Features Write-Ups

SANWO-OLU AND THE POWER OF FOCUS- Tayo Ogunbiyi

I cannot but marvel at the single-mindedness that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has demonstrated toward his commitment to his administration’s ‘Greater Lagos’  vision.

Here is a governor that has had to contend with scores of challenges that are enough to derail a less-attentive personality.  Recently, as I watched him speak enthusiastically on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ about what his government is doing to improve intermodal transportation in the State, I pondered on what really drives the man Sanwo-Olu.

Well, what I think is going on well for the governor of Lagos is his ability to consistently fix his eyes on the goalpost, irrespective of daunting disruptions.

Sanwo-Olu is, no doubt, a good study in leadership and the power of focus. One of the mysteries of life that is hidden to many people is the power of focus. Focus is what differentiates a successful man from a failure.

Focus involves concentrating on one’s goal without giving in to distraction. Distraction is an enemy of focus. Focus means not having divided attention. It means not concentrating on obstacles but believing that obstacles are surmountable and success is possible.   

Anyone desirous of success in any area of life cannot afford to concentrate on distractions. Once you have a goal and you set your mind on achieving it, there will be people who will do their best to confuse and discourage you. They will attack you and oppose you if you go on with your vision. Certain circumstances and situations may also arise to test how focused you are. But, if you do not take your eyes off your target, you would eventually achieve the goal.

That, indeed, is the story of governor Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State. Or else, how do you explain his successes, thus far, in-spite of intimidating challenges? Here is a governor that has completed and commissioned 14 housing schemes within 24 months. Here is a governor that has rehabilitated and developed over 280 roads across the State.

In the education sector, 1,097 projects are ongoing in various parts of the state. Recently, the governor commissioned four schools on the same day in different areas of the metropolis. Over 500 new classrooms have been improved, while over 2000 hostel accommodations have been constructed in boarding schools. Over 100,000 new benches and tables have been handed over to public schools. At the moment, three brand new schools are being built in Elemoro.

To beef up teaching personnel, about 1,500 new teachers were recruited, while over 15,000 others were trained through the Eko Excel programme on 21st century modes of teaching and learning. The government is working on using technology as a strong enabler for the public schools.

Over 80 schools are to benefit from ongoing 3000km PPP metropolitan fiber optics grid being planted across the state. Very soon, 100 fibers will be available to enhance internet capability. The optic fibers would go round all schools, hospitals and public buildings across the state. This will make the internet and data available.

Public health is equally not being left out in the ‘Greater Lagos’ train. Presently, about six secondary health facilities are being built, while four Mother and Child Centres (MCCs) have been delivered in Badagry, Igando, Eti-Osa and Epe. Also, a brand new 500-bed capacity Mental Wellness Rehabilitation Hospital is being built in Ketu Ejirin, while the construction of the biggest Children Hospital in Africa, the Massey Street’s Hospital, is also on course.  Isolo, Ebute-Meta, Harvey Road and Epe General Hospitals are equally undergoing extensive renovation concurrently.

As a forward looking leader, Sanwo-Olu is firmly focused on the future. Hence, he is working on the realization of an audacious intermodal transportation plan. The desire of his government to provide Lagosians with an efficient and cost-effective intermodal transportation system is about to become a reality. 

The two new high-speed trains purchased by the government will be on track by the fourth quarter of this year. For a long time, rail transportation was an exclusive preserve of the Federal Government. However, current realities show that the benefits of rail transportation need to be greatly exploited for States with high commuter ratios such as Lagos.

When it becomes fully operational, the Light Rail will transport over 400,000 passengers per day and reduce vehicular traffic along East-West Okokomaiko-Mile 2-Orile-CMS routes by about 30 percent.

Water transportation will equally receive a boost in 2022 as the government is set to commission over five new jetties. Equally, the government is set to continue from where it stopped last year in respect of provision of housing.

The government is equally developing water transportation as dredging of new routes on the waterways have continued, while 17 stations and small terminals are being built.

For an ever-growing metropolis of Lagos’ status, public transportation could only become efficient and seamless with an effective intermodal system.

Intermodal transport pertains to the availability of more than one form of transportation such as road, rail, air and water on a single journey. It centers on the movements of passengers or freight from one mode of transport to another, commonly taking place at a terminal specifically designed for such a purpose.

In the area of road infrastructure, some critical infrastructure renewal projects are equally slated for completion this year.

These include the 18.5km Eleko-Epe T-junction Road, Agric-Isawo-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, Bola Ahmed Tinubu-Igbe Road, Ikorodu, Ogolonto-Ebute Ipakodo (Oba Sekumade) Road in Ikorodu, the 10km Lekki Regional Road, the section of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway and the flyover at Ikeja.

On the Lekki axis, the Sanwo-Olu administration has also slated for this year the commencement of the Lekki-Epe coastal road, which when completed, is expected to ease traffic along the Lekki-Ajah-Epe axis of the State.

Hope is equally rising for the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge. Billed to be the longest bridge in Africa, the 38km long Fourth Mainland Bridge, is to comprise eight interchanges aimed at facilitating effective interconnectivity in different parts of the State.

Plans have also reached an advanced stage toward the construction of a new Infectious Disease Hospital at Yaba as well as the biggest Infectious Disease Research Centre in Africa.  

From all indications and based on the fact that the Lagos helmsman will never give in to distractions, great things are ahead for Lagos State in 2022.  In the words of the governor, the year would be a season of consolidation.

Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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