By Gbenga Omotoso
We all saw it as a simple exercise to shake off that lethargic feeling that often visits after a heavy lunch or a short night rest. Or a physical exercise to keep us awake. It all turned out to be that and more – the power of dreams, sheer imagination, some deep thinking and a test of the fecundity of the human mind.
“Just close your eyes and imagine the Lagos of your dream, the Lagos you would like to see.” That was the directive from the instructor at one of the sessions during the three-day retreat for members of the Lagos State Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries.
The results were as exciting as they were imaginary. Some dreamt of a Lagos at peace with nature – beautiful parks and gardens, with exotic flowers and lush green grass, clean air and seductive beaches on which coconut trees sprout freely.
Others saw a Lagos with smooth and wide roads, free of pestering street hawkers and traffic robbers. A Lagos where nobody goes to bed without food, where no kid misses the education train for lack of money, where the old are catered for, where all have access to good healthcare and where religious harmony thrives. A Lagos driven by technology, where investors will be willing to stake their cash and jobs will be more available.
Again, the power of dreams. “Are these possible?” “Can we do it?” “Yes; we can!” we all screamed.
That has been the team spirit propelling the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat, which is 100 days old today, having been inaugurated on May 29 to lead the journey to that “Greater Lagos” we all dreamt of.
Driving the vision are the Six Pillars of Development, with the lyrical acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S, which stands for Traffic Management & Transportation, Health & Environment, Education & Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment & Tourism as well as Security & Governance.
At the centre of it all are the people. That is the song that Mr. Sanwo-Olu sings, believing that a policy is most meaningful when it is immensely beneficial to the people. Has the administration kept to this line of thought, considering its actions? Discerning members of the public, among who the good people of Lagos number, will surely testify to this.
An 110-bed Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC), a four-storey edifice that is a piece of architectural delight, was opened on Tuesday at Eti Osa Local Government to boost the battle against infant and maternal mortality, with plans to upgrade the facility to a general hospital. A beautiful school, 12 blocks of classrooms, built in partnership with the State government and the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Tabernacle of David Parish in Alaguntan Village, also in Eti Osa, was opened.
For one month – from August 1 to 31 – there was a festival of surgeries. A team of volunteer doctors, who are specialists in various areas of medical practice, performed thousands of surgeries, especially on children with deformed limbs. Free.
There were many moving spectacles – of fathers shedding tears of joy after seeing that their crippled children could walk again, of many having their sights saved from glaucoma and others having their troubled health restored – courtesy of BOSKOH Lagos Health Mission International (HMI), a Non-Governmental Organisation. More than 25,000 Lagosians were treated and 1,417 surgeries were carried out.
It was delightful to find our senior citizens singing and dancing last Friday after being handed their pensions and gratuities – about N5b. Some shed tears. Others were speechless, just staring. Many were just praying for Sanwo-Olu.
The Alhaji Jakande Gardens Estate – 492 homes with sporting facilities, good roads, car parks, a sewage treatment plant and a mini-water works – was commissioned on Wednesday in Igando, in a daring bid to reawaken the housing sector.
So symbolic was the ceremony that Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, 90, the State’s first civilian governor, after whom it was named, and his wife attended. So was Chief Tajudeen Olusi, member of the respected Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and many members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), also on Wednesday, gave out N4b cheques to women entrepreneurs.