Sanwo-Olu’s giant strides at 55

TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE writes on achievements of Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who clocked 55 yesterday

Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu clocked 55 yesterday. At 55, Sanwo-Olu, not only stands tall among his contemporaries, but remains a model to his generation.
Born on June 25, 1965 in Lagos State, the governor is an exemplary public sector reformer and astute politician, who is reputed for his people-centered ideology and passion for public service.
He had his primary education at Government Demonstration School, Surulere and attended Ijebu-Ife Grammar School, Ogun State for his secondary education. He later bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Surveying and Geo-Informatics from the University of Lagos and also had a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management from the same university.
He is an alumnus of the prestigious Havard Kennedy School of Government, London Business School and the Lagos Business School. He is also a member of the Nigerian Institute of Directors (IOD), Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and a Fellow of Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD).
Governor Sanwo-Olu had a fruitful career in the private sector, especially the banking industry. He was Treasurer at former Lead Merchant Bank from 1994 to 1997 after which he moved to the United Bank for Africa (UBA) as Head of Foreign Money Market. He later proceeded to First Inland Bank, Plc (now First City Monument Bank) as a Deputy General Manager and Divisional Head.
He was the Chairman of Baywatch Group Limited and First Class Group Limited as well as board member of the Department for International Development (DFID/DEEPEN) Fund and Audit Committee of Caverton Offshore Services Group, PLC.
Sanwo-Olu’s foray into public service started after decades of accomplishments in the private sector. He began his public service in 2003 at age of 37, when he was appointed a Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to the then deputy governor of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro and later as Special Adviser to Governor Bola Tinubu on Corporate Matters in 2004.
His entry into the state cabinet became a reference point for professionalism and excellence in the public service. Based on his remarkable and exceptional performance in less than two years, Tinubu appointed Sanwo-OLu, who was then 39 as acting Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget (2004-2005). He later became the substantive Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in 2007.
After the 2007 general election, Governor Babatunde Fashola appointed Sanwo-Olu as Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions. His managerial imprint became noticeable in the ministry as he authored an executable civil service framework designed around the Human Capital Performance Index, which puts Lagos State civil servants among the highest and regularly paid in the country.
As a public officer with an impressive record of accomplishments, he was instrumental to the setting-up of Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), a contributory pension scheme, even ahead of the Federal Government. Some of his notable contributions also include setting-up and serving as the pioneer chairman of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund Board, tracking and intelligent analysis of Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) by the various government agencies and parastatals, including the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), for executive consideration and policy making; as well as preparation and publication of the Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LASEEDS).
It is also to Sanwo-Olu’s credit that the Lagosbus Asset Management Limited (LAGBUS) was established to ease the public transportation problem by complementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Lagos State. He also worked on the Control and Command Centre in Alausa, which significantly improved the capacity of the security agencies to respond to distress calls in a swift and timely manner.
Having distinguished himself in previous assignments, Sanwo-Olu was appointed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC) in 2016 by the immediate past administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, and in just two years, the visionary administrator returned the hitherto struggling organisation to the path of efficiency and profitability. He also refocused LSPDC to effectively tackle housing deficit in the state, which again validated his credentials as a resourceful leader and problem solver.
Prior to the 2019 general election, there were calls from different quarters, especially by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that Sanwo-Olu should throw his hat into the ring for that Lagos State governorship. He yielded to the clarion call and formally declared his intention on September 16, 2018 to run for the office of the governor of Lagos State under APC platform, making him a major contender to incumbent Governor Ambode.
His declaration ceremony, which took place at the historic City Hall in Lagos Island attracted endorsements from major stakeholders in Lagos State politics, including the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), the apex leadership body in the Lagos APC. Sanwo-Olu against all odds won the Lagos gubernatorial primaries of APC on October 2, 2018.
As an inspirational leader, with a track record of performance, his candidacy was welcomed by millions of Lagosians. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him winner of the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial poll in Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu’s victory at the election was a solid endorsement of his leadership aptitude and APC politics of development and inclusiveness in Lagos State. He was sworn into office on May 29, 2019 as the 15th governor of Lagos State and in his inauguration speech, he spoke passionately on his plans for Lagos State, especially his dream of building a ‘Greater Lagos.’
This passion seemed to have motivated his quest towards providing good governance and dividends of democracy to the people.
Having served under three previous governors, Sanwo-Olu understands Lagos State and the various challenges facing the state and his knowledge of the state made his administration to adopt a six pillars policy programme tagged T.H.E.M.E.S to deliver good governance to millions of Lagosians.
The six pillars are; Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century state; Entertainment and Tourism; Security and Governance.
Millions of Lagosians, who recently assessed his one year in office, are of the view that Sanwo-Olu has not disappointed the people in his quest for the ‘Greater Lagos’ he promised. This is evident in the remarkable lists of achievements he read out on June 12 during his Democracy Day broadcast titled “Great Leap towards a Greater Lagos” in commemoration of his administration’s first year in office. “Without a doubt, in the last 365 days, so much has happened in our state that we must be proud and thankful for,” he said.
Among the remarkable achievements of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration are; developing a reliable intermodal system of transportation, with investment in waterways and a light rail system as alternatives to road transportation; rehabilitations of roads; putting a plan in place to construct the 4th Mainland Bridge; recruitment and induction of 1,017 LASTMA officers to achieve better flow of traffic and reduction in travel time; construction of two Mother and Child Centers (MCCs) at Eti-Osa and Igando respectively in addition to the Badagry and Epe MCCs, which will be ready for public use in the next couple of weeks; delivering diverse free medical interventions in conjunction with BOSKOH Health Mission International and the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation to over 250,000 Lagosians across several locations in the state within his first 200 days in office.
Sanwo-Olu’s achievement also includes; extensive dredging and disiliting on many drain channels across the state, huge investment in education and technology, construction of 13, 18 or 20 classroom blocks in some schools in Egbe, Ikorodu, Bariga, Shomolu, Ifako-Ijaiye and Epe areas of the state, training 3,000 primary school teachers through Eko EXCEL on how to competently utilise technology in teaching children, signing of $629 million financing facility aimed at completing the Lekki Deep Seaport project and significant progress in the area of housing through four major housing projects that are ready for commissioning.
The governor has also promoted agriculture and provided food security through initiatives such as the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, which is designed to build the capacities of actors in the rice, aquaculture and poultry value chains. The administration has also strengthened the capacity of farmers through the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP), the Sea Food Festival and the Eko City Farmers Food Market.
Governor Sanwo-Olu has also made Lagos safe and secure for many through his administration investment in security matters and this is one of the reasons why crime has reduced in the state. The incumbent government decision to ban motorcycles and tricycles on highway and some roads within the state has also led to reduction of accidents victims in the state.

One thing, one cannot take away from the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration is the governor’s focus on governance and leadership. Since he took the oath of office, Governor Sanwo-Olu has remained steadfast in promoting the ideals of good governance and providing leadership in Lagos State and that is why laudable projects and programmes by his administration in different parts of Lagos State has made many Lagosians, who seemed to be criticising the government few months ago to changed tune as they are marveled by the governor’s performance within one year in office.
Sanwo-Olu has shown leadership in managing the affairs of Lagos State and protecting the citizens of the state, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since Lagos became the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria in February 27, the governor has been up to the task as Incident Commander in ensuring that the pandemic is well managed in Lagos State.

A devout Christian and family-focused man whose marriage to Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu is blessed with lovely children, Sanwo-Olu, in addition to his love for public speaking, is a member of numerous prestigious clubs, which include Ikoyi Club 1938, the Island Club, Yoruba Tennis Club and the Clear Essence Health Club.
Having distinguished himself private and public sector, Governor Sanwo-Olu has obtained a variety of awards in his career, among which are; 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), LSDPC Impactful Leadership and Recognition Award.


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