By Dapo Okubanjo
This is an election like no other and this has nothing to do with Labour Party’s shock outing on February 25 in Lagos State.
The introduction of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) was always going to be a game changer in the electoral process but any casual watcher of the political space in the state would have noticed that Governor Babajide Sanwoolu has never been unwavering to prove that he deserves a second term regardless of the strength of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in one of its major stronghold.
With a team that is spiced with quite a number of technocrats, Sanwoolu who himself could not be described as your run-of-the-mill politician hit the ground running on assuming office in 2019.
As someone who had played some roles in previous administrations, it was safe to describe him as an insider and not surprising he learnt from recent history and did not deviate from the Master plan.
In his quest to keep Lagos rising, Governor Sanwoolu, backed by a politically savvy deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, kept his gaze firmly on the legacy of the Tinubu era while also striving to cement a place in history for himself.
In his first 4 years, two signature projects that had their root in the foresight of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu saw the light of the day. They are the Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Blue rail line, both of which were fittingly commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari as APC’s contribution to the nation’s infrastructural development.
Described as a game changer for Nigeria by the international media,the Sea Port is part of a Free Trade zone that was the brainchild of the then Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu, now President-elect but it was under Sanwoolu that it became reality.
The same for the Blue rail line component of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit which was also part of the much talked of Lagos master plan.
In its quest for a Greater Lagos, the Sanwo-Olu government has completed or about to complete more than 970 road projects. A government document showed that the newly commissioned projects include the Agege Pen Cinema Bridge, Oniru network of roads, Ikoyi network of roads, Lagos-Ogun Boundary roads Phase II, Lekki Oniru Traffic Circulation Projects and 37 networks of roads in Ojokoro.
Others are Isawo-Agric road, Ikorodu, Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT lane, Ijede Road Phase 1 in Ikorodu, Tedi-Muwo Link Bridge, Lagos-Ogun boundary Roads in Alimosho and 6 reconfigured Roundabouts – Allen, Ikotun, Maryland, Lekki and Ajah among others.
In the midst of these infrastructural renewal, the Sanwoolu administration has constructed 70 new school buildings, renovated 197 public schools and recruited about 1,500 school teachers so far.
In the health sector, there is an innovative floating 400Hp floating clinic for the benefit of Lagos residents in riverine areas who may have need for medical emergency.
Perhaps more important is that the Sanwoolu administration has in less than 4 years completed and commissioned 4 Mother and Child Centers (MCCs) in Epe, Ajah, Badagry and Igando.
Also, it has embarked on the reconstruction of the New Massey’s Street Children Hospital in Lagos Island which when completed, will make the facility the biggest Children’s Hospital in Africa.
No fewer than 5 public health facilities are also be witnessing a facelift. They are the Ebute-Meta Health Centre, Harvey Road Health Centre, General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, General Hospital, Isolo and Ketu-Ejirin Health Centre. The administration has also revamped the Jigi Bola initiative (blindness preventive programme) across all LGs and LCDAs in the state.
And who would forget how the governor did not allow the havoc wreaked on the state by anarchists during the ENDSARS protests of 2021 weigh him down.
He not only set up a panel that awarded N410.2m in compensation for 70 victims of police abuses and extra judicial killings, he has also been painstakingly rebuilding what was destroyed from the historic court building in Igbosere to the BRT bus terminals in Ojodu and Oyingbo.
Inspite of all these, Sanwoolu is still working as hard as an underdog eve. though he is an incumbent governor with a proven record of performance.
This shows that he is not prepared to leave anything to chance in his quest to keep Lagos rising.
Dapo Okubanjo writes from Abuja