With just a few days to the Saturday, March 9 gubernatorial election, Mr Babajde Sanwo-Olu, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Lagos State has won the endorsement of virtually all the critical stakeholders within the state of aquatic splendor.
The endorsements and adoptions are not coming on a platter of gold. They are rewards of sleepless nights and long hours of meetings, engagements and drawing of blueprints during the days.
Everywhere he goes and every group he meets, Sanwo-Olu’s message is constant: “We are poised to take Lagos to greater heights. We are men with long-standing history of hard work and positive results. Join us let us continue to make history.”
In winning the endorsements, he is being ably supported by his running mate, Dr Kadiri Hamzat, a long standing friend of his and fellow cerebral workaholic . So perfect is the Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat joint ticket that it is being dubbed ‘a relationship made in heaven.’
Complimenting the ticket bearers is Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu (nee Carrena) wife of the gubernatorial candidate who has deployed her contacts and expertise in the medical field to organize free medical outreach programs across the state to further endear her husband to the voting public.
Tagged Sanwo-Olu Cares, the Medical Outreach Program which has been taken to all the 20 Local Government areas of the state entails Free Medical Consultation, Free Dental Check-up, Free Eye Test and Glasses, Hospital Referral for Surgical Cases, Free Medical Supplies and Free Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening.
Members of Medilag 90 class of Sanwo-Olu’s wife are also not left out.
They are standing by Mr. Sanwo-Olu and his wife with provision of campaign materials and studio production of adverts and jingles. Foremost among them are Dr Dele Babade, based in Nigeria; Dr Yomi Oyekanmi in South Africa, Yisa Sunmonu in USA, as well as Kola Orundami, Fola and Wole all based in Australia.
Dr (Mrs.) Sanwo-Olu has also with Mrs. Hamzat, wife of the gubernatorial running mate, been busy engaging various women groups cutting across religious, ethnic, professional and social strata on why they should vote Sanwo-Olu as the next governor of Lagos State.
*R-L: Dr (Mrs) Sanwo-Olu, Mr. Sanwo-Olu, Mrs. Hamzat and Dr Hamzat*
All the aforementioned efforts are enjoying the massive backup of the powerful APC structures in Lagos State and at the National level as represented by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National leader of the party and the Vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
*L-R: Fashola, Osinbajo, Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Ambode and others at Tinubu’s residence*
The expansive Lagos residence of Asiwaju Tinubu for example has become a major coordinating centre where Tinubu, Osinbajo and their lieutenants such as Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola former governor of Lagos State and Minister of Power and Housing; Dr Muiz Banire former National Legal Adviser of APC and Sanwo-Olu’s former colleagues in the Lagos State Executive Council; Mr. Adeola Rahman Ipaye, Deputy Chief of Staff at The Presidency and a host of others meet regularly to design for strategy and tactics towards ensuring victory for Sanwo-Olu at the polls.
*L-R: Banire, Fashola, Osinbajo, Ambode, Sanwo-Olu and Ipaye at a strategic meeting*
The Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is not left out as he has shed his initial objection to the emergence of Sanwo-Olu as the gubernatorial standard of the APC in the state and has become a chief promoter of the candidature.
The results have been overwhelming in breaking old barriers and consolidating old ties and previous gains.
One of the former was the Sunday, March 3rd adoption by the Ohaneze Ndigbo in Lagos of Sanwo-Olu as their preferred candidate.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its gubernatorial candidate in the state, Mr Jimi Agbaje have also exploited the mutual rivalry between the Igbo and Yoruba’s in Lagos by painting the APC as anti-Igbo in order to win their support and the Igbo’s have always fallen for this.
The Igbo apex body, Ohaneze, however in dumping Agbaje said they have appraised results of the last Presidential and National Assembly elections with regard to the state and resolved that the interests of the Ndigbo are now better served by voting Sanwo-Olu and the APC.
*L-R: Igbokwe, Sanwo-Olu (3rd left), Hamzat and others during the endorsement by Ohaneze*
They said they have also done an audit of candidates running for the coveted position and have come to the realization that Sanwo-Olu is the best man for the job.
President of Ohanaeze Lagos, Chief Solomon Ogbonna, said Igbo in Lagos decided to vote the APC candidate because “he is a leader that will be there for us and he is a man we can trust.
“Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the best thing that can happen to the Igbo in Lagos; he is a God sent to the Igbo. We must not waste this opportunity. That is why we must come out en mass on Saturday, March 9 and vote for Babajide Sanwo-Olu.”
Ogbonna while regretting the harassment of Igbo traders in parts of Lagos after the presidential election , urged them to be more united and show love and concern to the plights of one another as it is only through love and unity they can be protected.
Ohanaeze demanded “assurances and guarantees” from Sanwo-Olu that there would not be a repeat attack on Igbo businesses after the governorship election.
Responding, Sanwo-Olu said the governorship election is about the future of Lagos State and those sowing seeds of ethnicity to divide the people.
“The election is not about us, it is about the future and the people that want to use ethnicity to divide us. We must not allow events of one day to determine our future.”
Sanwo-Olu also promised to run an all-inclusive government that will cater for all.
“From day one, we said it that our government will be all-inclusive. We are about development. The assurance I give you is that this election is about the future. The election will come and go but our lives will continue. My government will not be looking at what part of the world you are from, it will be about the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” he said.
Chief Joe Igbokwe, APC Publicity Secretary in Lagos and veteran of pro-democracy struggles who has been a discipline of Tinubu for decades reportedly played a major role in rallying his fellow Igbos behind Sanwo-Olu.
Igbokwe at the program said a lot is at stake in Lagos and that the Igbo will not play with what they have.
“We don’t have a quarter of the investments we have in Lagos back at home, so we must protect it. Come Saturday we must come out and vote Sanwo-Olu, and his running mate, Obafemi Hamzat; they have what it takes,” Igbokwe said.
*Sanwo-Olu during a previous meeting with the Igbo community*
Before the adoption by Ohaneze, Sanwo-Olu had been embraced by many other non Yoruba nationality groups in Lagos.
In January, the Arewa (Hausa-Fulani) community in Lagos organized an endorsement rally for him at the National Stadium, Suru-Lere, Lagos, during which they assured him of their votes.The chairman of Arewa Community in Lagos, Alhaji Mohammad Dandamma Yabo said his members would mobilise support for him and other APC candidates. Chairman of Amalgamated Foodstuff Sellers in Lagos, Alhaji Shehu Usman, said: ”The votes of Arewa people will be significant in the coming election. We want the incoming governor to keep to his promise of upgrading the Mile12 Market and other markets to meet international standards.”Alhaji Jubril Magaji, the Wakilu Nupe in the state was also in attendance.
*L-R: Sanwo-Olu (2nd left), Hamzat (4th left) during a meeting with the Arewa community*
The APC candidate, accompanied by his running mate, said all the concerns raised by the Arewa community would be addressed, promising that his government would upgrade markets in the state to an enviable standard.
He said: “The Arewa community has been part of our journey since we started campaign. We will continue to value your support. I want to assure you that all of us in Lagos are together. We will not discriminate against any ethnic group.
“We embarked on wide consultations across the state to meet with stakeholders. During our consultative meeting with the Arewa leadership, we have listened to your concerns and we are ready to address them. The concern about markets will be addressed. We will upgrade all the markets to meet the standards you want.”
A candidate who is ready to hit the ground running once elected governor, Sanwo-Olu speaking during a governorship debate organised by ‘The Platform’ and broadcast live on Channels TV said he already has the blueprint on how he would drive the Lagos economy to prosperity.
SANWO-OLU Babajide Olusola is widely regarded as a public sector expert in human resources and policy formation a power sector consultant per excellence, an astute banker, a compelling public speaker and an inspirational leader.
Apart from a robust public sector service experience which spanned over eight years during which he was Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning and Honourable Commissioner for Establishments and Training, Lagos State, at different times.
He also has an enviable background in the private sector and close to ten years of exemplary banking experience during which he contributed immensely to the growth and development of Lead Bank Plc, UBA, and First Atlantic Bank (now First City Monument Bank) in various critical capacities.
He has distinguished himself as a boardroom guru and has since become a widely recognised force in both the private and public sector, serving as Board member, Department for International Development, DFID/DEEPEN Fund; Member of the Board Audit Committee of Caverton Offshore Services Group, PLC and as Director, Light Level Nigeria Limited, the foremost digital signage company in Nigeria.
He also serves as Chairman for a number of thriving organisations, including Baywatch Group Limited – a multifaceted company with interests in construction, property development and human capital development – where he has served as Chairman/CEO since July 2011; First Class Group Limited, a cooling, power and maintenance solutions provider recognised widely for providing critical support for all major telecommunications company in the area of specialised cooling; Powercap Consulting, a leading power consulting boutique with vast experience in power privatisation exercise.
As Treasurer at Lead Bank Plc between 1994 and 1997,he managed the liquid asset of the bank and general funding requirements on a daily basis. At United Bank for Africa, UBA, he was Senior Manager (Head, Foreign Money Market).He was also responsible for articulating and implementing the bank’s strategy in Investment Banking activities and Issuing House and
Subsequently, Sanwo-Olu rose to the position of Deputy General Manager (Divisional Head) at First Inland Bank Plc, where he was Corporate Financial Advisor to several multinational companies. He also supervised the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) privatisation projects including the concession of the National Arts Theatre, and the Lagos Trade International Fair Complex, the acquisition of Ikoyi Hotels Limited as well as the Federal Government Debt Conversion Programme.
His meteoric rise within the system of the Lagos State government is particularly exemplary; testament to his unique leadership abilities and exceptional contributions to good governance within the State.
Sanwo-Olu’s appointment, in 2003, as Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to the Deputy Governor, took the government circles by storm.
However, the consequent recognition which he quickly gained, coupled with his outstanding performance earned him the same job title and description again, this time, with the Executive Governor himself after only one year.
Working directly with the Governor, he was responsible for creating an environment that fosters private sector participation and was instrumental to the present situation where members of the private sector see themselves as stakeholders in the governance of the
State. He also formulated policies and programmes to improve the relationship between government and Organized Private Sector (OPS).
In conjunction with other agencies of government, Sanwo-Olu was able to initiate, identify, promote and structure new projects and programmes in areas like the Environment, Transportation, Commerce, Finance and Infrastructure while also preparing and tracking
the Internally Generated Revenue from various agencies including the BIR and analysing same for the Governor.
He was also responsible for the preparation and publication of the Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LASEEDS).
While still serving in this capacity, Sanwo-Olu was appointed acting Honourable Commissioner, Economic Planning and Budget, owing to his hard work and attention to details.
He became responsible for the preparation of the annual budget for the State Government and the processing of the annual budget of the different parastatals; a duty he performed judiciously.
It was no surprise therefore, when in 2007, he became the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry until the end of that administration. At the start of the next administration, Sanwo-Olu was again appointed Honourable Commissioner, this time, for
Establishments, Training and Pensions.
In conjunction with the Head of Service, he was responsible for timely review of salaries, wages while he also articulated the state government’s Conditions of Service. As a security awareness expert, he helped set up the Lagos State Security Trust Fund and subsequently became a board member for over four years.
Although he holds an MBA and a B.Sc in Surveying from the University of Lagos, his quest for knowledge has taken him to several courses and trainings in several continents of the world, including Europe, USA, Asia and Africa.
He is an alumnus of the prestigious Kennedy School of Government, USA; the London Business School as well as the Lagos Business School, LBS.
Sanwo-Olu is also an associate member of The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and fellow of The Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD).
He has time for leisure and social activities amidst his demanding itinerary, as he is a member of the Ikoyi Club, the Island Club, as well as the Clear Essence Health Club.
His laudable achievements have not gone unnoticed. He has received several awards in recognition of his tremendous contributions to society. They include the Symbol of Excellence award from the Civic Enlightenment Association of Nigeria, a Gold mentor award from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses & Midwives (NANNM), a Platinum award from the Lagos State Public Service Club and the 2009 Best in Human Capital Development award from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). He has also received several merit awards from the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management in Nigeria (CIPMN) amongst others.
He is happily married to Dr Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and they are blessed with children.
*Mikail Adegoke MUMUNI is the Managing Editor of The State Online &The State Magazine