There is more progress to come as Lagos State steadily journeys into the unfolding dispensation, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu reassured Lagosians as he took the oath to kick off his second term, on Monday.
The morning downpour could not water down the Governor’s will and determination to renew his pledge to Lagos citizens before whom he stood at the amphitheatre of Tafawa Balewa Square, where the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, administered the oath on him.
Sanwo-Olu was sworn in at exactly 11:50 am, after which the Governor stepped forward to give a thorough account of stewardship of his first term. Enumerating transformations recorded by the State since 2019 under his leadership, the Governor noted that Lagos had lived up to its billing as the Center of Excellence. The State, he said, became the first sub-national to deliver an intracity rail network from its balance sheet to aid mass mobility in the mega city.
This, the Governor said, has further advanced the State’s development course, just as the completion of Lekki Deep Seaport has enhanced socio-economic growth and turned the State into a new logistics hub of West Africa. He said the delivery of the largest rice mill in Imota by his administration was a game changer that would make Lagos a key player in the food production chain on the continent.
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos had remained on the track of sustenance and prosperity, pointing out that his Government’s financial engineering led to the upgrade of the State to AAA(nga) status in financial sustainability and resilience by Fitch International – a feat unprecedented in the State’s annals.
The Governor, sharing his catalogue of achievements, also listed other notable progress made by Lagos, especially in expanding infrastructure to enhance the intermodal transport system, healthcare services, education, aesthetic environment, social interventions and other areas across his administration’s development agenda.
“In my first term, we set the stage for transformative change. We confronted significant challenges, from improving our infrastructure to ensuring adequate social services, from grappling with economic downturns to navigating a global pandemic. Yet, we never faltered. Our challenges became stepping-stones and our trials, the foundation of our resilience,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Despite fulfilling some of his pledges, the Governor said there would be much more to be accomplished in the coming days as his final term begins. He said the swearing-in offered him an opportunity to acknowledge the expectations of the electorate, and to rededicate his administration towards meeting and surpassing the people’s expectations.
Sanwo-Olu said his vision was beyond the provision of physical infrastructure and working to attain good economic indicators for the State; he said he would govern to make Lagos a beacon of cultural vibrancy, intellectual prowess, and humanistic values.
The Governor, in his inauguration address, expanded the scope of his administration’s governing T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda. He announced three additional areas of focus in which the State Government would intensify intervention in the next four years, including Social Inclusion, Gender Equality and Youth.
He said: “That tradition of progressive governance, of enlightened leadership, has consistently yielded fruit for us, and set Lagos up as a model State. We have lived up to our designation as Centre of Excellence, and a day like this is an opportunity to celebrate. Our people still expect a lot more from us in several areas; today is another opportunity to acknowledge our citizens’ expectations and to rededicate ourselves to meeting and surpassing those expectations. I pledge, as your Governor, to unleash greater energy in the service of Lagos. I will work tirelessly for the well-being of every Lagosian and will strive for a Lagos that we can all be proud of.
“It is in line with our resolve, I am pleased to announce that we are taking our governing agenda to the next level in this second term. Henceforth, it will be known as ‘T.H.E.M.E.S Plus’, representing the incorporation of an intensified focus on Social Inclusion, Gender Equality and Youth. We are strengthening and reinforcing our governance agenda in order not to leave anyone behind on account of their social status, gender or young age; we will design all our policies and programmes to ensure that everyone is carried along and catered to. This is our solemn promise to you.”
Sanwo-Olu said his second term would be more rewarding for the residents, as the State would witness consolidation of his reforms and governance at higher levels. In the coming weeks, the Governor will be delivering another intracity rail network, Red Line Rail, which is at the completion stage. Lagos will also be witnessing the development of a new airport in Ibeju-Lekki, Deep Seaport in Badagry and Fourth Mainland Bridge in addition to other capital projects in the pipeline.
The task ahead, the Governor said, would be a collective responsibility of the Government and people, noting that he would always seek partnership with the citizens in line with his administration’s mantra. He assured that his administration would continue to foster a culture of transparency, accountability and participatory governance.
“The greatness and strength of Lagos lie in the collective spirit of our people; whether those paying taxes, or those treating public property with care and respect, or those speaking about something when they see something going wrong or someone breaking the law. For us as a government, I would be the first to acknowledge our side of this social contract. I will not let you down,” the Governor said.
Sanwo-Olu eulogised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for laying the foundation for the development of Lagos, which, he said, made it easy for the succeeding administrations to strengthen transformational governance and keep the State on the path of progress.
The Governor also thanked the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari for dedicating kindness and support for Lagos, which enabled his administration to record many successes in the last four years.
Sanwo-Olu said he was ready to continue to offer transformational leadership to the State in collaboration with his Deputy, Dr Drfemi Hamzat, whom he described as a “loyal friend, partner-in-progress”. He promised Lagos would remain a city united by its diversity, while pledging to work till his last days in creating a better future for the citizens.
He said: “At this moment of our history, it has fallen upon me to steer the ship and to move us closer than ever to the Greater Lagos of our dreams. As I promised four years ago, the glitz of office will not change my personality and I will not try to become something I am not. I have strived to serve excellently, with humility, compassion, with a listening ear, bending where necessary to demonstrate that people’s welfare is at the centre of our actions.
“I am sending a reminder to Lagosians that this land belongs to all of us, and all of us who call it home must partake in its goodness. Regardless of what language we speak, where we trace our ancestry to, where in Lagos we live, or what religion we profess; regardless of age or gender or political party, and regardless of how long we have called this land home; we are all united by something deep and immutable, which is our aspirations to make tomorrow better than today for us and our children.”
Thousands of residents across the State, clad in colourful attires, defied the rains to witness the historic event held at Onikan. The inauguration was well-attended by members of the corporate sector and diplomatic community.