Home Opinion Features With signature projects, Sanwo-Olu banish 2nd term ghost

With signature projects, Sanwo-Olu banish 2nd term ghost

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We live in a time most people blame the failure of some returning governors on what they tag “second term syndrome”” The perception underscores the tendency for some second term governors to become complacent in actualising set goals. “After all, they no longer need our votes, they can as well go to sleep while good governance is left to suffer”. These are few underbellies of pessimism about returning governors who fall short of people’s expectations.

While one would not undermine election fatigue and the rigmarole of post-election litigations for late take off by some state chief executives, the experience is often different for governors whose agenda is well cut out and armed a roadmap. Should Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu be painted with the same brush just because he is doing a second term? The answer is No!

Shortly after his swearing in on 29th May last year, an addendum was added to the development mandate. From THEMES to THEMEplus,  there has been a steep progression in the administration’s drive for a new Lagos infrastructurally through intensified social Inclusion, gender equality and youth development. While interacting with some senior journalists in Lagos recently, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso alluded to how the governor had been revving up the dream of a new Lagos in the build up to his fifth year in office.

He revealed: “As you can see, there are many projects….those nearing completion and the ones ongoing. The Red Line rail project from Agbado to Iddo is due for commissioning by President Bola Tinubu on 29th February. We are building schools, hostel accommodation at the Lagos State University (LASU), a 1500-Bed Psychiatric Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre at Ketu-Ejirin town even as the  150-bed Massey Children Specialist Hospital nears completion”.

The commissioner further disclosed government’s plans to build a medical university and airport, among other projects. These are strong indications that the Sanwo-Olu administration already has its hands full and can’t afford to sleep nor slumber.

Aside the early picks of Sanwo-Olu’s second coming, the administration’s urban renewal drive, youth engagement viz entertainment and sports, February 2024 is epochal in the anal of this administration. First, the month will record the commissioning of iconic Red Line rail project conceived and delivered by the Sanwo-Olu-led administration. The 37-kilometer North-South rail route will run from Agbado to Iddo with 13 stations at Agbado, Iju, Agege, Ikeja, Murtala Mohamed International Airport (MMIA), MMIA Domestic, Oshodi, Mushin, Yaba, Ebute Meta, and Oyingbo/Iddo. There is a plan to link it to Ebute Ero and Marina through the Blue Line route.

The Red Line was conceived in 2018 as the second leg of a tripodal transport model deserving of a mega city like Lagos. At full operation, the Red line is the long awaited game changer given its half a million passenger daily capacity and  equipped with the technology to bridge travel time from two hours at the maximum, to 40 minutes. It was also in the first quarter of last year that the Blue Line, which runs from Marina to Mile 2 was commissioned by immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari.

Call it fortuitous or otherwise, but the fact the flag-off of Lagos Traders Money initiative fell on Valentine’s Day was love at full radiance. At De-Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Sanwo-Olu kept his promise to 15,000 traders by doling out a N750 million to enable them boost their businesses. The financial intervention scheme saw the beneficiaries, who are Lagos residents but drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country, smiled home with N50,000 each. An elated governor told the gathering of stakeholders in the agro-food business that the gesture would go a long way to actualise his goal of transforming the food systems in Lagos State and stimulate economic activities in various food markets in line with his administration’s THEMES+ developmental agenda.

In the same vein, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abíola Olusanya said “the initiative is part of the state government’s commitment to the development of the downstream segment of the food and agricultural value chains, which centres on markets and market access. This is due to the fact that Lagos is the largest market city-state in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Even at this critical time when personal income is already eroded by rising food prices and other household expenses, Sanwo-Olu demonstrated the humanity in him when, early in February, he anounced the disbursement of  N3.1 billion to over 1,000 retirees under the state’s Contributory Pension Scheme.

Since he assumed office as the state’s chief executive, Sanwo-Olu has lived by the mantra: “the sacrifices of the pensioners won’t go unnoticed”. Truly, Lagos retirees have had little or no cause to despair over their entitlements in a dispensation that had disbursed over N60 billion pension to 17,000 retirees since its inception.

Ajayi, a public affairs analysis, writes from Lagos

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