- ‘We are working to prevent third Covid wave’
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu rendered his account of stewardship, saying that his administration has not disappointed Lagosians in service delivery.
He said, he had run an open, democratic, inclusive, transparent and people-oriented government that has lived to expectation in the last two years.
Sanwo-Olu reeled out facts and figures to support his claim of efficient service delivery, prudent management of resources and implementation of his THEMES agenda.
He tendered his stewardship in transportation, infrastructural development, education, health, revenue generation, and security.
Sanwo-Olu told reporters in Lagos that the state, having learned instructive lessons from the COVID-19, was working assiduously to prevent the third wave of the pestilence.
With him at the press conference held at the State House, Marina, were Information and Strategy Commissioner Gbenga Omotoso and other aides.
The governor said despite the constraints imposed by Covid, the administration has not relented in the pursuit of the its THEMES agenda, adding that none of the seven pillars has been left behind.
Sanwo-Olu has also not neglected the uncompleted projects inherited from the previous administration. Thus, there is no abandoned project in Lagos.
The governor emphasised that transportation has been accorded a priority, stressing that land, rail and water transport are being simultaneously developed.
He said the state had spent much money on the integrated mass transportation as reflected in the management of 15 terminals, including Liverpool, Ebute-Ero, and Badagry, the procurement of search and rescue boats, and purchase of long buses for the BRT scheme.
To reduce traffic snarl in the metropolis, he said LASTMA has been up and doing, and traffic management has been enhanced at night through the expansion of traffic lights to cover more routes.
He said the single payment system has boosted efficient operations and rekindled public confidence about operations.
Sanwo-Olu noted that COVID-19 produced both negative and positive effects, adding that the experiences continue to guide government’s actions.
Acknowledging the impact of the third wave in some countries, he said: “We are trying to ensure that we don’t have a third wave in Lagos, which has been the epiccentre. We are taking some decisions to ensure no third wave comes to make a nonsense of our vaccines.”
The governor spoke on the investment in the health sector, saying brand new hospitals are being built to reduce medical tourism.
Sanwo-Olu said an impressive achievement has been recorded in waste disposal and environmental management. But, he lamented that much has not been achieved in its proposed project of waste conversion into renewable energy.
The governor said education has been defended with improved funding, alluding to the recent commissioning of projects in schools, the construction of blocks of classrooms, hostel accommodation and other infrastructure-benches and chairs.
He added: “We are building brand new schools at Elemoro and Badagry. We have recruited 5,000 teachers. We have our Eko Excel, a tablet used for teaching in schools and showing how hard teachers have gone in effectively implementing the curriculum.
“The first 100 schools will have fibres to enhance Internet connections.”
Sanwo-Olu said the deployment of the innovation meant that technical become the driver of government business.
The government was delighted that Lagos has become a huge construction site through numerous roads and housing projects, many of which are being commissioned.
Sanwo-Olu objected to the faulty claim that Lagos has not set up its Amotekun, saying that the very effective and efficient Neighbourhood Watch had even been an inspiration to the regional security outfit.
Noting that Lagos has a different terrain and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Ogun State, instead of the huge forest in other Southwest states, he said more people will be recruited to drive intelligence gatherings in the Neighbourhood Watch.
He stressed: “We will always need a safe and secure environment. We are using technology to foster security. But, we will continue to advocate for state police.
“Two hundred vehicles will be handed over to security agencies in Lagos during the week.”
Sanwo-Olu lamented the defected federal arrangement that has consistently frustrated initiatives by states in the energy sector.
He said since energy is not deregulated, Lagos State met a brick wall in the implementation of its Energy Master Plan.
The governor said his administration will sustain its consultations with the appropriate federal agencies.
Boost entertainment and tourism, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos Ebony Academy has been set up for the training of indigent film producers and artists.
He said, 18 tourist locations were being developed in Badagry Division.
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos has promoted a political environment that is conducive to a clear separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial arms, and in an atmosphere of cooperation.
He said: “They are all autonomous. We believe in the separation of powers, transparency and accountability.”
Sanwo-Olu refrained from assessing the of local administration in the state, merely saying: “I have never interfere in their joint account, I have never taken a kobo from the council.”
The governor tendered an evidence of increased internally generated revenue. He also said the state’s debt profile is sustainable, adding that money was borrowed for productive and developmental activities.
He explained the persistent gridlock in Apapa, lamenting that it is the entry and departure points for thousands of tankers loading fuel for supply to many states of the federation.
The governor hoped that the Dangote refinery will bring respite as the tankers will load from Lekki pass through Epe to other states.
He gave commitment on the Lekki Seaport, which will is expected to have a larger capacity than the Apapa port.
Sanwo-Olu said the anticipation of increased vehicular activities made him to construct a six-laned Lekki-Epe Road.
The governor also reiterated his commitment towards the proposed Fourth Mainland Project.
He said: “The Fourth Mainland Road is a 37-kilometre ring road. Before December 21, we should do ground breaking for Fourth Mainland Road.”