Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
…Ex-SSG flays Ambode’s inefficient waste management
…Abacha’s clampdown on media, most challenging part of my career — Omotoso
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Ebun Sessou & Monsuru Olowoopejo
AMID tight security, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, yesterday, commenced screening of the 25 Commissioners and Special Adviser-designates, who will work in Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet for subsequent approval.
The exercise, which lasted for several hours, saw eight out of the 25 nominees screened.
Governor Sanwo-Olu had transmitted a list of Commissioner-designates to the House of Assembly for consideration and ratification.
Also, the Assembly set up a 16-man Ad-hoc committee, headed by its Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru, to screen the nominees.
Ex-SSG flays Ambode’s inefficient waste mgt
At yesterday’s screening exercise, when asked on how the waste management collapsed in Lagos, particularly in the last four years, Mr Tunji Bello, former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, under the Akinwunmi Ambode led-Administration, blamed the former governor for the development.
Bello explained how Ambode ignored his advice not to jettison the environmental master plan initiated during Bola Tinubu administration and improved upon by the Babatunde Fashola administration.
The former SSG, who was the third nominee called forward for the post of Commissioner, stressed that when the Ambode led-administration “sought my advice on waste and environmental management, I warned against abandoning Public Sector Participant, PSP, operation.”
He said: “But Ambode ignored this advice and threw away the model that has been earning the state global accolades. That was when the system started crumbling.”
Explaining some of the strategies abandoned by the Ambode administration, he said: “The former governor redeployed some of the core staff that were trained for several years by the state government on managing environment from the ministry.”
Besides, he said: “So the Ministry of Environment, which was saddled with the responsibility of maintaining and ensuring the better environment, was confronted by the dearth of experts. So, the ministry was deprived of staff that could monitor and supervise the activities of the PSPs in the state. And the ministry was disorganised.
“After the redeployment was done, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, suffered greatly. This is because some of its equipment got missing. And other things happened to the agency.”
On possible solutions to correct the current challenges, Bello said that the State Government must return to the earlier strategy adopted by the Babatunde Fashola led administration.
He said: “Presently, many of the PSP operators cannot collect waste effectively in the state.”
Bello, however, raised the alarm that the state might not be able to use all the dumpsites in another four years again if efforts were not made to address their challenges.
“There are a few areas you can set up dumpsites in Lagos State because the state is below the sea level. You cannot set up a dumpsite in Lagos Island, except in places like Agege, Abule Egba and others”, he said.
“On flooding in Lagos, we have nine main drainages in the state, and while six are developed, three are not developed. The Lagos Mainland drainage system is the oldest and it has about six divisions.
“The tertiary drainages and channels must link up with primary channels,” he said.
The most challenging part of my career — Omotoso
Also, during his screening, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, who was the last nominee to be screened, said that the most challenging period of his career was during the clampdown of the media by Sani Abacha military regime.
Omotoso said: “The most challenging period of my career was when the military regime of Gen. Sani Abacha launched a clampdown on the media and locked some of us in jail while working in the Guardian Newspaper. Also, the Guardian was shut for over a year leaving me out of job.”
Re-orientate the people
Proffering ways of boosting the image of the state, Omotoso said: “There are two main audiences of improving the image of Lagos, and these include the Lagos State Government and the public. To bring both of them together, there must be regular interaction.”
I am not saying those managing the state presently have not been doing this, but there has to be regular interaction.
“The people have to know what the government is doing right and that is where they will base their perception on about the state. We need to re-orientate the people of the state to boost the image of Lagos. Regular messages about the state will help to improve the status of the state.
“We are in the era of technology and it is not enough for any government to do laudable things without people that are experts that can help disseminate such thing. If the experts are not contacted, no one will see what the government is doing.
“To manage the perception of residents of Lagos is not a one-man business. It is the job of everyone to manage the perception of the state. Once the government can carry everyone along through technology, it will be easier for everyone to have that perception because it is all about perception.”
While explaining that if assigned as commissioner for Information and Strategy, he promised to “take advantage of the laudable activities in Lagos to project it to the world.”
“Journalism and politicians are both serving the public. So, for any journalist leaving the profession to occupy public office, it is an easy transition”, he said.
Earlier, the Assistant Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State, Mrs Toke-Benson, vowed to tackle domestic violence and child abuse.
She said: “Lagos is the model state in Nigeria. If we don’t speak against rape and child abuse, we will be like India where a man will enter a bus and rape about 50 women. We should have laws in place that will take care of all these.”
At the end of the exercise, Chairman of the committee, Abiru, said: “I don’t have any doubt that those that we have screened so far are good and that they would join hands with the Governor to make the state better.
“The final decision lies in the 40 members of the House. Ours is to screen and make a report to the House. If the House finds them suitable, the decision would be communicated to the people of the state.”