Council (GAC), who have showered encomions on him for living to expectation during his first year, are optimistic that, judging by his antecedents, he will finish well.
Ikorodu APC leaders, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye and Olorunfunmi Basorun, hailed Sanwo-Olu for extending dividends of democracy to the division by constructing 15 roads.
“We salute our governor on his birthday and pray that Almighty God shall strengthen him physically and spiritually to continue the relentless and highly qualitative service he is rendering to Lagosians,” they said in a statement.
Also, an APC leader from Epe, Chief Lanre Rasak, urged Lagosians to continue to support the administration. “We have a dynamic governor who has conducted need analysis and he is meeting public expectations. Our party can boast of a governor that is adding value. Sanwo-Olu is a promise keeper,” he said.
From day one, he had hit the ground running. He is conscious of the fact that the progressive beat must go on in the Centre of Excellence.
Having served under the architect of modern Lagos and former governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his successor, Babatund Fashola (SAN), it is evident that Sanwo-Olu had honed his administrative skills under great tutors.
In the last one year that he has been on the driver’s seat, he has not rested. Lagos is a mini-country shouldering enormous national, sub-regional and continental responsibilities.
On the shoulders of the governor rests the burden. His ability to cater effectively for over 20 million Lagosians makes him a problem solver.
However, as Sanwo-Olu increased the tempo of infrastructure battle across the three senatorial districts and five indigenous divisions, the strange pestilence, Covid-19 pandemic, sneaked into Lagos to distract his government.
He became the Incident Commander. But, conscious of the nature of the vast city state and people’s yearning, he has maintained a sensitive balance.
While tackling the public health challenge, concerted efforts are also made to full the campaign promises he made during the electioneering.
Before Covid-19, Lagos, under his leadership, had become a huge construction site, after the initial public complaints about the total collapse of infrastructure.
In Covid-19 period, the Incident Commander has blazed the trail in the anti-pestilence war through the total mobilisation of human and material resources deployed to combat the pandemic.
Isolation and treatment centre in LUTH, Infection Disease Hospital, Yaba, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan, and General Hospital, Gbagada, are doing wonders. Many patients have recovered from the illness.
Indeed, Covid-19 is a distraction. But, the impact of the ‘government of inclusion’ is felt across the sectors-education, health, transportation, civil service reforms, agriculture, housing and security.
It is gratifying that the young, dynamic and forward-looking governor has consistently demonstrated wit, competence and determination to succeed.
As Sanwo-Olu clocks 55 today, his family, associates, friends and even his leaders have cause to thank God that Lagos is making progress under his leadership. He is building on the legacies of his illustrious leader, Tinubu.
But, there may be no time for merry making for the Incident Commander. Lagos does not have room for a lazy governor.
The governor is likely to have a much busier day initiating, planning and executing, reassessing strategies for combating Coronavirus, monitoring many projects and telescoping into a future of greater opportunities for Lagos.
According to tradition, Sanwo-Olu has a solid team; a cabinet of talents, which is a blend of technocrats and sound politicians. The composition reflects in the performance of the administration in critical sectors.
Following his inauguration, the governor swung into action by signing an executive order on indiscriminate refuse dumping, traffic management and public works, based on the acknowledgment that the state has groaned under the yoke of filth, chaotic traffic situation and infrastructural deficit. The order on indiscriminate refuse duping is now being vigorously enforced.
Also, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has been directed to operate a minimum of two shifts until 11.pm daily.
In the same vein, the Office of Drainage Services in the Ministry of Environment has been directed to embarke on aggressive cleaning of secondary and tertiary drainage system to ensure the free flow of rainwater during the raining season. The governor also directed that the rehabilitation of bad roads should commence.
Also, LASTMA is not to spare the road offenders. Nobody is above the law. “If my brothers or cabinet members breaks traffic laws, arrest them,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The officials are also warned against bribery. To motivate them, the governor has increased their allowances by a hundred per cent. In the opinion of the governor, the public should continue to be enlightened and encouraged to be law abiding.
Many think that Lagos is rich because of its over N30 billion Internally General Revenue (IGR). But, it may not be enough to fight the infrastructure battle. The hand of the Federal Government is heavy on the state.
While over 75 percent of the Value Added Tax (VAT) is generated from Lagos, no percentage is conceded to the state. Neither has the Federal Government thought it fit to return its ‘seized’ landed property.
While Niger Delta states enjoy financial assistance from the Federal Government, pleas for special economic assistance for Lagos have fallen on deaf ears. These are constraints.
During his first year anniversary, the governor embarked on virtual and on-site commissioning of housing, education, transportation and road projects in fulfilment of his promises to renew infrastructure in critical sectors of the economy.
He commissioned the 360 units Lagos Homes Igbogbo Baiyeku IIB Estate. In Lekki, the Courtland Villas in Femi Okunnu Estate will also be launched.
Sanwo-Olu conducted virtual commissioning of completed classroom blocks in Maya Secondary School, Ikorodu; Eva Adelaja Junior School, Bariga; and Saviour Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye; the Concrete Jetty in Baiyeku, Ikorodu; the Aradagun – Ajido – Epeme Road in Badagry; and the Maryland Signalisation Project.
According to environmental experts, Sanwo-Olu embarked on wealth creation through waste sorting to fully achieve improved service delivery in waste collection, thereby ridding the metropolis of filth.
Indeed, the governor has revived moribund and abandoned projects, in line with his promise not to discontinue projects inherited from the previous administrations.
The integrated mass transportation blueprint of the Lagos Government recorded a huge progress under the Sanwo-Olu administration, with the resumption of construction work on the abandoned Blue Line Rail project.
In February, Sanwo-Olu formally kicked off commercial waterways transportation, with the official launch of eight newly acquired speedboats operated by Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY).
Not only did Lagos agree to pay the N30,000 benchmark, the Sanwo-Olu administration promised workers they would earn above the N30,000 minimum wage scale.
Sanwo-Olu’s administration also approved the monthly release of a pension bailout fund to the tune of N1.083 billion.
On September 4, last year, the governor led members of the State Executive Council to Igando, in Alimosho area, to open the 492-flat housing project completed by his administration. It was named after the first civilian Governor of Lagos, Alhaji Lateef Jakande.
Sanwo-Olu has defended the education sector with improved funding. For the first time in 36 years, Lagos State University (LASU) is set to become a residential tertiary institution.
The Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCED), Ijanikin, is being upgraded to a fully-fledged university by the Sanwo-Olu administration to address the deficit in university education among youths in the state.
Despite these feats, Sanwo-Olu said nobody should prefix his name with ‘His Excellency.’
Much is expected on Sanwo-Olu in the next four years. Many believe that he is prepared for the job. While he is also expected to build on the achievements of his predecessors, he should also learn from their shortcomings. His programme of action gives a ray of hope.
During his inauguration, he promised to work for a “greater Lagos” through the implementation of “six pillars of development agenda.”
The pillars, which he described as the framework that encapsulates his vision, include traffic management and transportation, health and environment, education and technology, making Lagos as a 21st century economy, entertainment and tourism, and security and governance.
Sanwo-Olu said: “These six pillars of development represent our response to the yearnings of the people. They constitute the foundations that must be restored for future generations. Should we fulfil our promise and deliver on these pillars, we are most confident that we would have succeeded in setting Lagos on a new trajectory of economic growth and development that would be unprecedented in our entire history.”
Sanwo-Olu has promised to complete the on-going projects initiated by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. Thus, there will be no abandoned projects in Lagos.
The governor was born in June 25, 1965 in Lagos. He is a graduate of thecosmopolitan University of Lagos, Akoka, where he studied Surveying. He also attended the London Business School, the Lagos Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Sanwo-Olu earned an MBA degree from UNILAG. He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD).
Sanwo-Olu is not a politician without a second address. He was the Treasurer at former Lead Merchant Bank from 1994 to 1997. He also worked with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) as the Head of Foreign Money Market.
At the First Inland Bank, Plc (now First City Monument Bank), he was a Deputy General Manager and Divisional Head.
In private business, he was also a success. Sanwo-Olu was the Chairman of Baywatch Group Limited and First Class Group Limited. He was a board member of the Department for International Development (DFID/DEEPEN) Fund and Audit Committee of Caverton Offshore Services Group, PLC.
Since 2003, he had placed his hand on the plough and never looked back. Although he joined the Tinubu administration as a technocrat, when was appointed a Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to Pedro, he later learned the ropes. He served as Acting Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, and later, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in 2007.
In 2007, he was appointed as Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions by former Governor Babatunde Fashola SAN). In 2016, Ambode appointed him as Managing Director/CEO of LSDPC. His achievements include the supervision of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Privatization Projects.
He also played a great role in the setting up of the Lagos Security Trust Fund. He served as its pioneer board chairman. The LAGBUS System and the Control and Command Centre in Alausa were also part of his initiatives.
On September 16, last year, he threw his hat into the ring when he declared his intention to run for governor. He was endorsed by the Lagos APC Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), the three senators from Lagos, House of Representatives and House of Assembly members from Lagos State. Later, another aspirant, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, who is now deputy governor, withdrew from the race. After winning the primary on October 2, no fewer than 63 political parties, organisations and groups endorsed his candidature.
Sanwo-Olu is a recipients of many awards and honours. They include the Platinum Award from the Lagos State Public Service Club, 2009 Best in Human Capital Development award from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Merit award from the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Merit award from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Nigeria (CIPMN), Merit Award from the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), and LSDPC Impactful Leadership and Recognition Award.
Sanwo-Olu is married with children to Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.
The State Executive Council had already approved the move; the House of Assembly is working to review of the Act setting up the school to legalise the new status of the college.
Responding to the declining quality of basic education in public schools, Sanwo-Olu rolled out Excellence in Child Education and Learning (EKO EXCEL) – an education blueprint that will deploy technology to fundamentally transform the basic education template.
The launch EKO EXCEL last December followed a two-week intensive training of over 5,000 teachers from various public schools and education districts across the state who will be the main drivers of the tech-driven initiative to reposition service delivery in public primary schools with special focus on learning outcomes for pupils.
With the initiative, the Sanwo-Olu administration is creating highly skilled personnel in teaching.
The abandoned 70 million-gallon Adiyan II Waterworks project started in 2013 during the Fashola administration has been revamped by the Sanwo-Olu administration to provide safe drinking water to more than five million Lagos residents.
Upon assumption of office, Sanwo-Olu re-visited the contract for the project and re-mobilised contractor back on the site. When the project is completed in the next 15 months, it will be the biggest of its type anywhere around the country and will be raising the capacity of Lagos to supply potable water by 330,000 cubic metric tons per day to residents living in Ikeja, Alimosho, Surulere and Yaba.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration would be awarding contract for the commencement of the second and third phases of the water project, which are reticulation works and construction of 8-kilometre long water intake conduits from Akute to Adiyan.
The governor is accelerating work on the unfinished Rice Mill and Industrial Park being built in Imota in Ikorodu Division of the State.
The Rice Mill may be the biggest in the country. It will produce 32 metric tons of rice per hour and 2.8 million bags of 50kg bags of rice yearly.
During an inspection of the Rice Mill in July last year, Sanwo-Olu said: “The tour of the project site is another pointer to our pledge of continuity in governance. We are taking the pain to come down to Imota to assess the magnitude of the Rice Mill and Industrial Park project initiated by my predecessors.
This is a 32-metric tons per hour rice mill, which is the biggest in the country. In terms of national importance, the rice mill is expected to meet 15 to 20 per cent of national demand for rice.”
Despite these feats, Sanwo-Olu said nobody should prefix his name with His Excellency.
The governor will embark on virtual and on-site commissioning of housing, education, transportation and road projects in fulfilment of his promises to renew infrastructure in critical sectors of the economy.
He said the governor will visit Ikorodu to commission the 360 units Lagos Homes Igbogbo Baiyeku IIB Estate. In Lekki, the Courtland Villas in Femi Okunnu Estate will also be launched.
Sanwo-Olu will conduct virtual commissioning of completed classroom blocks in Maya Secondary School, Ikorodu; Eva Adelaja Junior School, Bariga; and Saviour Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye; the Concrete Jetty in Baiyeku, Ikorodu; the Aradagun – Ajido – Epeme Road in Badagry; and the Maryland Signalisation Project.
Sanwo-Olu inherited the burden of governance from his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode. Heaps of filth dotted the length and breadth of the metropolis, prior to May 29 when he was inaugurated as the fifth elected g overnor.
It was because the immediate past administration made the time-tested waste management corporation to flounder, paving the way for a strange municipal waste clearing operations driven by Vision Scope.
The beautiful state became a sight of horror. The previous administration was clearly overwhelmed by tons of domestic and industrial waste daily generated from the state.
Lagosians were full of nostalgia, following the disengagement of the PSP operators and the indiscriminate dumping of waste. Every available space became a dumpsite. Lagos suffered from avoidable pollution.
The onus was on Sanwo-Olu to clear the mess and restore sanity into a state of environmental pandemonium. The waste collection and management operations were back to the delight of Lagosians.
In a speed of lightening, the embarrassing mountains of filth in the metropolis disappeared. Residents heaved a sigh of relief.
Sanwo-Olu led a high-powered team to Olusosun Dumpsite, the largest in Lagos, for an on-the-spot assessment of challenges impeding the capacity of the state to efficiently recycle waste.
Consequently, the governor launched of Blue Box Initiative, setting in motion the process of turning 10,000 metric tons of waste daily generated to wealth.
Launching the Blue Box Initiative, Sanwo-Olu said: “It is now crystal clear that we cannot depend on old disposal method to manage the quantum of waste generated in Lagos.
The experience of the past dictated the need to explore efficient technique in line with our ‘Smart City’ aspiration. Rather than being a burden on us, we want to create wealth through the new techniques and generate jobs for our youths.
“In Lagos, 50 per cent of waste generated contains reusable resources which we can be harnessed