In a statement made during the swearing-in ceremony of 37 new commissioners and special advisers in Ikeja, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State refuted claims of discord between the state government and the state House of Assembly.
Acknowledging the initial rejection of some nominees by the lawmakers, Governor Sanwo-Olu highlighted the awareness of lingering tensions. On August 23, the House of Assembly rejected 17 commissioner-nominees while confirming 22 others. Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, presiding over the session, noted the meticulous screening conducted by an ad-hoc committee led by Chief Whip Fatai Mojeed.
Subsequently, on September 7, two more commissioner-nominees were rejected by the lawmakers, although 15 out of 18 nominees in the second batch were confirmed.
Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasized that these rejections prompted him to submit a revised list of nominees for screening. Addressing any concerns of strife between the Executive and the Legislature, he firmly rejected such notions, underlining the importance of the Legislature’s oversight function.
He stated, “Let me go further to say that I am not unaware of the feelings in some quarters that the initial rejection of some nominees by the Lagos State House of Assembly, necessitating the submission of a revised list of nominees, signified a call to arms between the Executive and the Legislature. I reject such feelings in totality,” he said.
“Were the Executive designed to be omnipotent and omniscient, the very important oversight function of the Legislature will be needless.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu praised the state House of Assembly for their thorough work during the nominee screening process, which spanned approximately four weeks. He urged the newly appointed cabinet members to prioritize excellence and ensure their efforts consistently serve the interests of the people.
See the full speech below:
TEXT OF AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE, MR. BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU AT THE SWEARING IN CEREMONY FOR THE NEW LAGOS STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, HELD ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2023, AT THE ADEYEMI BERO AUDITORIUM, ALAUSA, IKEJA, LAGOS.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this historic occasion, the swearing-in of new Commissioners and Special Advisers to form the new, improved Executive Council of Lagos State. This occasion is historic because it is another milestone in our democratic odyssey, and a fulfillment of the provisions of our Constitution.
In a world troubled by instability and a rising suspicion of the value of democracy in some quarters, this event and the journey to get here demonstrates how well we are doing, and how well we have imbibed the tenets of democracy.
I congratulate our new Commissioners and Special Advisers, the men and women whose knowledge and experiences have lifted them to this lofty height. They have been carefully and painstakingly chosen. They are, by any measure, some of our best brains, not just in Lagos State, but right around the country. These are men and women that can and will hold their own anywhere in the world. They are emblems of what Lagos State is all about – a Centre of Excellence. Lagosians should therefore rejoice in their selection and be expectant of quality service and performance in the months and years ahead.
Earlier, I alluded to the painstaking effort at selecting the members of this Executive Council. The process worked in the very way that it was designed to, a collaborative effort between the Executive and Legislature to throw up the best hands that will serve the people of Lagos State.
Accordingly, I want to express my utmost gratitude to the Honourable Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Mudashiru Obasa; and to every member of the Lagos State House of Assembly. As representatives of our people in their various constituencies, they did the job required of them by our Constitution. This Executive Council is so much better for their efforts.
Let me go further to say that I am not unaware of the feelings in some quarters that the initial rejection of some nominees by the Lagos State House of Assembly, necessitating the submission of a revised list of nominees, signified a call to arms between the
Executive and the Legislature. I reject such feelings in totality.
Were the Executive designed to be omnipotent and omniscient, the very important oversight function of the Legislature will be needless.
Thankfully, our Constitution recognises that our people will be best served with a system of Checks and Balances that is led by independent bodies in each Arm of Government. This system demands collaboration, and a willingness to give and take without rancour. That is what the Executive and Legislature of Lagos State, in the past few weeks, have fully demonstrated in arriving at this event today. Once again, I thank the Right Honourable Speaker and all members of the Lagos State House of Assembly for their diligence, cooperation and contribution.
To the new members of the Executive Council, this spirit of cooperation and collaboration with the Lagos State House of Assembly is one that you must continue to build on. The people of Lagos State demand and expect the best.
Achieving this requires every one of you to reach out, to engage and to collaborate. It requires you to have the humility to listen and to learn; the humility to consult widely and to consider wellmeaning advice; and the humility to recognise that we all win or lose together. I demand and expect no less from you all.
The task of this new Cabinet is clear. It is to build on the successes of our Administration’s first 4 years in office. It is to take our people closer and closer to our dream of a Greater Lagos. As fate will have it, we are also marking the First 100 Days of our Administration’s Second Term in Office. So today is as good a time as any to review the past, and to set our sights on the glorious future ahead of us.
Our First Term Governance Agenda, appropriately termed T.H.E.M.E.S, delivered much. Despite the headwinds from COVID-19 and the EndSARS crisis, both of which we weathered with acknowledged acclaim, we pursued and delivered enduring developmental legacies for our people.
Under the Transportation and Traffic Management pillar, we set in motion the building of a Multimodal Transportation System for our beloved State. We made lots of investments in road, rail and waterways. We embarked on the reconstruction and expansion of the Badagry Expressway to 10 Lanes; the AgricIsawo Road in Okorodu; the Bola Ahmed Tinubu – Igbogbo Road in Baiyeku; the Regional Road from BGC to Lekki Phase; and the construction of the Opebi-Ojota link bridge.
All will be prioritised for completion in our second term. To ameliorate the traffic situation in the metropolis, we implemented a Traffic Management Intervention Plan that saw the redesign of several traffic hotspots. This has led to an 86% reduction in gridlock in these areas. In the area of Mass Transit, we expanded the Rapid Bus System and launched the Last Mile Bus Service to complement it. In addition, we introduced LAGRIDE, a new Taxi services to add to the growing number of transportation options for our people.
For Health and Environment, apart from our resounding and globally celebrated success in the management of COVID-19, we embarked on and built new world class Mother and Child Centres (MCC) in Badagry, Epe,and Ajah; and refurbished the General Hospitals in Gbagada, Epe, Badagry, Isolo and Lagos Island. We also introduced Tele-medicine into our Health management system, with the launch of the IleraEko app.
As with many sectors of our national life, Lagos State has always set the pace in Education and Technology. This was no less so in our first term, as we established 2 new universities (the Lagos State University of Science and Technology, and the
Lagos State University of Education). This makes us the only State with 3 State owned universities in the country. The primary and secondary levels also saw us investing in more than 1,000 projects to support our young leaners and their teachers.
This support ranged from the construction and furnishing of new buildings to the re-equipping of various school libraries. Our several investments in Technology has seen our State become a favourite destination of Tech investors from around the world and the Number 1 Start-up Capital in Africa.
To achieve this, we invested in a MetroFibre Project that deployed over 2,900km fibre-optic cable across our State. This made for better connectivity, thus driving innovation and productivity. In addition, our “Startup Lagos” information portal that brought together more 3000 Startups to the easy attention of global investors pushed up the ante in the sector.
Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy was also one of our key focus areas. Towards this end, we set up various Funds to support the critical Small and Medium Scale businesses that will be the drivers of our economy. These include the Lagos Intervention Fund, the Education Fund, the Lagos Recovery Fund, and the Agric Value Chain Fund. Through these Funds, over N8 Billion were disbursed in supporting, training and equipping more than 10,000 businesses, schools and entrepreneurs in the State. In the area of Housing, another critical aspect of development, we have built over 3,400 Housing Units in different parts of the State and made these available for our people at highly subsided rates.
The Creative Economy, anchored on Entertainment and Tourism, also featured prominently in our first term. We midwifed the successful recovery of the Tourism industry that was badly affected by COVID-19 through our N1B financial support to operators in the sector.
We also launched and commenced the implementation of a 20 Year Master Plan that will make our State a Top 5 Tourist destination in Africa. The new John Randle Centre, already attracting attention on a global scale, stands as evidence of our efforts to promote Tourism in Lagos.
In Entertainment, we partnered with key players including the Del York Creative Academy, Ebonylife, Ogidi Youths and Africa Movie Academy. All have trained more than 20,000 of our creative youths in movie making and editing, cinematography, and other creative arts.
Indeed, it is often said that Development rests on the tripod of Security, Governance and Finance. Recognising this, we strengthened our partnership with the Nigeria Police and other law enforcement agencies by donating 1000s of equipment including patrol vehicles, motorcycles and communication gadgets, and buildings.
We also commissioned and commenced the utilisation of the Lagos State Emergency Security Regional Centre in Epe which now serves as the command-and-control base for all our efforts at keeping Lagos safe and secure. The quick dispensation of justice through the E-Law Platform that we launched is also one of the highlights of our efforts at Governance.
The achievements in our First Term owed a lot to the quality and calibre of the men and women in that Cabinet. They worked relentlessly and assiduously, and Lagos State is the better for it. I am grateful to them for their sterling efforts in the service of our people. Happily, some members of that team are part of the new one, thus ensuring a measure of continuity in our government.
Over the past 100 Days since we began our Second Term, a lot more has happened. We started by announcing the renaming of our Governance Agenda to T.H.E.M.E.S+. This was in recognition of the necessity of incorporating Social Inclusion, Gender Equality and Youth Development into all our programmes. We will be laser focused on building a better and more equitable society. No one and no sector will be left behind in our journey to building a Greater Lagos.
Beyond the broad T.H.E.M.E.S+ agenda, our Second Term will be focused on building and completing enduring legacy projects in Transportation, Health and Agriculture that will open up more economic and developmental opportunities for the citizens of our great State.
Already, in just the first 100 Days, we have witnessed the commencement of operations of the Blue Line Rail Service. What a joy it has been for me, and I am sure for millions of our people, to watch as Lagos finally joined the list of cities around the world with a modern and functional metro rail system. The journey to make this happen was long and tough. But we proved ourselves to be more durable and tougher.
The smiles on the faces of commuters already using the Blue Line will soon be replicated along the Agbado to Marina corridor where we are putting finishing touches to the completion of the Red Line Rail Service. This route will encompass 13 Stations in iconic parts of Lagos like Iju, Agege, Ikeja, Oshodi, Mushin,
Yaba, Ebute Meta and Ebute Ero.
Still on Rail, we shall commence the extension of the Blue Line from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko. This will expand coverage of the service to millions more of our people. When completed and fully operational, the extended Blue Line and the Red Line will jointly serve over one and half million commuters daily. As many experts have stated, the benefits of this to our economy will be massive. More importantly, the improvement in the quality of life of our people will be palpable.
The giant strides we are making with Rail will be complemented by our efforts on Road infrastructure. To this end, we will focus on completing Phase 1 of the 4th Mainland Bridge. This Bridge, which will link Ikorodu, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki axes of our State, will further open up the eastern corridor of Lagos, and catalyse economic growth and development for the millions of Lagosians living and working in that area.
Alongside the 4th Mainland Bridge is the Omu Creek Project. This will link the Lekki-Epe Expressway (the redevelopment of which is almost completed) to the Ito Omu area of Lagos. When completed, expect the rise of new towns that will help to decongest our metropolis, create massive job opportunities for the indigenous people of the area, and facilitate private investments in multiple sectors. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, a Greater Lagos is coming to Ito Omu!
As we raise the bar on Rail and Road transportation, and with the investments we have already made on Waterways transport in our first term, we will also be focused on the completion of the first phase of the Lekki International Airport. Designed to worldclass standards and with the facilities to handle large, bodied aircrafts like the Airbus A380, it will have the capacity to handle 5 million passengers annually.
For years, Lagos has been crying out for an international airport that will unlock the great economic opportunities in air travel, drive tourism to our State, provide comfort to travellers, and create jobs for our people. We are poised to finally meet this need. When operational, our Multimodal Transport System, comprising all four of Road, Rail, Water and Air transportation, would have been fully consummated and another important feather added to our Greater Lagos cap.
In addition to the Transportation projects that we have coming up, the Health sector will also enjoy a lot of attention. In our first 100 days, we set the ball rolling by unbundling the Lagos State Ministry of Health into 6 Primary Health Care Districts, each with a Permanent Secretary to provide administrative leadership. We believe that this will reposition the healthcare delivery services to our people, ensure that we are within reach of more people in fulfilment of our T.H.E.M.E.S+ Agenda to leave no one behind, and encourage greater professionalism amongst the staff.
We will also be adding to the growing Healthcare infrastructure in Lagos State. Earlier, I listed the MCC that we built and the hospitals we refurbished. Each has a capacity of more than 100 Beds. Others are on the way. One of these is the New Massey Children Hospital in Lagos Island. This famous hospital has served Lagos for more than a century, and we are now close to completing its remodelling to meet the demands of our time.
Food security for our people is another critical focus area for us this term. As we all know, Lagos “imports” most of the food that we consume. Due to the lack of appropriate storage facilities, up to 40% of the agriculture products either cultivated in Lagos or imported from other states end up wasted.
We are poised to end this monumental waste when the Lagos
Food Security and Central Logistics Park is completed in KetuEreyun, near Epe, by 2024. This will cut down if not eliminate scarcity of perishable food, improve access for processing and packaging, and ensure the application of quality standards. Above all, it will facilitate higher revenue for our teeming farming population.
I have highlighted the Big Ticket items in 3 pillars of our T.H.E.M.E.S+ agenda for our second term. But make no mistake, every one of the 6-Plus pillars will enjoy the maximum attention possible from this Government. As we demonstrated in our first term, this Administration is much more than words and plans. We back each of our plan with the requisite action, and we do not rest until what we promise to our people is delivered.
Bringing all of these and more to life will require lots of financial investments and commitments. Accordingly, we have engaged and continue to engage with development and financial partners within and outside the country. As we have shown over the years, Lagos is a bankable State and partnering with us has always been a win-win proposition. With support from them and the teeming masses of our people, a Greater Lagos is surely emerging.
As we make these great investments in infrastructure and other public assets, it has become necessary to charge every resident of Lagos about their maintenance and protection. We cannot continue to invest so much and watch as citizens misuse and destroy them. In this second term of ours, expect to see more stringent enforcement of the laws that protect our environment and the use of public assets. For the avoidance of doubt, we shall operate a Zero Tolerance policy and all relevant agencies of your Government have been charged to see this through. Let us, one and all, protect what is ours!
Let me take a moment to celebrate one of our major success stories – the emergency services. One of the challenges of big city-states like ours is the management of emergencies, from vehicular accidents to collapsed buildings to flooding and so much more.
We have shown, time and again, that we are up to the task. I thank the men and women who, as First Responders, risk so much to quickly bring succour to our fellow residents and ensure quick return to normalcy. Lagos is grateful for your sacrifices.
At this junction, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our revered traditional leaders across the State. Your support since I came into office has been critical to the progress that we have made so far. Your wise counsel has been of great value. Your determination to see us succeed, often helping us to smoothen rough paths especially with our major projects, has been a blessing to our Administration. I am truly grateful.
Immense gratitude also goes to our development partners, the civil society and the organised private sector. In your various roles, you help to oil the engine of our progress and development. You have demonstrated, in words and in deeds, that you are fully invested in our dream of a Greater Lagos. This Administration is committed to the work we do together, and I look forward to us achieving so much more for our people.
Finally, to the new members of the Executive Council. The expectations of our people have never been higher than they are right now. Doing your best to meet them is therefore not an option. It is the least you will be expected to do. Lagos is the Centre of Excellence; your work must be excellent in every ramification.
Working together, carrying the people along, keeping your feet on the ground, and ensuring that every decision you take has the best interest of our people at the heart of it, are the surest ways to succeed. May God guide you in the effective discharge of your onerous responsibilities.
God Bless Lagos State State!
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu
Executive Governor, Lagos State
September 13, 2023