By Eric Elezuo
“The Babajide Sanwo-Olu you see today shall not change and try to become something I am not. My prayer is only that I grow and improve as your governor to implement good policies and bring the prosperity you deserve”
The 6th of September, 2019 when the much sought after Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, clocked 100 days on the seat of power, did not come upon Lagosians by accident. They waited for it. They wanted to celebrate it. This is because from day one of his administration, Sanwo-Olu had put mechanisms in motion to create the proverbial ‘greater Lagos’ which formed a major part of his campaign slogan. And true to type, the ever jovial governor did not disappoint. He blessed Lagos State with an avalanche of achievements that most of his counterparts were wondering how he did.
Sanwo-Olu did not mince words when prior to inauguration, he promised to clear the problematic Apapa gridlock within his first 60 days. Today, the Apapa gridlock has undergone creative overhauling that has seen gradual disintegration of the hellish situation.
“In collaboration with the Federal Government, the Task force we set up to remove illegally parked trucks went on tough assignment to return discipline along the Apapa-Oshodi corridor. I am glad to inform you that we have seen tremendous improvement and we are happy with the results in the last 100 days. We will continue to attend to the situation for permanent solution,” the governor said.
Again, the Sanwo-Olu Lagos State Government has set aside N4 billion as grant to Lagosians with “ingenious business ideas”.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, during a media briefing herald the governor’s first 100 days in office.
The grant being handled by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Initiative in collaboration with Access Bank Plc., is aimed at promoting ingenious business ideas. Presently, 600 people had already been billed to benefit from the initiative.
The Commissioner added that about 1,700 people have been shortlisted to benefit from a World Bank-assisted agricultural programme, and each of the beneficiaries will receive the sum of N2m, bring to a total of N3.4 billion.
Recall that at inception of his administration, Sanwo-Olu hinted that his government will be making Lagos State the Heaven it is meant to be through the the well thought out vision encapsulated in the Six Pillars of Development, with the acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S. This stands for Traffic Management & Transportation; Health & Environment; Education & Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy; Entertainment & Tourism and Security & Governance. These were carefully formulated to tackle the problems identified in sectors that are strategic to the growth of Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu in 100 days is one governor who made a promise, and kept a promise, doing it in style as he took steps to build on the foundations of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, his predecessors.
Kick starting his administration, Sanwo-Olu dished out an executive order declaring emergency on traffic management and transportation in the Lagos State. This singular act brought about reasonable relief to residents in their day to day activities. Not only that, it saw to the speedy rehabilitation of arterial roads, which has in essence reduced travel time and stress for motorists and commuters.
The governor’s Executive Order empowered members of the state’s traffic management agency to increase their shifts so as to control traffic till 11 pm daily. The move has brought an element of sanity on the roads after dark. Their salaries were also enhanced to undertake the great task in a rub my back, I rub your back arrangement. To whom much is given, much is being expected. The synergy has delivered great benefits.
Having a health background as he is married to a medical doctor, Sanwo-Olu has tackled the health sector with the agility of a horse within 100 days.
He has opened a 110-bed Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC), domiciled in a tastefully built four-storey edifice at Eti Osa Local Government. The whole essence is to prosecute the war against infant and maternal mortality. The end game lies in upgrading the facility to a general hospital. In addition, another 140-bed MCC had been completed in Alimosho area, and will be commissioned anytime soon, and will strengthen the capacity of the state in providing sound maternity care for residents.
For 31 whole days in August, the prolific governor embarked on a festival of surgeries, where a team of volunteer doctors, specialists in diverse areas of medical practice, and other medical practitioners performed thousands of surgeries, especially on children with deformed limbs. This was totally free. The project was christened “Healthy Bee Initiative” and about 25,000 residents benefited.
Again, the state-owned Health Insurance Scheme has received boost to extend its services to more than one million residents in order to give them affordable and quality healthcare services.
In education, Sanwo-Olu has built, in partnership with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Tabernacle of David Parish in Alaguntan village, Eti Osa, a beautiful school, containing 12 blocks of classrooms and other modern learning facilities.
In addition, plans have been concluded to recruit more than 10,000 teachers for various categories of education and learning, just as resources have been appropriated for the upgrade of public schools, as well as equip them with required materials to aid quality learning.
ENVIRONMENT AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
Before now, the environment state of Lagos has become a matter of utmost concern, as the state had became a massive heap of refuse, necessitating drastic measures. These measures included the immediate upgrade of Lagos’ waste management infrastructure fashioned to achieve efficient services in waste disposal towards realising a cleaner environment.
To this end, Sanwo-Olu, as a matter of urgency improved the capacity of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to remove heaps of waste that littered streets and highways. This policy saved the state from an imminent outbreak of epidemic occasioned by the indiscriminate dumping of refuse by residents following the disengagement of LAWMA from waste management duties. As a follow-up to environmental management, the government launched the Blue Box Initiative, designed to recyclable waste for the purpose of creating jobs and wealth.
As a chip of the old block, Sanwo-Olu had pledged not to discontinue inherited projects. Therefore, contractors handling construction of various infrastructure projects had return to site and complete them. He has also ensured that work resumed on the Mile 2/Badagry Expressway project, hopefully to be completed by December 2019, among others. This will further boost tourism and international business.
The administration of Sanwo-Olu has perfected plans to actualise the Smart City initiative, which is billed to hit airwaves in the coming weeks. The high points of the initiative is the deployment of metropolitan fibre optics across the State. The project, when launched would provide Internet infrastructure for the populace to boost aid e-commerce and tech innovation.
The administration has made arrangements with key power distribution firms to distribute 20,000 metres to residents to ease challenges of accessing power.
In his usual modest mien, the governor has has promised that “The coming days will be filled with good governance and more successes.”
Describing the 100 days of the governor, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said it is “excessively eventful”.
Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is widely regarded as a public sector expert in
human resources and policy formation a power sector consultant per excellence,
an astute banker, a compelling public speaker and an inspirational leader.
Apart from a robust public sector service experience which spanned over eight years during
which he was Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Honourable
Commissioner for Budget and Planning and Honourable Commissioner for
Establishments and Training, Lagos State, at different times, the very dynamic governor
also has an enviable background in the private sector and close to ten years of exemplary
banking experience during which he contributed immensely to the growth and
development of Lead Bank Plc, UBA, and First Atlantic Bank (now First City Monument
Bank) in various critical capacities.
He has distinguished himself as a boardroom guru and has since become a widely
recognised force in both the private and public sector, serving as Board member,
Department for International Development, DFID/DEEPEN Fund; Member of the Board
Audit Committee of Caverton Offshore Services Group, PLC and as Director, Light Level
Nigeria Limited, the foremost digital signage company in Nigeria.
A man of admirable social skills, who is generally believed is capable of achieving the greater Lagos initiative, Sanwo-Olu is happily married to Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and they are blessed with children.
100 Days of Coronavirus in Nigeria: Cross River Maintains Clean Slate
By Eric Elezuo
Today marks exactly 100 days since the incursion of the dreaded coronavirus disease into Nigeria. The advent of Coronavirus, nicknamed COVID-19, in Nigeria on February 27, 2020 took many by surprise, but to many others, it was just the consequence of weeks of official indecision. The disease finally entered through the airport via an index-Italian, whose name is still unknown.
COVID-19 was first discovered in the Wuhan Province of China, and made public on December 31, 2019. It has been reported that the origin story of coronavirus says that someone at the now world-famous Huanan seafood market in Wuhan was infected with a virus from an animal. All fingers have been pointed at pangolins; a scaly mammal that looks like an anteater, suggesting this animal was the staging post for the virus before it spread to humans.
The rest is still an undeveloped history, but the fact of the matter remains that the spreading from that first cluster in the capital of China’s Hubei province to a pandemic that has killed over 315,000 people so far, globally.
In Nigeria, after 100 days of the first infection, the spread of the novel Disease continues to rise as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal there are about 12, 000 confirmed cases. Presently, with the 300 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths recorded on June 5, 2020, the country seems far from flattening the curve.
The NCDC said, “On the 5th of June 2020, 328 new confirmed cases and 10 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
“No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.
“Till date, 11844 cases have been confirmed, 3696 cases have been discharged and 333 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The 328 new cases are reported from 14 states- Lagos (121), FCT (70), Bauchi (25), Rivers (18), Oyo (16), Kaduna (15), Gombe (14), Edo (13),Ogun (13), Jigawa (8), Enugu (6), Kano (5), Osun (2), Ondo (2).”
- Total Number of Cases – 11,844
- Total Number Discharged – 3,696
- Total Deaths – 333
- Total Tests Carried Out – 71,336±
The latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 5644, followed by Kano (975), Abuja at 862, Katsina (400), Edo (364), Borno (322), Kaduna (320), Oyo (334), Ogun (363), Rivers (308), Jigawa (282), Bauchi (281), Gombe (184), Kwara (127).
Delta State has recorded 116 cases, Sokoto (115), Plateau (113), Nasarawa (90), Ebonyi (80), Zamfara (76), Yobe (52), Osun (49) Imo (47), Akwa Ibom (45), Adamawa (42), Niger (41), Ondo (38), Kebbi (33), Bayelsa (30), Ekiti (25), Enugu (30), Taraba (18), Abia (15), Benue (13), Anambra (12), while Kogi state has recorded only 3 cases.
Of the COVID-19 related deaths so far recorded, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, late Mallam Abba Kyari, remained the highest official to bow to the disease. The likes Bauchi State government, Bala Mohammed, Kaduna State governor, Nasir, el-Rufai, Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, Chairman, Daar Communications, Raymond Dokpesi, and his family among others have remained some of the big shots that tested positive to the disease, but got ‘cured’.
While trying to contain disease in the last 100 days, President Muhammadu Buhari, among iterating the regular safety measures as authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT and Ogun State for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. The lockdown was renewed for another 14 days at the expiration on April 13, 2020.
On April 27, 2020, when the second 14 days expired, President Muhammadu Buhari took different measures. He declared an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9am. The movement restrictions was partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4.
By June 1, 2020, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Boss Mustapha, announced that business activities as well as places of worship would reopen, but at the instance of the state governments, who were expected to implement the guidelines following.
Consequently, Lagos, the epicentre of the disease, has declared Friday, June 19 for the reopening of religious centres with special emphasis to churches and mosques. The reopening is inundated with strict guidelines.
Analysts believe that Nigeria may have fared well in 100 days in comparison to most European countries whose blew out of proportion within weeks of their index case. Others have however, said the situation in Nigeria could be worse if adequate testing is being carried out.
So far, Cross Rivers State remains the only state in Nigeria yet to record a COVID-19 case 100 days after.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Now 11,844 with 328 New Infections
328 persons were tested for coronavirus in Nigeria in the past 24 hours.
This brings the total number of infections in the country to 11,844.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control made this known on Friday.
The 328 new fresh cases of #COVID19 are broken down as follows:
FCT – 70
Bauchi – 25
Rivers – 18
Oyo – 16
Kaduna – 15
Gombe – 14
Edo – 13
Ogun – 13
Jigawa – 8
Enugu – 6
Kano – 5
Osun – 2
Ondo – 2
Finally, AfDB Agrees for Independent Investigation of Adesina
The Bureau of the Board of Governors, Africa Development Bank Group has approved an independent investigation of the allegations against the President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina.
The decision, taken at the meeting of the Bureau Thursday regarding the whistle-blowers’ complaints against Mr Adesina, is in deference to the demand by the U.S. government that a fresh and in-depth investigation be conducted into the allegations against Mr Adesina using an independent investigator.
On May 5, the ethics committee of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano, said in its report that Mr Adesina was not guilty on all counts.
Mr Yano is a Japanese executive director charged with the responsibility of investigating allegations by some concerned employees against the Bank’s president.
The committee described the allegations that Mr Adesina violated the code of conduct of the institution as “spurious and unfounded”.
Regardless, the United States government expressed “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” and called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations.”
At the end of its meeting Thursday, the Bureau of Board of Governors issued a communique, agreeing with the U.S and authorizing an independent review of the ethic committee’s report.
The communique, signed by the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Boards of Governors, Niale Kaba, reads,
“The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.
“The Bureau also reiterates that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.
“However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.
“The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.
“The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.”