Sanwo-Olu’s One Year in Office Showcases Compassionate Leadership through People-Oriented Policies in Lagos

By Temitope Ogunbanke

Despite the economic challenges in Nigeria, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has  emerged as a beacon of hope and change through a series of innovative and compassionate policies put in place by his administration. In the last one year, the Governor has introduced measures designed not only to alleviate immediate hardships but also to build a foundation for long-term resilience and prosperity in the state.

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (second right) checking some of the medical drugs, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi (right) and the Special Adviser on Health, Mrs. Kemi Ogunyemi (third right) during the presentation of the Eko Cares Initiatives (an initiative to ease the economic hardship on Lagosians), at the Sports Ground of Lagos House, Ikeja, on Wednesday, 24 April 2024.

Transportation Relief in Response to Fuel Subsidy Removal

The removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government has caused significant financial strain for many Lagos residents. Recognizing this, Governor Sanwo-Olu swiftly implemented a 50 percent fare reduction across state-owned public transportation services. Starting from August 2, 2023, commuters using BRT buses and Lagos Ferry Services enjoyed this significant fare reduction for several months, easing their daily transportation costs.

Moreover, the informal transport sector, which includes commercial drivers, also received support from the state government. These operators reduced their fares by 25 percent, contributing to the overall effort to make transportation more affordable. The Governor’s deployment of new high-capacity buses further improved the efficiency of public transportation for civil servants.

Advancements in Healthcare Accessibility

In the healthcare sector, the Sanwo-Olu administration has made remarkable strides. One of the standout initiatives is the introduction of free antenatal care and child delivery services, including cesarean sections, for expectant mothers in Lagos State health facilities. This policy has not only provided much-needed relief to families but has also increased access to quality healthcare.

Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (sixth right), Secretary to the State Government, Barr Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin (fifth right); member of the State House of Assembly, Hon Kehinde Joseph (third right); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Adetokunbo Emokpae and others, during the official flag off of the Lagos State Government Food Bank Programme, as part of the palliative measures to mitigate the effect of fuel subsidy removal, at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Sunday, 03 September, 2023.

For instance, Mrs. Eniola Samuel, a beneficiary of the free child delivery service, praised the quality of care she received at the General Hospital, Isolo. She highlighted how this initiative saved her life during a complicated childbirth, underscoring the critical impact of the Governor’s healthcare policies.

Comprehensive Food Security Measures

To address food insecurity and the rising cost of living, Governor Sanwo-Olu launched several initiatives aimed at ensuring that no Lagosian goes hungry. On September 3, 2023, he flagged off the distribution of food palliatives to vulnerable households. Through the Lagos Food Bank programme, 500,000 households received essential food items, helping them navigate the economic challenges posed by rising prices.

L-R: Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the unveiling of plaque to commission the mid-level Food Agro Hub in Idi-Oro, Mushin, on Sunday, 17 December 2023

This initiative was not just about immediate relief; it also supported over 2,500 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) involved in food aggregation, packaging, and logistics, indirectly impacting more than 25,000 employees. The Governor’s holistic approach to food security included the ‘Ounje Eko’ initiative, launched in March 2024, which allowed residents to purchase foodstuffs at a 25 percent discount for nearly two months.

Financial Support for Market Traders

In a significant show of support for small-scale traders, Governor Sanwo-Olu launched the “Lagos Market Trader Money” initiative on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024. This financial intervention scheme distributed N750 million to 15,000 beneficiaries, providing each trader with N50,000 to bolster their businesses. This initiative not only stimulated economic activities in various food markets but also aimed to transform food systems in Lagos State.

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (sixth left); his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat (middle);Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya (sixth right); Special Adviser on Agriculture, Dr. Rotimi Fashola (left); ALGON President, Hon. Kolade Alabi (second left); Mrs. Joe Okei-Odumakin (fifth left) and other members of the Lagos State Special Dispensation Palliative Advisory Committee, during the presentation of the Eko Cares Initiatives (an initiative to ease the economic hardship on Lagosians), at the Sports Ground of Lagos House, Ikeja, on Wednesday, 24 April 2024.

Eko Cares Initiative

On April 24, 2024, Governor Sanwo-Olu further demonstrated his commitment to the welfare of Lagos residents by launching the “Eko Cares” initiative. This social intervention programme targeted 500,000 households across the state, providing them with essential foodstuffs to mitigate the impact of economic hardship. The initiative was overseen by a non-partisan Special Dispensation Advisory Council, ensuring broad-based support and effective distribution.

Wage Increases and Infrastructure Development

In addition to these targeted interventions, Governor Sanwo-Olu has been paying a N35,000 wage award to civil servants, supplementing their salaries and statutory allowances. This financial support aims to help civil servants cope with the rising cost of living.

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, rising from the State’s Security Council meeting held on Monday, 31 July 2023 in Alausa, announced a 50 per cent fare reduction across the State-owned public transportation services. With him (l-r): Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga; OA Abu of the Nigerian Air Force, Lagos Command; Director, Department of State Services (DSS) Lagos, Sheu Muhammad Wasiri; Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola; Commander, 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, Brigadier General Adegoke Adetuyi; Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, Mr Idowu Owohunwa; Secretary to the State Government, Barr Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin and the Chief of Staff, Mr Tayo Ayinde.

The Governor’s administration has also focused on delivering critical infrastructure projects across Lagos State. These projects aim to improve the quality of life for all residents, demonstrating the Governor’s dedication to holistic and sustainable development.

Positive Community Feedback

The impact of these initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive. Residents have expressed their gratitude for the Governor’s empathy and proactive measures. The consistent feedback highlights Governor Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to fulfilling his promises and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in the state.

Observers say Governor Sanwo-Olu’s leadership over the past year has demonstrated that even in the face of economic adversity, thoughtful and compassionate governance can make a significant difference as his policies have not only provided immediate relief but also laid the foundation for a more resilient and prosperous Lagos.

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