By Gboyega Akosile
From 6:30am up to about 9:30am, and most times, till noon, motorists plying the ever-busy Lekki-Epe Expressway from Ajah axis inward Victoria Island and other parts of Lagos, now have a daily ordeal of traffic snarl to contend with.
Arguably, the axis is the busiest not only in Nigeria but in Africa on account of the fact that it houses the headquarters of major multi-national corporations and other organisations, including financial institutions, oil companies, property firms, telecommunications giants, hospitality firms, automobile companies, major shopping malls and government institutions.
As a result of the pressure on the road network within the axis, coupled with other factors, residents, business owners, investors and commuters generally are not finding it easy with the traffic situation in the corridor due to what they have to contend with while using the road daily.
Aside from the deplorable state of some of the roads on the axis, the situation is further compounded by inadequate road infrastructure, roundabouts occupying more than necessary space, delays caused by tolling system at the Lekki-Epe Toll Gate and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza, and locked drains, among other factors.
To address the challenges, a stakeholders meeting was held fortnight ago at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Victoria Island chaired by the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, with other key government functionaries including the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat in attendance.
The meeting was held at the instance of the State Government in partnership with major private investors, to present a comprehensive proposal designed by a team of expert in the public transportation sector, to bring about free flow of traffic in the axis.
The proposed solution, which includes designation of some roads as One-Way, road reconstruction, junction improvement works, traffic systems management measures, among others, was designed by Planet Projects Limited and it is to be funded through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.
In his opening remarks, Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, said the partnership was embarked upon to find a lasting solution to the traffic situation along the axis, being a critical commercial zone.
Wigwe, whose firm is one of the partners in the PPP model alongside Fidelity Bank, said the major objective of the arrangement is to re-arrange the traffic architecture in the Lekki-Oniru and Victoria Island axis, with the view to reduce travel time and make life comfortable for everybody.
“At the beginning of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s campaign, one of the things he said he would focus on is transportation and traffic management. This obviously is a big problem out here. We have engaged in several discussions with the Governor and we have worked with a consultant to carry out very detailed traffic studies of Lekki-Oniru axis with the view to ensure that we eliminate traffic the way it exists today from Victoria Island up to Oniru and Lekki,” Wigwe said.
Giving details of the proposed solutions, Managing Director of Planet Projects Limited, Mr Biodun Otunola, said from the comprehensive studies carried out, it was discovered that there were five major locations vulnerable to gridlock in the area, which include Sandfill Junction, Akinbolagbe Street, Ligali Ayorinde to Ajose Adeogun, Akinbolagbe Street to Ligali Ayorinde Junction and Muri Okunola Roundabout.
As part of the proposed solutions, Otunola said all the deplorable roads in the axis must be reconstructed with standard facilities, including drainage system, walkway and streetlight. He said due to the topography of the area, concretised road should be used to replace asphalt to make the road stand the test of time.
“We have also proposed that Akinbolagbe Street has to return to dual carriageway, while most of the roundabouts have to be replaced with signalised light. Some roads will also be classified as One-Way, while old Sandfill-Maroko Road would be constructed to make up for the fact that motorists would no longer be allowed to make left turn at the Oniru Junction of Lekki Expressway/Yesufu Abiodun,” Otunola said.
Responding to concerns raised by stakeholders, especially land-owners and indigenous families in the area, Governor Sanwo-Olu said although there would always be room for continuous engagement and improvement, the ultimate objective of the planned re-arrangement and re-development of the traffic architecture of the axis, was to reduce travel time and make life comfortable for residents.
The Governor said: “Further engagement will continue so that the consultant that is working can go back and take a deep dive to see areas that we can still work on. It is collaborative and it is a PPP engagement. The whole idea is that we want to solve the traffic issue around here; we want to improve travel time. Like we said during the campaign, we cannot just be people without solutions to our issues; we cannot just sit back and fold our arms and say that we cannot get anything out of our challenges.
“It is an innovative way of solving the traffic challenges we have around here and the fact is there will be inconveniences in terms of where you usually have two minutes to make a turn or a road that is now one-way. I mean just picture the fact that it took a while when some roads in Victoria Island were made one-way traffic for people to understand, and part of this is that we are not just going to leave the people; there would be massive engagement and we would also work with LASTMA (Lagos State Traffic Management Authority) and other agencies as well as put in place enough of road furniture that would tell you where to turn and the areas you cannot enter. There will also be continuous advocacy so that people can have a clear picture of what we are trying to do.”
After the meeting, the Governor and his team which included the Deputy Governor, the Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Gboyega Soyannwo, among other top government functionaries, carried out an on-the-spot assessment of the traffic flashpoints in the area, especially from Victoria Island down to Lekki, Ajah, Abraham Adesanya Roundabout, Admiralty Way and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.
Addressing reporters, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced the decision of the State Government to open the toll plazas at both Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge free to the public for one day during rush hours on Thursday, July 11, 2019.
Specifically, the Governor declared a toll-free passage at the toll plazas between 6:30am and 9:30am in the morning, and also at the peak period in the evening from 4:30pm to 8pm.
The objective, according to Governor Sanwo-Olu is to allow traffic consultants to the government carry out a comprehensive study of traffic flow around Lekki-Ikoyi-Victoria Island axis, which is part of the initiatives the government is bringing to diffuse vehicular gridlock in major Business Districts in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Tomorrow being Thursday, the toll plazas on the Ikoyi Link Bridge and Lekki-Epe Expressway will be opened free of charge between 6:30am and 9:30am in the morning and also between 4:30pm and 8:00pm in the evening. This is to allow us to do a real simulation of traffic study in these areas that usually witness high density of vehicular movement daily.
“We are currently undertaking a traffic study with our experts and we want to know where the traffic goes to when the tollgates are left open for steady movement. It is only when we do this activity at the peak hour that we will be able to understand how to deal with congestion in this area.”
The Governor added that the undertaking was necessary for the government to take actions that would lead to the reduction of traffic in the axis by at least 50 percent, just as he expressed optimism that the regeneration effort would lead to a reduction in travel time and improved productivity.
“Our government wants to bring about a quick journey time through our traffic solution. The way we want to do it is to have an online real-time study of what the issues are. We are going to analyse the dimension of observed challenges and discuss next steps of solution we are bringing,” he said.
As part of the measures being initiated to achieve free flow of traffic, Governor Sanwo-Olu hinted that the mode of toll collection at the Ikoyi-Link Bridge would completely go electronic, disclosing that a new method of payment would take off in October.
The Governor, therefore, urged motorists plying the route to apply ahead for electronic access cards at Lagos Tolling Company in compliance with the new service.
He said: “In October, the partners that we are working with will introduce a software that will allow electronic collection of toll fees. This means that motorists will not be paying cash. The process to implement this is on, and we will come up with a seamless electronic solution.
“We are giving three months notice to residents and motorists to prepare ahead. By the time this is done, we believe some of the bottlenecks in and around Ikoyi would be reduced and we are hoping there would be free flow of traffic.”
He added that the size of the roundabout at the Admiralty Road would also be reduced for the purpose of traffic diffusion.
Besides, Governor Sanwo-Olu also visited the scene of recent flood in Abraham Adesanya Junction to inspect the cause of the clogged drainage in the area, where he announced that the Office of the Drainage Services had been given a task to ensure free flow of water in the clogged drainages and canals in Ajah area.
He said: “Our inspection of Abraham Adesanya Junction in Ajah area is to take necessary assessment of the condition of drainage in the area. We have identified things we need to do to have free flow of water from the area to the lagoon. We are also looking at reduction of the size of the roundabout there. We are coming out with a comprehensive traffic and drainage solutions at the Abraham Adesanya area.
“We have had several complaints about how long it takes people moving around Ajah Bus Stop. We are going to push a major layby where we can take commercial vehicles off the road. We have realised that commercial vehicles are the major cause of traffic at the spot. We are going to push the layby there and cut it off, so that motorists moving inward Victoria Island can have an easy access. We are looking at both lanes to reduce journey time.”
Definitely, the government is on the move to bring about a major re-arrangement of the traffic architecture of the Victoria Island-Lekki-Epe corridor, and the cooperation of the people remains sacrosanct to effect the desired change.
Gboyega Akosile is the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sanwo-Olu.
Lagos Socialite, Sir K Lamina, Sent To Prisons For Alleged Robbery, Murder
Lagos socialite and suspected land grabbing kingpin, Chief Kamorudeen Olaseni Lamina, popularly called ‘Sir K Oluwo’, has been ordered to be remanded in prison custody by a Chief Magistrate Court in Sagamu, Ogun State.
P.M.EXPRESS learnt that Lamina was arraigned over allegations of terrorising land owners in some communities around Ikorodu and Shagamu axis of South-western part of Nigeria.
The accused is facing a four-count charge of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, murder, unlawful possession of firearms and armed robbery in suit number MSH/289c/2019, and will be remanded in prison pending further notice pending the Attorney-General’s legal advice.
The charge reads: “That you, Otunba Kamorudeen Lawal (m) and others still at large with those in charge number MSH/82C/2011 on or before the 9th of March, 2011 at Ologbon Odukosi village, in the Sagamu Magisterial District, did conspire together to commit felony to wit; armed robbery and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 6(b) of the robbery and firearms (special provision) acts laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
The second charge reads, “That you, Otunba Kamorudeen Lamina and others still at large, with those in charge number MSH/82C/2011 on the same day, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did rob one Saka Gbemisola, Kareem Bello and others of the sum of One Hundred and Eighty Thousands Naira (N180,000.00), one Astor Electronic Teoolita with its tripod valued Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000.00, gsm handset, cloths, shoes, wrist watches and identity cards value yet to be estimated while armed with guns, axes, cutlasses, knives and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1(2)(a) of the robbery and firearms (special provision) Act Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
The third charge reads, “That you, Otunba Kamorudeen Lamina and others still at large, with those in charge number MSH/82C/2011 on the same date, time and place aforementioned magisterial district did unlawfully conspire to commit felony to wit; murder and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 324 of the criminal code laws of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006.”
The fourth charge stated that, “That you, Otunba Kamorudeen Lamina and others still at large, with those in charge number MSH/82C/2011 on the same date,time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did unlawfully kill Akeem Adegbaru (m), Fatai Adeleye (m) and Adebisi Adelakun (m) by matcheting them with cutlasses and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 316 and punishable under section 319 of the criminal code of laws of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006.”
The defence counsel, Bayo Omotuburuwa, had earlier prayed the court not to grant the ex-parte application which was placed before the court by the Prosecuting Counsel, Adeola Adeleye.
Due to this, the case was stepped down around 11.00 a.m., after which the court re-conveyed at 01.20 p.m.
The defence counsel also prayed the court to grant his client bail, quoting Section 307 of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) to support his argument, but the court refused the prayer.
The prosecuting counsel, however, argued that nothing is stopping the ex-parte application from being heard in the court, adding that an application that is not challenged must be heard and the ex-parte application must be heard.
He added, “The court has the final decision to either grant the remand order or not, and the respondent has no order challenging the ex-parte application.”
The chief magistrate, B.J Ojikutu, in his ruling, denied the bail application by the accused counsel and ordered that the accused be remanded in prison, pending the Attorney-General’s legal advice.
He adjourned further hearing to September 26.
It would be recalled that in June 2017, Lamina with others were arrested and arraigned at the Lagos State Special Offences Court for violently grabbed lands belonging to some residents of Ikorodu and adjourning communities.
After nearly a month in detention, he was granted bail and later fled Lagos State.
It was learnt that Sir K then shifted his base to Ogun State with minor or no law against land grabbing until about a year ago.
His alleged atrocities of terrorising innocent people of some communities got to the Ogun State task force on land grabbing via scores of petitions and SOS messages by some victims.
He was later arrested and now arraigned.
Lagos lawmakers reject Sanwo-Olu’s 3 cabinet nominees •Full list of commissioners
The full inauguration of commissioners and Special Advisers of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet suffered set back, Monday, when the State Assembly confirmed 35 out of the 38 nominees and rejected three others sent to it by the governor for confirmation.
The fate of three others namely: Obafemi George, Prince Olarewanju Sanusi and Adekemi Bembe were still hanging in the balance as the Assembly, presided over by the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, which failed to give any reason for the rejection advised Governor Sanwo-Olu to re-nominate the persons if he is so wished.
Obasa, later announced this during the plenary, after the 38 nominees had earlier appeared at an exhaustive session for final ratification which lasted for several hours.
The list of nominees, include; Past Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Tunji Bello, Editor, Nation’s Newspaper, Gbenga Omotoso, Mr. Rabiu Olowo Onaolapo, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Dr. Idris Salako, immediate Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Mrs. Bolaji Dada, Mr. Lere Odusote, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, Ms. Adekemi Ajayi, Mr. Femi George, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN), Mr. Hakeem Fahm, Mrs. Ajibola Ponnle, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, Mr. Segun Dawodu, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Sam Egube, Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, Mr. Tunbosun Alake, and Mr. Afolabi Ayantayo.
Other are: Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress, APC, Joe Igbokwe, Oladele Ajayi, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, former Chairman, Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, Olarenwaju Sanusi, Bonu Solomon Saanu, Arc. Kabiru Ahmed, Mrs. Lola Akande, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, Daughter of late Governor of Ondo State, Segun Agagu, Mrs. Solape Hammond, former Chairman, Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Area, Morufu Akinderu Fatai, MAF, Mrs. Shulamite Olufunke Adebolu and Tokunbo Wahab.
It was, however, gathered that the nominees might have been dropped probably due to unsatisfactory credentials presented or lack of knowledge of originating constituency.
When contacted to comment on the development, a former member of the House of Representatives, Epe, Constituency, also a onetime Chief Press Secretary to Speaker of the state House of Assembly, under Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Lanre Odubote said, “The house has the constitutional rights to approve or reject any nominee presented to it by the Governor. They have acted within their powers to do so. However, the rejection might not necessary mean the legislative arm is up in arm with the executive. I think it’s an internal issue which will be dealt with dispassionately.
“Am sure the House of Assembly will communicate effectively with the Governor on the issue and work out modality to resolve the matter. And good enough, the Governor can represent or re-nominate them for approval.
“We are in democracy and this is democracy in action.”
Recall that a 16 man Ad-hoc Screening Committee, headed by the Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru, had earlier submitted a clean report on the screened nominees to the House for final confirmation.
The final approval of the nominees is subject to decision of the 40 members of the House and not the Ad-hoc committee.
The report of the adhoc committee only serve as a guide to the final ratification by the whole members of the house.
Abiru, after the conclusion of the screening exercise last Friday, told newsmen that the committee was satisfied with the competence of the nominees, saying that the state would be better with their wealth of experience.
Abiru stressed: “This has been a very tough exercise; we have now taken the entire 38 nominees of the governor (25 in the first batch and 13 in the second batch).
“From what we have seen, we have knowledgeable and intelligent people that actually understand how government will work to succeed. It is a mix of technocrats, politicians and people who believe that it does not matter the divide they belong to, that what is mostly important is the urge and zeal to deliver service.”
“They have seen this as a call to service and have actually pledged before us that they will put all that God has endowed them with to ensure that good governance is witnessed with the present administration and that the people of Lagos will enjoy the dividends of democracy.”
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, inaugurated nine newly appointed Permanent Secretaries into key ministries and departments, with a charge the to ensure residents get the best of their services.
Speaking at the swearing-in event held at the State House, Alausa, Sanwo-Olu said the appointees were selected for the position for their “exceptional pedigrees”, which, he said, indicated that the state was in for an enhanced service delivery in its public service.
The Governor said the choice of the new appointees was based purely on merit, pointing out that he had no personal relationship with none of the appointees which could have influenced their appointments.
This, he said, was a departure from established practice in making appointments of such nature, reiterating his administration’s belief in elevating merit and distinction above personal consideration.
He said: “I charge our new Permanent Secretaries to see your elevation as a call for more service and to give your best to the citizens of Lagos. I have no doubt that you all will give in your best at all times. I am convinced that Lagosians are in for a renewed and enhanced public service that will take good governance to the doorsteps of ordinary people.
“These appointments are a demonstration of what is to come in the coming days. With the full cabinet coming tomorrow (Tuesday), the people of Lagos will be better off with this choice and all our promises condensed in Project T.H.E.M.E.S will begin to work fully and make life easy for Lagosians. At the end of our tenure, we want to be seen to have truly improved the quality of life for greater number of residents.”
Sanwo-Olu said the appointees demonstrated capability, capacity and competence, hailing the state’s civil service for producing quality personnel with unrivalled knowledge and capability in service delivery.
The Governor advised directors and workers in lower cadres in the civil service to be diligent in the discharge of their duty, noting that they did not need to know highly placed individuals to be rewarded with promotions.
Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, while presenting the appointees to the Governor, said the new PSs possessed “unblemished records” in their years of service to the state.
“I encourage all public servants to continue to work hard and be more innovative in the discharge of your duties and responsibilities. Delivery of excellent results would only speak for the diligent ones when the time comes,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the appointees after taking the oath, PS in the Ministry of Transportation, Wale Musa, thanked the governor for finding them worthy of the opportunity, promising not to betray the trust reposed in them.
Other Permanent Secretaries sworn in are Mrs. Kikelomo Sanyaolu, Civil Service Commission; Mr. Nurudeen Shodeinde, Office of Drainage Services; Mrs. Khadijat Shitta-Bay, Ministry of Justice; Mrs. Olorunkemi Durosinmi-Etti, Cabinet Office; Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; Mr. Moruf Agoro, Ministry of Waterfront and Rural Development; Mrs. Belinda Odeneye, Ministry of Environment, and Mr. Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku, Ministry of Tourism. (Vanguard)
Source News Express
Development In Focus As Sanwo-Olu Inaugurates Cabinet By Gboyega Akosile
In fulfilling his electioneering promise that his cabinet would be constituted within 100 days of his government, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recently released the first batch of 25 nominees to occupy cabinet-ranked positions in the state. The list shows an administration that is ready to serve, given the pedigrees of nominees, most of whom are tested individuals with proven records of accomplishment of performance in their various fields of endeavour.
Three weeks after, a new list consisting 13 names of another set of tested and trusted individuals was released making the cabinet positions 38 in all. Expectedly, the two lists generated a lot of interest in the political circle as well as the public domain. Every Lagosian at home and in the diaspora is interested in who occupies what position. You cannot query their interest. First, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s government came into power, with an emphasis during electioneering that inclusive governance would be the core of its administration. In addition, Lagosians see the enormous challenges that have confronted the State in the recent years and they know that only a focused, dedicated and forward-looking cabinet can help to deliver Governor Sanwo-Olu’s campaign promises.
Lagos has grown in leaps and bounds, with its population hitting almost 23 million people and still counting. This naturally comes with its challenges; increase in tons of waste generated, rise in the number of patients at various government hospitals and primary health centres, more pressure on the existing infrastructure-roads, schools and housing among numerous social amenities being provided by government. Lagos, therefore, cannot be administered in 2019 using a 1979 template.
The state has undoubtedly benefitted from its population growth-more revenue generation; physical development is recorded in different sectors making it a state on the move. At the last count, Lagos is said to have hit close to N30 billion mark every month in internally generated revenue (IGR), making it the most economically viable state in Nigeria and fifth largest economy in Africa. However, the State government has argued that this feat is still a far cry from what is required to run a megacity such as Lagos. For example, the budgetary allocation of the police department in New York City is $5.6 billion, when compared to the budget of the entire Lagos state, which stands at $2.4 billion; one can safely conclude that there is more to be done by government to get the state running.
Being the nation’s economic nerve-centre, Lagos is a city on the move but with enormous challenges. Apart from poor state of arterial roads that complicate free flow of traffic, commuters spend productive hours in chaotic gridlocks that are caused by failed sections on roads and disorganised traffic management. Many observers have opined that planning the best campaign strategies to win the governorship election was not much of a challenge before Governor Sanwo-Olu, as his party, APC commanded large following and significant popularity in Lagos to ensure his victory. What they say will be the most testing hurdle waiting to be surmounted by him was the strategy to deploy in solving the long-standing and emerging challenges facing the state.
When Sanwo-Olu emerged as APC candidate, Lagos had literally become a dumpsite as heaps of municipal waste littered the streets. The state agency set up for waste disposal had been disengaged in a curious and controversial circumstance, leaving residents to resort to indiscriminate dumping of refuse, which became a daily eyesore, even to the government of the day. The aesthetics of the environment was affected. All of these brought down the pride of Lagos, despite its growing profile as a hub for commerce, technology and innovation.
Sanwo-Olu’s campaign was premised on the need to address these challenges, with the aim of proffering short and long-term solutions to them. Project T.H.E.M.E.S that became the thrust of his campaign slogan was formulated as an operational framework to solve these identified challenges and sustain the profile of Lagos as centre of excellence.
Upon assumption of office as the 15th Governor of Lagos on May 29, 2019, Sanwo-Olu channelled his energy towards a process of scouting for visionary individuals from various areas of human endeavour that will help him midwife his vision and deliver on his campaign promises. He said, during the electioneering that ‘‘as Lagosians, we can’t be like people who cannot solve their problems. Therefore, we must find solutions to our problems because they are created by us’’.
As one who believes in harnessing the capabilities of homegrown professionals, Sanwo-Olu assured Lagosians that his Commissioners and cabinet-ranked Special Advisers would be drawn from local pool of resources and will cut across acceptable demographics. Besides, he promised his cabinet would be constituted within 100 days to set the ball of governance rolling.
In keeping the promise made to Lagosians, Sanwo-Olu announced the names of members of his cabinet exactly 47 days after his swearing-in. This is a rare feat for a governor serving his first term. The Governor said he understood the challenges confronting the state, noting that the selection process was a painstaking and laborious exercise, which aimed at introducing fresh ideas to governance. He said the team of professionals and politicians would be serving Lagosians in line with his administration’s vision of delivering a smart city-state that will rank among the top most liveable cities in the world.
His words: “We took our time to pick the best hands for the tough job Lagosians have elected us to do. The nominees for the twenty five (now thirty eight) Commissioner and Special Adviser positions include women and men who have made their mark and at the zenith of their professional callings.” Tough job? Yes, the tasks ahead are expected to be rigorous as Gov. Sanwo-Olu posited, given the challenges the state is confronted with and the expectations of the people based on the confidence reposed in the administration.
Infusion of technocracy and political know-how
Being the centre of innovation, Lagos has raised the bar of excellence with injection of fresh ideas and energy in governance. This tradition has been sustained in the last 20 years, and the young administration of Sanwo-Olu appears to be toeing the path, if the profiles of his nominees are anything to go by.
Of the 38 cabinet members cleared for inauguration by the State House of Assembly are active politicians who are equally professionals in various fields. The infusion of politics and professionalism is perhaps the unique selling point of the Sanwo-Olu Cabinet.
A careful analysis of the nominees showed there is clear departure from the tradition of putting forward only politicians or only technocrats to fill up the state’s Executive Council. A private sector professional himself and having traversed the nook and cranny of the political space in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu understood the arduous task before his government, which possibly prompted him to go for politicians, professionals in politics and technocrats to drive the key areas of the public sector for greater impact.
Having worked closely with the Governor, one can safely say that he is inclined to work with technocrats, because he is a man that’s given to details-someone you can describe as ‘‘prim and proper’’ but one equally knows that he values the roles of experienced politicians, who are fully integrated in the new cabinet arrangement for political balancing.
The Governor is a politician himself and he quite understands the roles of politicians in governance and development process. Despite his inclination to work with professionals, he will not be leaving out politicians, especially those who have garnered ample experience in previous administrations, to join the team of key private sector players he has nominated to his cabinet.
It therefore came as no surprise that the name of Mr. Tunji Bello, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, who had served three previous administrations, featured in Sanwo-Olu’s list of cabinet members. Aside being an influential figure in Lagos politics, Bello, a trained lawyer cum journalist, possesses vast skill on environmental issues and policies to help the administration have clear direction in this area.
Lagos is confronting fierce challenges of climate change, flooding and municipal waste disposal among other environmental problems. With him in the cabinet, Bello’s wealth of experience in climate issues and the environment would come as a great benefit to the Sanwo-Olu administration.
Gbolahan Lawal is another experienced administrator and politician that will be in the Executive Council. A seasoned development expert and social entrepreneur from the security background, Lawal has deep understanding of political economy for integrated development especially in low and medium-income economies. He has proven his mettle in previous administrations as Commissioner for Housing and in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
Same can be said of Wale Ahmed, a medical doctor turned politician. Ahmed is well grounded in the politics of Lagos State having traversed the different political tendencies in the state. He is no doubt a good pick by Mr. Sanwo-Olu to help create the political balancing that is required in today’s democratic governance. There are few other experienced politicians in the list of the new cabinet members.
Fair representation of women
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, Lagos has been setting the pace for gender balance and women involvement in political process. The state became the first that elevated the status of women in the realms of leadership and politics, producing the first woman Deputy Governor.
The state had sustained the tradition of reserving one of the two topmost leadership positions for women. However, the political horse-trading that trailed the emergence of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as Sanwo-Olu’s running mate in the build up to the general elections raised concern among womenfolk, giving rise to insinuation that Sanwo-Olu may be nursing an agenda to upset the progress made in the State in the area of women representation in governance.
In his response, Sanwo-Olu allayed the fear of relegation of women, explaining that the choice of his running mate was to display the dynamism of Lagos politics and present a formidable team for the tough job of governing a State with big economy as Lagos. He promised to complement the work of his administration with an improved involvement of women in decision-making positions. True to his words, the Governor, after being sworn in, surprised the womenfolk with his first appointment, picking Mrs. Folashade Jaji, as the Secretary to the State Government.
This was followed by nominations of thirteen women in the cabinet list, signifying the Governor’s conviction of getting women involved in leadership and decision-making. The number showed women make up 32 per cent of cabinet members in the State. This is 3% less of the 35% affirmative action for women in politics and governance. Again, Lagos remains the first and till date the only State that has moved closer to the number advocated.
Sanwo-Olu did not just pick any woman out of gender consideration, the Governor gunned for greater service delivery with the selection of seasoned and highly resourceful women, among who are engineers, lawyers, experienced politicians and development-driven individuals such as first-rate engineering project manager, Mrs Aramide Monsurat Adeyoye.
Mrs. Adeyoye, a University of Lagos (UNILAG)-trained Civil Engineer, cut her professional teeth at Julius Berger Nigeria Plc in 1988 and rose through the ranks to become the multinational engineering firm’s Project Coordinator in Nigeria’s West region.
The list also parades Mrs Adetoke Benson-Awoyinka, a public-spirited legal practitioner with 30 years post call experience in Nigeria and United States. Benson-Adeyinka was among the highly skilled team of the Governor’s transition committee.
Ms Ajibola Ponnle, another nominee, is an accomplished consultant, accountant and entrepreneur, with experience in transformational and result-oriented leadership in start-ups, volunteer/member-led organisations and multinational firms. Mrs. Lola Akande and Mrs Yetunde Arobieke are seasoned politicians who will bring their individual wealth of experience to the new drive to deliver a greater Lagos.
Other women in the list, with enviable track records in public and private sector, include Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, Ms. Adekemi Ajayi, Mrs. Bolaji Dada and Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, Mrs Shulamite Olufunke Adebolu and Mrs. Sholape Hammond.
Key roles for the millennial
Having joined public service as Special Adviser on Economic and Investment at his youthful age, Sanwo-Olu seemed inclined towards engaging the youth with the aim of harnessing their energy to deliver his programmes and vision.
This may have influenced the decision of the Governor to nominate four young people under the age of 37 years for cabinet-ranked positions in his government. By the time the cabinet is constituted, these four millennials will be among those that would be driving the Governor’s policies in key public sector, creating a generational shift in governance.
Olatunbosun Alake, a 35-year-old Product Development and Data Management Executive and three other young administrators will be in the cabinet to infuse youthful vigour into governance by bringing to bear his cognate experience in local and international telecommunications and innovative solutions.
Lagos continues to blaze the trail in ethno-religious diversity. The State in 1999 under former Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu appointed non-Yoruba professionals into the Executive Council. This great feat has been sustained and almost becoming a norm. Govenor Sanwo-Olu, during the electioneering, unequivocally promised to reflect ethnic representation in his cabinet. In keeping to his word, erstwhile spokesperson for the APC in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe and a strong grassroots politician Architect Kabiru Ahmed made it into the cabinet of Lagos State.
Following their legislative ratification by the Lagos State House of Assembly, the 38 cabinet members will be sworn in on Tuesday. With this, residents of the state will begin to witness dynamic governance being driven by fresh, energetic and passionate team of professionals drafted to the Executive Council by equally adroit game changers – Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
Gboyega Akosile is Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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