By Tayo Ogunbiyi
For the new kid on the block in Lagos State, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, it was, indeed, a dream first day in office. While some of his colleagues in other states are still grappling with the reality of the enormity of responsibilities required of the office they occupy, Governor Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat have already hit the ground running at the nation’s ‘Center of Excellence’.
As early as 8:0am on Thursday, May 30, the duo were already at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, and their first port of call was the sprawling building that occupies the Lands Bureau, Ministry of Physical Planning and Ministry of the Environment. The mission was to have an on the spot assessment of these all important government agencies as well as interact with the Civil Servants.
In a rare fashion, Governor Sanwo-Olu interacted freely with Civil Servants, majority of whom were quite amazed to see him in such a down to earth posture. Trust Civil Servants, they swiftly seized the momentum to feel the governor’s pulse on contentious subjects such as the minimum wage.
The governor equally used the occasion to emphasize that his government would sort out the minimum wage issue as soon as possible and, indeed, go ahead to assure them of numerous other welfare packages.
The governor’s next destination was the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium where he met with hundreds of Civil Servants who had eagerly been waiting for him and his deputy. The euphoria that followed their arrival at the auditorium was so much that the governor couldn’t really make a speech. Each time he tried to talk, chorus of ‘Sanwo Eko, Sanwo Eko’ rent the air.
Caught in the midst of such wild ecstasy, the governor and his deputy eventually left the auditorium. Governor Sanwo-Olu, along his deputy, decided to take a walk to their next destination -Staff Bus Terminus. Quite amazingly, scores of Civil Servants accompanied them, still amidst thunderous chorus of ‘Sanwo Eko’. At the terminus, the governor moved round to assess condition of staff busses on ground, after which he addressed the staff.
The governor admitted that the State Civil Service is conduits through which the policies and programmes are achieved and as such the interest of the workforce must be prioritize to actualise the dream of the State.
He, therefore, implored Civil Servants to connect with the noble cause of bequeathing good governance to the people of the State, adding that everyone must contribute positively to the new drive to reform the society and take it to a higher pedestal. He acknowledged that there were challenges, but urged the workers not to be deterred and imbibe the right attitude to work.
While advising workers to be change agents, he assured them that their concerns would be addressed, but that the workforce must reciprocate his good intention through hard work and innovations to bring about the desired changes and development.
A major highlight of the governor’s interaction with Civil Servants at the terminus was his pledge to inject between 30 and 40 new busses into the fleet, a declaration that generated wild jubilation from the crowd.
Afterwards, the governor and his team headed to Lagos House, Ikeja where he signed his first Executive Order to address the issue of traffic control and management, fixing of potholes on the roads, sanitation as well as cleaning of drainages in the State.
The Governor, who signed the Executive Order in the presence of Security Chiefs and the Heads of relevant agencies in the State, stressed that the support and cooperation of military personnel cannot be overemphasized especially in the implementation of the Order.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also charged the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, to effectively carry out their functions by ensuring strict compliance with all extant traffic rules and regulations as prescribed in the enabling law, adding that another pronouncement would be made soon to address the issue of one-way driving on Lagos roads.
Sanwo-Olu equally directed the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) to be more communicative and advisory on issues of bad vehicle wipers, spare tyres and non-provision of jacks in vehicles, among others.
From Lagos House, Sanwo-Olu and his deputy visited Apapa where he assured that there are plans to find a lasting solution to the gridlock in the area. The governor stated that Apapa’s gridlock is multi-faceted, and would be tackled appropriately.
On his way back to Lagos House, Governor Sanwo-Olu apprehended a Danfo driver who drove against traffic on Eko Bridge. On sighting the vehicle, he ordered his convoy to stop and immediately ordered that the vehicle be impounded.
He also directed that the driver be prosecuted in line with the provisions of the Traffic Laws.
Going by his action packed one day in office, Lagosians are, indeed, poised to witness renewed vibrancy and dynamism in the governance of the state. Certainly, this governor is prepared for the task of governing the ‘Center of Excellence’.
Considering his pedigree in governance, Babajide Sanwo- Olu, no doubt, has all it takes to guide the State to the path of greatness. The experience he has garnered both in the private sector Public Service should be sufficient to give him clear-cut direction and the needed analytical mind to steer the ship of the state afloat. Mr. Sanwo-Olu is not new to the dynamics of governance in the state as he has worked in various capacities as Special Adviser, Deputy Governor’s office, Honourable Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, Honourable Commissioner for Commerce & Industry and Honourable Commissioner for Establishment & Training among others.
One thing that is surely going to work well for him would be his resolve not to allow the allure and authority his office wields to transform him into a different person. In his inaugural speech, the governor promised never to change and become something else. He said: “The Babajide Sanwo-Olu you see today shall not change and try and become something I am not”.
Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja