Gov. Babajide Sanwo Olu

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is gradually but surely writing his name in gold as an astute administrator and strategist

Adewale Ogunniran

History will be kind to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State for many reasons.

 In less than two years as governor of Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan and complex state, he has challenged conventions and realities. In fact, this unusual governor resonates daily in every part of Lagos due to his firm grip on government business. And one question that may be difficult to answer among his teeming admirers is: where exactly is his impact not felt?

Under Sanwo-Olu’s watch, Lagos has retained its shine and power as the Centre of Excellence. No one discusses growth and other indices of development at the state level today in Nigeria without drawing attention and inspiration from the extraordinary occurrences currently taking place in Lagos.

From excellent road network, inclusive government and a friendly business climate to qualitative education, exemplary road management, unmatched security network, tourism destination and preferred place for many people across age, culture, religion and sex, the governor’s handwork is visible and enduring.

And as he revolutionizes Lagos, he is also concerned about the people and the need to bring government closer to the people. This is why he has remained in touch with his constituents all over the state.

One significant thing under the Sanwo-Olu-led administration is the fact that he has taken Lagos’ greatness to new heights. Even as the world faces dire economic and health challenges, Lagos continues to thrive. Every day, people from different parts of Nigeria and even beyond, come to Lagos in search of their destinies. This would not have been possible without a caring government headed by an equally great man who truly cares.

At the beginning of this year, Emeka Oparah, communications consultant and Vice President, Corporate Communications and CSR at Airtel Nigeria announced Sanwo-Olu as Person of the Year 2020.

“I’m not frugal with praises when I am in the spirit, and I can assure you I am in the spirit today as I announce Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, as my Person of the Year 2020”, Oparah wrote.

According to Opara, “the 55-year-old unassuming and highly cerebral Governor of Lagos burst onto the crowded and tough political firmament of Lagos State as an underdog. He literally took Lagos by storm, however, beating the incumbent Governor in the highly controversial but keenly contested primaries and went ahead to beat his opponent, perennial candidate, so to say, Jimi Agbaje. And ever since he took over the mantle of leadership of “difficult” Lagos, he’s proven skeptics, including this writer, wrong. I dare say he’s taken Lagos to the next level, affirming the vision of the Centre of Excellence to become the epicenter of all that’s good and great in social and economic development”.

Like most Lagosians would do, Oparah also highlighted in his article, the new Lagos, the visionary driver, the possibilities, the realities, and a new dawn of hope inspired by the vision of one man. However, one thing that is clear and unambiguous about the Lagos governor is his unrivaled vision. And this he brought to government at a time Lagos needed revival and revitalization. Today, everyone sings his praised to high heavens for his courage and innovation.

But beyond his humility, Sanwo-Olu is also diligent. He took on the uncompleted projects of his predecessor in an unprecedented manner in Nigeria’s political leadership succession. He also showed leadership when Coronavirus took the world unawares last year in a most dramatic way. Like other great leaders, he will always be remembered for his good but particularly for drastically reducing the pain and suffering of many Lagosians especially as COVID-19 virus ravaged the world. And he made the difference with his highly successful tracing, testing and treating centres across the state that eventually turned the tide.

The Lagos governor was also spectacular in his handling of the EndSARS protest, a dissent by young people that seriously threatened Nigeria’s collective peace and existence. Sanwo-Olu did not only join the protesting youths by identifying with them, he also took their demands to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

Before his foray into politics and emergence as governor, Sanwo-Olu had distinguished himself in both the public and private sectors where his records still speaks for him. He was indeed, a colossus in the banking and adjunct sectors where he began his excellent career journey many years ago.

For those who know this visionary and consummate administrator and leader of men, service still remains a way of life despite his many achievements. Fortunately for him, he continues to live this life of service even in unusual times and seasons. And it is gratifying to note that Sanwo-Olu has promised to continue serving the people irrespective of the challenges today and in the years to come.  He is certainly a man of all seasons, not just a Person of the Year 2020.