By Nnamdi Odumody
Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the APC governorship candidate for Lagos gubernatorial election, has a vision for a greater Lagos. With rich experiences spanning the private sector in the banking industry and the public sector of Lagos where he has served in all the administrations since Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Special Adviser to Deputy Otunba Femi Pedro, Acting Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budgets, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Establishments Training and Pension, Managing Director Lagos State Property Development Corporation and Board Member Lagos State Security Trust Fund. Besides, he was responsible for the preparation of Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. Largely, his preparation for the job as Chief Executive of one of Africa’s largest economies is not in doubt.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s developmental agenda to take Lagos to the next level “Greater Lagos’’ is anchored on five pillars; ’’T.H.E.M.E’’:
- Traffic Management and Transportation
- Health and Environment
- Education and Technology
- Making Lagos A 21st Century Economy
- Entertainment and Tourism
Transportation and Traffic Management: Within 9 months of being elected into office, he wants to resolve some key gridlock points which are responsible for the daily traffic problems Lagos has come to be identified with, rehabilitate existing worn-out roads, encourage PPP (public private partnership) investments on roads and highways, connect more communities through link roads and bridges to relieve traffic on existing roads, utilize smart technology to optimize the transport network, and improve traffic safety.
Also, the candidate will leverage the Lagos Volunteer Corps to support traffic management while completing the Blue Rail Line for passenger operations by 2021, and the Red Rail Line in partnership with the Federal Government by 2022. He plans expansion of the water transport routes from 6 to 10 by 2021, scale passenger operations at Ijede, Ibeshe, Falomo, Ijegun Egba, Ipakodo, Osborne, Apapa and Badore jetties by 2020, and invest in water transport infrastructure in partnership with the private sector. He will extend the BRT network to include areas currently not captured in its routes.
In Healthcare, the Lagos Health Insurance Scheme will be expanded to cover 500,000 households (2.5million) enrolments within the first part of 2019, increase health spending from the current 8.86 percent to 15 percent of budget, create Healthcare Management System across medical centres, and expand the Lagos State Ambulance and Emergency Service coverage by increasing the number of ambulance points from 15 to 23. He plans to provide 10 new primary healthcare centres for riverine and other underserved areas, and ensure all 37 non-functional primary healthcare centres in the state are refurbished and equipped with modern facilities while leveraging data analytics for health data management including wearable devices for remote health status monitoring and diagnostics.
He has set a target for buying only clean natural gas, electric or hydrogen mass transit buses from 2019, establishing Clean Bus Corridors that will prioritize clean buses and incentivize clean fuel vehicles in specific areas of the state. To tackle the flooding problem, the linked 7 channels drainage system will be expanded and maintained to prevent flooding.
In Education, he plans to increase the Support Our School programme in partnership with the private sector by targeting 100 schools across all the 57 Local Council Development Areas while providing tax incentives for private sector organizations in supporting its technical and tertiary institutions. The candidate also plans to partner with the private sector to establish a special needs school in each senatorial district, leverage technology platforms to teach, access, test and reinforce learning in conjunction with the private sector and development partners, even as it strengthens STEM education in schools, by increasing the number of STEM teachers along with provision of adequate teaching materials for STEM.
To support the Lagos Technology ecosystem, Babajide Sanwo-Olu plans to facilitate the creation of tech hubs by converting unused government buildings across all the LGA’s|LCDA’s within two years of his administration, and collaborate with local, foreign experts, institutions and the Lagos Volunteer Corps to establish world-class training institutions in the tech areas.
He will create an Independent Power Plants for technology hubs in Lagos, establish an exchange program to match undergraduates in universities within the state with technology startups, to develop skills required by industry before they graduate, and through partnership with the private sector create additional 20 vocational skills training centres and certification programmes for the unemployed and underemployed youths.
To Make Lagos a 21st Century Economy, the following will be done:
- Local content in state projects will be promoted to grow 100 Innovation Driven Enterprises per annum
- Creation of at least 3 fully-equipped industrial hubs and makerspaces in all the 3 senatorial districts, leveraging unused government buildings and other infrastructure across the state
- Increase the capacity utilization to 85 percent of Lagos industrial parks over the next four years
- Commit 60 billion naira over a period of four years as capital to aid MSME|IDE(Innovation Driven Enterprises) operations and performances through various programmes
- Increase access to Lagos State Employment Trust Fund by 100 percent to facilitate job and wealth creation.
- To ensure energy which will fuel the 21st century economy, embedded power generation will be utilized across the state.
Finally as the Entertainment Capital of Nigeria, Babajide Sanwo-Olu will work with stakeholders to create a functional filmcity with an academy for skills training, collaborate with local and foreign experts to establish world-class training institutions for the creative arts industry. He will also support the private sector to locate State of The Art Film and Music Production studios in designated zones. He plans to brand Lagos as the home of entertainment in West Africa.
Update: Babajide has won his election; we hope to experience all these promises within 4 years.